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Rugby Union: REG WON'T CORRY ON; THIS WAY FOR YOUR GRAND NATIONAL PULL-OUT Second Ireland legend calls time on international career Corrigan hangs up his green jersey.

Byline: Michael SCULLY Chief Sports Writer

REGGIE Corrigan last night became the second Ireland rugby star to call time on his international career within the space of 24 hours.

Following in the footsteps of Ulster out-half David Humphreys, Leinster prop Corrigan has confirmed that he will not be available for the 2007 World Cup.

However, like Humphreys, Corrigan will continue to play for his province. While Humphreys is still to decide whether to continue playing beyond June, 2007, Corrigan is expected to be available to Leinster beyond that.

Corrigan has been a faithful servant to Ireland since he won his first senior cap against Canada in November, 1997 but has been eclipsed for the loose-head position over the past year by Munster counterpart Marcus Horan.

His last cap came in February, when he stepped in at short notice to replace Horan, who had picked up a bug in the run-up to the Six Nations clash with France.

During his Ireland career, the Greystones club man won 47 Caps, and played for Ireland in the 1999 and 2003 World Cup.

Corrigan also captained Ireland on two occasions against Tonga and Western Samoa in 2003.

"Reggie's natural athleticism and strength were massive attributes to the team," admitted Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan.

"He was a key member of the side and an integral part of our first Triple Crown win in 19 years in 2004. I believe that Reggie will be remembered as one of Ireland's great front row forwards."

While Corrigan's decision won't have come as a surprise to O'Sullivan, the Triple Crown-winning coach had hoped to persuade Humphreys to carry on as cover to Ronan O'Gara until the World Cup.

However, the 34-year-old was frustrated that he was given no game-time in this year's Six Nations - and hinted that if he had been more involved, his decision might have been different.

O'Sullivan, who must now hope that Munster's young out-half Jeremy Manning makes quick strides in his development, is sorry to see Humphreys retire.

"David's wish to spend more time with his young family is understandable and I wish him the very best for his career plans," said O'Sullivan.

"He was one of the most gifted players to wear the green jersey and played a key part in the success of the Ireland team over the last number of years."

O'Sullivan added: "Both David and Reggie have been wonderful servants to Ireland and rugby in general.

"During my time with the national team, both players were senior members of the squad and natural leaders, with both of them captaining the side."

Humphreys revealed on Thursday that the highlight of his career was to represent Ireland, and Corrigan's views are similar.

Corrigan admitted that, while he would have loved to have continued, the time had come to step aside - even if Ireland are similarly short of cover in his position.

"It has always been a huge honour for me to wear the Ireland jersey, none more so than over the last six years where the fortunes of both the team and Irish rugby have continued to rise," he said.

"Although every sportsman wishes they could continue forever, I have been lucky to have a career playing the game I love.

"This is the right time for me to make this decision from both a personal and professional point of view in advance of the World Cup.

"I would like to personally thank Eddie O'Sullivan and wish him and the rest of the Ireland squad the very best for the immediate future."


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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 8, 2006
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