Ireland veteran Donncha O’Callaghan to leave Munster

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By Barry Coughlan, the Irish Examiner

Munster rugby supporters face another shock in the next day or two when news of Donncha O’Callaghan’s departure will be made official.

The Munster and Ireland veteran has been linked with an overseas club and is on the verge of signing a two-year deal after Munster apparently agreed to release him from the remainder of his current contract, which runs up to June 2016.

With O’Callaghan out of the country, there was no way to confirm the news of his imminent departure last night but sources close to the squad intimated the legendary second rower will definitely part ways with a province he has served brilliantly for 17 years.

With 94 international caps and appearances with the British and Irish Lions, O’Callaghan played a staggering 263 times for Munster, won Heineken Cup and Celtic League and Cup medals, and has been amongst the most popular of players with the fans during that time.

The ex-Highfield and Cork Constitution player made his Munster debut in August of 1998 against Edinburgh Reivers and his first Heineken Cup start against Perpignan in October of that year.

The 36-year-old is regarded as one of the fittest members of the Munster squad and had openly expressed his interest in continuing his career for longer than the current contract he had with the province. With Paul O’Connell headed for Toulon at the end of the Rugby World Cup, Munster will now have lost two of their most experienced and enduring forwards in the space of a few weeks.

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