Club great Thompson hangs up boots
Published 10/05/2011 | 05:00
Back around 1990, I went along to cover a schools game between Section 'B' De La Salle College, Churchtown, and Section 'A' outsiders Wilson's Hospital at Bird Avenue.
As happens from time to time in these matches, David slew Goliath and for one plain and simple reason: an immensely talented out-half representing the Multyfarnham school named Andrew Thompson. Indeed, if memory serves me right, a certain Joe Schmidt was also involved in coaching the Westmeath school at the time.
The young Borris-in-Ossory lad ran the show and it was obvious even at that early stage that, pending his choice of club, the Laois youngster could make it. Well make it he did. His introduction to Shannon and Munster rugby came in 1991 when part of a Parish U-18 team crowned Munster club champions. Since then, it has been success all the way with a trophy haul that is unlikely to be bettered in Irish rugby.
Nine All-Ireland League winner's medals alongside an All-Ireland Cup plus eight Munster Senior Cup medals is testimony to some career at his beloved Shannon RFC. In addition, he represented Ireland at U-21, Colleges, Students and most recently in 2007 (and perhaps most fittingly) the Ireland club side.
The decision to hang up his boots now has been made reluctantly at the age of 37. Finally, Old Father Time has caught up on one of Irish rugby's finest ever club players and certainly its most successful. A great player and a great man.