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'It Actually Leaked And I Went Berserk'

'It Actually Leaked And I Went Berserk'
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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It's a week since news of Luke Fitzgerald's premature retirement from rugby broke. The 28-year-old suffered a neck injury during Leinster's loss to Connacht in last season's PRO12 final. After receiving medical advice, he decided it was best to hang up his boots.

Word of Fitzgerald's possible retirement was first seen in last Tuesday's Irish Independent in an article titled 'Fears grow for Luke Fitzgerald's future after latest injury'. This preempted the official announcement which was scheduled to happen later that day.


That the story had been leaked angered Fitzgerald. Speaking on Tuesday evening's Off The Ball, the former Ireland back said he 'went berserk'.

I was on my computer at home and I was writing my... I was going to say obituary, it's not an obituary but it felt like it. I was sending in my press release [about his retirement]. It's sent and that's it. It's out on the website in the morning. It actually leaked and I went berserk.

The lads were like 'stick to the plan'. It was seven in the morning and my cousin was listening to Newstalk and someone said it was in the Indo. I was like 'get that out there'. They were like 'stick to the plan' and I said 'absolutely not, I'm not giving that guy the satisfaction of leaking that early'. I said it to a few people here and there but I hadn't really said it [to everyone] so I felt a bit let down that it got out.

Fitzgerald also spoke about what it was like to break the news to his Leinster teammates.

It's kind of weird because I think Leo [Cullen] at some stage wants me to come in and talk to the lads. They kind of had inklings for a week or two because there's small things like no name in your slot in the changing rooms - that's gone. It's weird because people are asking.

I said it to a few of the guys I was friendly with because Redser [Eoin Reddan] gave me a heads-up a week or two before that he was going to do it. I said 'Look, here, I'm actually doing that as well'.

It's a real macho culture. The things people were saying to me, I'm thinking 'I'm playing with you for 10 years and you've never said one nice word to me - you really thought this?' I was blown away by the really nice things the lads had to say about how I was to work with, hang around with and play in big games with.

Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

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