‘It just didn’t feel right for me’: Jerry Flannery explains his Munster departure

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Jerry Flannery has spoken about his decision to leave his role as forwards coach with Munster.

Flannery, alongside backs coach Felix Jones, turned down the contract extensions they were offered in May, leaving the province scrambling to recruit their replacements for the following season.

He says the decision to depart the Munster coaching set-up after five years came down to a “gut feeling”.

“It’s a fantastic job coaching with Munster. I loved it and it was a really good environment to work in, so it wasn’t an easy decision to make. But just as things went on, I felt like all good things come to an end,” he told the Ireland Unfiltered podcast.

“To come from barely scraping into Europe in my second year to consistently getting to semi-finals, I feel the team is in touching distance of winning now. That’s a good place for a club to be in.

“It just didn’t feel right for me to stay on with Munster. It wasn’t an easy decision but I think it’s best that I step out for a year – I don’t know how long.

“I spoke to my partner and said, ‘I may be miserable at the end of the year but then at least I’ll know the coaching bug has me’.

“But Munster are in a good place and they’ve signed really good coaches to replace me.”

Graham Rowntree will replace Flannery as forwards coach once his contract with Georgia comes to an end after the World Cup.

Stephen Larkham has also been recruited to join head coach Johann van Graan and defence coach JP Ferreira.

Flannery continued: “You get a gut feeling and it just didn’t feel right for me.

“Coaching is very, very demanding and it’s selfish at times because your family and your kids have to sacrifice quite a lot.

“If you look at Munster at the moment, the coaches that are there, Johann van Graan has travelled thousands of miles from South Africa. JP Ferreira has travelled from South Africa. Stephen Larkham’s come all the way from Australia, Graham Rowntree over from England.

“They’re actually sacrificing a lot more in terms of having to uproot their families to come over here.

“When I grew up, I could run up to Thomond Park from my family home. Where I live in Limerick now is very close to the training centre so we haven’t had to sacrifice the same as other coaches.

“That will be probably a test if after a couple of years or a year I start to go, ‘I really miss professional sport, I really miss coaching’.

“There probably won’t be an opportunity for me to go back into Munster and then I’d have to sit with my partner and say, ‘Would you be open to the idea of maybe going abroad? Maybe going to England or France?’, and weighing that up then.

“But at the moment, I’ve been lucky enough that I could afford myself the opportunity to step out of the job with Munster and if Munster can go on and win a European Cup next year and the following year then I’ll be delighted.

“It’s still the club I love.”

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