Cronin to retire at the end of the season

Ireland and Leinster hooker Sean Cronin has announced he will be retiring at the end of the season.

Ireland and Leinster hooker Sean Cronin has announced he will be retiring at the end of the season.

Turning 36 next month, Cronin has called time on a 14-year career which saw him represent Ireland on 72 occasions.

He made his Ireland debut in 2009 against Fiji going on to be part of three Guinness Six Nations title-winning sides including the 2018 Grand Slam.

During his Championship career, Cronin started only once, against Italy in 2019, but the change in energy he brought to the pitch made him a vital player in both of Ireland’s 2014 and 2015

winning squads.

Most notably, Cronin was a crucial player in Ireland’s Grand Slam-winning team of 2018, in which his bonus-point try was pivotal in the Round 4 win against Scotland.

On his decision to retire, Conin said: “After 14 years, I can confirm that this will be my last season playing professional rugby.

“It has been a unique journey for me starting off in Limerick many years ago, traveling to Galway to set my sights on playing professionally and finishing in Dublin where it’s been an incredible 11 years of so many great days in blue and green.

“I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to do something I love for a living and this would not have been possible without the support of so many people along the way who believed in my potential and gave me the opportunity to succeed in the game.

“The professional side of my career was a different journey than most but for me, one I look back on with huge pride as I experienced some amazing clubs filled with great coaches, teammates, and players across all three teams.

“I’m extremely grateful to Michael Bradley who gave me my first professional contract in Connacht where I had three great years developing as a young professional rugby player.”

Cronin was part of three Rugby World Cup squads during his career, in 2011, 2015 and 2019, the latter of which saw his last cap for Ireland against Russia.

Joining Leinster in 2011, Cronin has since won two Heineken Champions Cup winners medals, a Challenge Cup and the 2015 Players’ Player of the Year.

On his current club, he said: “Leinster has been my home, and my family’s home, for over 10 years. I have enjoyed every minute of the journey and I have had some amazing days in Leinster blue.

“However, one that stands out quite clearly at the RDS is the occasion of my 200th cap in February of this year. The reception I got from supporters and from my teammates and then to have my wife, Claire, and my kids, Cillian, Finn and Saoirse, there with me, made for a very special day.

“To my teammates, I have had the pleasure of playing with some of the greatest players ever to grace a rugby field and for that I feel privileged.

“I’m excited for what the future holds. Next season I will be taking over as head coach of St Mary’s College RFC where I look forward to developing my coaching aspirations along with furthering my education in the financial field, but most importantly spending time with my family.”