Munster legend Andrew Conway has announced his retirement due to a knee injury, with the Ireland wing bringing down the curtain on an impressive career.
The 32-year-old, who played 150 games and scored 50 tries in red, is a Munster rugby great and will be sorely missed by the United Rugby Championship outfit.
Munster confirmed the sad news on Thursday and led with Conway’s words, which was an emotional statement from the wing who thanked many people.
“Unfortunately, I have been advised to retire from professional rugby because of a knee injury,” said Conway, who played for Ireland in 2019’s Rugby World Cup.
“An incredible amount of work has been put in by the Munster and IRFU medics to get me back and I can’t thank you all enough for your commitment. Thank you to all the backroom staff I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths and work with over the years. You know who you are. A special mention to Damien Mordan, Keith Fox, Dr. Jamie Kearns and Dr. Ciaran Cosgrave for your care and support through the years. Thank you to Rugby Players Ireland and my agents for your guidance in the past and into the future.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have been coached by some fantastic people. Thank you all. In particular to Felix Jones for showing me the way, Andy Farrell for having such belief in me and Graham Rowntree for your support in these tough times.
“To my team-mates from my first Leinster cap in 2010 all the way to my last Munster cap last month. It was an honour to go to battle with you all. I’m more grateful than words can express.”
He continued: “Thank you to all those in Blackrock College, Blackrock College RFC and Leinster Rugby for giving me my first opportunities in the game.
“My love for Munster goes back to the 2006 European Cup final in Cardiff with my Dad. I’ll never forget walking into the stadium to see it full of red jerseys, the cameras panning to O’Connell street in Limerick… it was always Munster. To play for this great club was the best decision I ever made. Thank you to all the Munster supporters that embraced me as one of your own!”
Conway was Ireland’s top try-scorer at the 2019 Rugby World Cup with three crossings in as many games and was equally grateful for his outings in green.
“Playing for Ireland was my dream come true. Singing the national anthem with my team-mates, watched on by family and friends was the proudest I’ve ever been,” he said.
“To my parents and sisters, thank you for your unconditional support over the years. Through the ups and downs I’ve always known you were there for me and it meant so much to share the journey with you all.
“To my wife Liz, it’s no coincidence that my career started to take off when you moved down to Limerick. Your support and sacrifices over the years have driven me on more than you’ll ever know. Having you in the stands for game days always gave me comfort and I’ll forever cherish the last day with yourself and Hailey in Thomond Park.
“Lastly, I’ll miss the big days in red and green but not as much as the daily pursuit and shared team goal of reaching our potential.
“I’m not exactly sure what is next but I’m very excited to take all the learnings from the last 14 years into the next chapter.
He came through the ranks at Blackrock College and turned out for Leinster 42 times before he moved to Munster in 2013, earning his first Ireland cap in 2017.
One of his memorable moments in the Munster jersey came in the Champions Cup quarter-final fixture with Toulon in 2018 when he scored a superb solo try.
Everyone's heard the ANDREW. CONWAY line from that try against Toulon in Thomond Park but real ballers know the actual superior footage comes when you mix the video with Michael Corcoran's commentary from RTE #SUAF #BomberConway pic.twitter.com/xUttCqMdCI
— Three Red Kings (@threeredkings) November 9, 2023
Injury hampered his career in recent campaigns and he missed all the 2022/23 season before playing his 150th and final game against the Sharks in October.
Munster head coach Graham Rowntree said: “Andy is a hugely respected and popular member of the squad and has been a fantastic player for Munster Rugby over the last 10 years.
“Along with being outstanding on the field, he is such an important part of the group off the field and a person who contributed so much to this province.
“He was a huge fans’ favourite and just an incredibly talented player who you could always rely on.
“He worked tirelessly to get back playing and I was delighted to see him score his 50th Munster try on his 150th appearance against Sharks last month.”
He added: “A brilliant professional, he has been a pleasure to work with and I know he is going to go on and enjoy more success in whatever he chooses to do next.
“We wish Andy and his family all the best.”