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Tuesday, 30 October, 2001, 17:17 GMT
O'Shea forced to retire
London Irish skipper Conor O'Shea has been forced to retire
Conor O'Shea spent seven seasons with London Irish
London Irish captain Conor O'Shea has been forced to retire because of a persistent ankle injury.

The 31-year-old first sustained the injury when he dislocated his ankle and broke his leg in a Premiership match against Gloucester just under a year ago.

He had been optimistic of making a playing comeback throughout his 11 months on the sidelines.

But, after three operations on his ankle, a consultation with his surgeon last week ended those hopes.

  Conor O'Shea
London Irish: 127 appearances; 62 tries
Ireland: 35 caps; six tries
Former clubs: Terenure College, Leinster
Award: Allied Dunbar Premiership players' player of the 1998/99 season

O'Shea made 127 first-team appearances for the exiles in his seven years with the club.

"He told me if I keep on going I will run into too much difficulty in the long term," said the full-back, who played for Ireland in the 1995 and 1999 World Cups.

O'Shea made 127 first-team appearances for the exiles in his seven years with the club and won 35 international caps.

"I could keep on going. But it would have been getting into a vicious circle of rehab, operations, rehab, operations," he said.

"That would have been the likely outcome, and when that is what my future holds there is not really a choice.

"For me, that was not a risk worth taking. I had to think what state would I be in 10 years from now.

It was the news I was expecting
Conor O'Shea
"From what I could gather it would not be a good state.

"After the first operation I knew there was something a little bit wrong.

"But I always hoped for the best."

O'Shea said he wanted to maintain his ties with the Sunbury-based Irish.

He has already joined the management board this season, helping player-coach Brendan Venter lift the Exiles into an unexpected third place in the Premiership.

"I want this team to be a real success, and if I can help do that off the field I will.

"In three years' time, if Ryan Strudwick, Declan Danaher or Kieron Dawson is lifting a trophy that will give me a great deal of satisfaction.

"That is what we're all working towards here."

See also:

21 Oct 01 |  Rugby Union
Exiles keep Gloucester at bay
28 Oct 01 |  Heineken Cup
Benton seals Tykes upset
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