Some performers bow out at their greatest triumph. To the applause of an adoring crowd, after they have won the award that they've long desired. Unfortunately this fairytale ending doesn't happen for all deserving performers.
The curtain was brought down on an illustrous career of Gordon D'Arcy last Tuesday, when Joe Schmidt decided to bring Darren Cave as midfield cover over Ireland's longest serving player of all time.
It seems almost unfair that the other half of Ireland's midfield combination for so many years bowed out from the international game so quietly when O'Driscoll left off the back of Ireland's first Six Nations triumph in five years. But that has always been the nature of their partnership.
Not that D'Arcy shouldn't be appreciated. He was, especially by his past teammates. Shane Horgan is one who thinks that D'Arcy has nothing left to prove:
He's had a remarkable career. He hasn't made the World Cup squad. This isn't even going to be a footnote on a remarkable career.
I don't think there's any shame in retiring as the longest serving Irish rugby player. He overtook Mike Gibson which shows where he is in the pantheon on Irish rugby greats, which I think he is.
He's always maybe suffered a little bit from being next to the greatest of all time, but I think if you’ve played with him it’s very obvious how important he was to a side.
His tackling was incredible, for not a huge man. He also had fantastic footwork.
From being called up to an Irish squad before he sat his Leaving Cert, it wasn't always plain sailing for the fantastic full-back talent from Clongowes.
It was probably missing out on the World Cup squad in 2003 that re-started his career and his renaissance into one of the best centres Ireland's ever produced. Horgan credits that to D'Arcy's maturity and professionalism:
I think what’s important about Gordon D’Arcy’s story is the work he then took after having missed out on the World Cup in 2003, the work and professional he became for the rest of those years until finally being able to finish up at the age that he is now.
It's perhaps sad that his career has come full circle in missing another World Cup squad, but there should be absolutely no doubt where the name Gordon D'Arcy stands among the greats of Irish rugby.
It really is one of the all-time careers, and he’ll be remembered as one of the all-time greats.
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Photo Credit Damien Eagers, Matt Browne, Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile