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Sean O'Brien Announces His Retirement At The End Of The Season

Sean O'Brien Announces His Retirement At The End Of The Season
By Jonathan Browne Updated

Former Leinster, Ireland and Lions flanker Sean O'Brien has announced that he will retire at the end of the season at the age of 35.

The Tullow Tank has been at London Irish the last three seasons since leaving Leinster in 2019 after a highly decorated career with the province as well as an amazing career with Ireland, where he won 56 caps.

Sean O'Brien's Illustrious Career

Having started out playing rugby at Tullow RFC, O'Brien made his debut with Leinster in September 2008. He wouldn't break in as a regular to he Leinster team until the 2009-10 season and he quickly became one of the hottest prospects in Europe.

23 May 2009; Leinster's Bernard Jackman, left, and Sean O'Brien from Co. Carlow celebrate after the game. Heineken Cup Final, Leinster v Leicester Tigers, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

His peak arguably came in the 2010-11 season when O'Brien played a huge part in Leinster's campaign as they won their second Heineken Cup, beating Northampton Saints 33-22 after a miraculous comeback in the second half. He was awarded with the EPCR European Player of the Year in 2011 for his efforts.

In this time Sean O'Brien was a cheat code of a player. He had outrageous size and strength which he also matched with crazy athleticism. He was just as able to go around teams as he was able to go through them.

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He made his Ireland debut against Fiji in the 2009 Autumn series and he would play a huge part in the 2011 World Cup, having a star performance in the win over Australia in the Group Stage.

He went on his first Lions tour in 2013 and started in the final test match as the Lions won their first test series since 1997. He also was a part of the drawn test series in 2017 where he was the scorer of one of the best tries in Lions and rugby history.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7t_vMcTebsY

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He struggled with injury throughout his career and with the emergence of quality flankers like Josh van der Flier and Dan Leavy, Sean O'Brien decided to join up with former Ireland head coach Declan Kidney at London Irish in 2019 to finish out his career.

He was also passionate about farming and did wonders for getting rugby outside of its traditional enclaves in Dublin.

He will definitely go down as one of the best to ever do it.

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