Ireland veteran rejected ‘very spicy’ overseas offers to remain at Leinster

David Skippers

Leinster and Ireland prop Cian Healy.

Experienced Leinster and Ireland front-row star Cian Healy has said that he had the option of leaving the province after receiving “very spicy” overseas offers but did not accept it.

Healy, who recently signed a one-year contract extension with Leinster, revealed that he had opportunities to depart the club during his 17-year stint there, but turned down lucrative offers from clubs in England and France.

‘I never wanted to leave’

“There was a couple of very spicy offers back in the day, yeah,” he told reporters. “If anything they were just there though, I never wanted to leave.

“I never had ambitions of not playing for Ireland or Leinster. I knew I wanted to be here and living away from my family and friends doesn’t greatly appeal to me.

“It was 2014/15. There was a big offer after my injury. But that’s the noise, that stuff. It’s nice when you’re young to feel wanted… you don’t say no straight away!”

There was a time when his friend and former Leinster and Ireland teammate Jamie Heaslip was seriously considering a move overseas but Healy said the former number eight’s decision made no difference to his thinking.

“No,” said Healy when asked if Heaslip’s decision influenced his. “Fly by your own wing.”

Meanwhile, Healy said he prefers winning the Investec Champions Cup to receiving individual awards for breaking the prestigious competition’s appearance record.

Healy was honoured during a pitchside presentation from Ireland’s new Taoiseach, Simon Harris, for breaking the Champions Cup appearance record following Leinster’s semi-final win over Northampton at Croke Park earlier this month, and received something similar from the Irish province’s backroom staff in the dressing-room afterwards.

Ireland legend Cian Healy reveals the driving force behind his longevity

But despite those awards, the 36-year-old revealed that he would prefer finishing the season as a Champions Cup winner instead – something he has not experienced since Leinster beat Racing 92 in the 2018 final.

Since that triumph Leinster have suffered losses in three Champions Cup finals – against Saracens in 2019 and La Rochelle in 2022 and 2023.

“It was nice to receive that,” said Healy. “I didn’t expect anything coming. I’d take a medal instead, though.”

Hunger for success still there

The hunger for success is still there for the serial winner despite already having four Champions Cup winners medals, seven PRO12 and PRO14 ones as well as a Challenge Cup one.

However, Healy has put that final against Toulouse on the backburner for now as he is eying a Leinster victory against Ulster in their United Rugby Championship clash at the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday.

“You want to win every trophy you can,” he said. “Yeah, it’s the top dog, but we’ll deal with it when we get to it.

“There’s probably been energy expended in the past in the wrong places and you mess up a different part of your season.

“So I think it’s important to stay job focused and we go, like, day by day, week by week, is pretty much how it goes in here and it works. So come Monday we’ll deal with next week.”

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