Ireland legend Kiernan passes away

Ireland Rugby 1982Coach Tom KiernanMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland
Ireland rugby legend Tom Kiernan has passed away at the age of 83.

Ireland rugby legend Tom Kiernan has passed away at the age of 83.

Kiernan leaves an incomparable legacy on the sport in Ireland, first from his time as a player and later as a coach and an administrator.

A full-back in his playing days, Kiernan won 54 caps for Ireland, a then record for his country, while he toured with the British & Irish Lions to South Africa in both 1962 and 1968, the latter as captain.

At the time of his retirement he was also Ireland’s record points scorer and most experienced captain.

Kiernan enjoyed great success with Ireland, kicking the winning score in the first win over South Africa in 1965 as well as captaining the first Ireland team to win a Test in Australia two years later.

As a player, he was part of the Ireland team that won the 1973 Five Nations – the only time the title has been shared between all five teams.

He then went into coaching, overseeing Munster’s historic win over the All Blacks in 1978 as well as coaching Ireland to the Triple Crown in 1982.

Kiernan later went onto become a hugely influential administrator, serving as the Chairman of the Five Nations and emerging as a key figure in the creation of the European Cup.

IRFU president Des Kavanagh offered his condolences, saying: “It is with great sadness that I pass on condolences to the Kiernan family, on the passing of their beloved Tom, on behalf of everyone in Irish Rugby.

“Tom was an inspirational leader both on and off the pitch and he helped to shape rugby into the strong and vibrant game it is today. Tom’s life will be reflected upon at our matches this weekend, and his legacy will live long in the history of Irish rugby, may he rest in peace.”