Injury forces Dowling to call time
TWO-TIME Heineken Cup winner Ian Dowling hopes to embark on a career in physiotherapy after announcing his retirement from professional rugby yesterday due to persistent injury problems.
The Munster winger played 97 competitive matches for the province and featured on the sides that claimed European glory in 2006 and '08. The 28-year-old suffered injuries in '07 and last season, when he was stretchered off during the Heineken Cup quarter-final win over Northampton.
That knee injury ruled him out of the rest of the season and Dowling was only playing his third competitive game back when he hurt his hip against the Ospreys last September. Holding a sports science degree from the University of Limerick, Dowling has been studying a physiotherapy course, also at UL, and sees that as an area to pursue after rugby.
"I had a great career as a professional rugby player. I enjoyed great success with Munster and got to travel the world and and am lucky now to be in the position I'm in with a new career hopefully beckoning," said Dowling.
"I'd like to thank all those who have supported me in my career and the Munster fans, the best in the world, my heartfelt thanks for the part you played in making mine such a memorable career."
Meanwhile, Munster could be in the market for a midfield back following the confirmation that Sam Tuitupou will be leaving at the end of the season, probably for the English Premiership.
The All Black follows Paul Warwick out of Munster, who have been linked in New Zealand with Stephen Donald, the (currently injured) midfield playmaker who has been regular understudy for Dan Carter over the last few years and is one of a host of southern hemisphere stars looking for moves to Europe.