Why he was allowed to leave in the first place was a mystery to many Munster fans. They were badly in need of creativity at out-half and in JJ Hanrahan, they had a player who looked capable of producing it. He was young and homegrown too. Sparks of brilliance, like the December 2013 winning try against Perpignan in the Heineken Cup, were peppered throughout his time at the province.
Hanrahan left in the summer of last year for Northampton. At the time, he called it a hard decision but one which he felt was right for his development as a player. More game time at out-half was what he wanted and he believed Northampton was the place to get it.
He would make 23 appearances for Northampton in his first season. The majority of those would be as a replacement as Stephen Meyler was preferred at ten.
Due to injury, this season has been no better. He has made just two appearances. The second of those coming last Friday as he started at 12 against Leinster in the game which saw Dylan Hartley red carded. He would depart the game with just over 15 minutes remaining due to an ankle injury.
According to the Irish Independent, the Kerryman's time at the Aviva Premiership club will come to end during the summer as Munster have agreed a deal which will see him return to Thomond Park.
Hanrahan, now 24, will have plenty of competition for a starting berth at Munster. New Zealander Tyler Bleyendaal has established himself as first-choice out-half with a number of assured and impressive performances this season.
Hanrahan is also capable of playing centre but Rory Scannell, who was called up to the Ireland squad during November, is playing well at 12 and will be tough to dislodge.
Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE