Munster's Ian Dowling forced to quit because of injury
Munster wing and Ireland international Ian Dowling has been forced to retire from rugby because of a hip injury sustained earlier this season.
Dowling, (28), suffered the injury in a game against Ospreys in September.
The Kilkenny man made his Munster debut in 2005 and went on to play 97 games for the side - including the victorious 2006 and 2008 Heineken Cup finals.
Dowling also won a Magners League medal in 2009 and earned two Ireland caps on the tour of North America that year.
However, his career was affected by a number of serious injuries.
He was stretchered off in the Heineken Cup quarter-final game against Northampton last season and was forced to miss the remainder of the campaign.
Then after regaining fitness last summer, he sustained a hip injury in an early-season Magners League game against the Ospreys which ultimately ended his career.
Munster coach Tony McGahan described the news as a "a blow to everyone at the club".
"Ian's successful career was underpinned by consistency, hard work and honesty. These values are highly regarded by the Munster squad and the supporters," added McGahan.
"Ian's name was one of the first put down on the team sheet because of the way he played to his potential every week.
"He can be proud of his achievements for Munster and the integral role he played in the success of the teams he was involved in."