Andrew Trimble: Ulster and Ireland wing announces retirement at the age of 33
Ulster and Ireland wing Andrew Trimble has announced his retirement from professional rugby at the age of 33.
Trimble made his Ulster debut in 2005 and earned the first of 70 Ireland caps later that year against Australia.
The wing is Ulster's most capped player after 229 appearances for his native province while he was the Irish Rugby Writers' player of the year in 2014.
In an open letter, Trimble said he had "realised not one but two of my dreams by playing for Ulster and Ireland".
Trimble helped Ireland beat All Blacks
The Coleraine-born wing played in Ireland's historic first ever win over New Zealand in Chicago in November 2016 and made his final appearance for his country three months later.
"These have been some of the most fulfilling days of my life and I feel nothing but gratitude for them," added Trimble, who starred in Ireland's Six Nations Championship triumph in 2014.
"But there's no way of stopping time - and I see that each day in the lives of my two young children, who are now close to beating me over five metres.
"So I wanted to let you know that this will be my last season playing professional rugby.
"I want to thank Ulster Rugby for allowing me the time and space to think things through before making what is probably the toughest decision that any professional sportsman will make."
Trimble scored 17 tries for Ireland and his international career included appearances at the World Cup in 2007 and 2011.
After his standout 2014 Six Nations campaign, Trimble looked to be at his peak as the 2015 World Cup approached but a toe injury wrecked his chances of featuring in the tournament in England.
Ulster Rugby's chief executive Shane Logan paid tribute to Trimble's "wonderful service" while the province's operations director Bryn Cunningham described the Coleraine man as a "class act both on and off the pitch".
"He has been a great ambassador for Ulster Rugby, having done much to promote our work in the community and to inspire future generations of rugby players from across the nine counties," added Cunningham, who played alongside Trimble during the early part of the wing's Ulster career.