Thursday 29 September 2016

'Felix Jones was unbelievably popular and that's a great legacy to leave' - Alan Quinlan

Published 28/10/2015 | 19:42

4 October 2014; Felix Jones, Munster, in action against Isaac Boss, Leinster. Guinness PRO12, Round 5, Leinster v Munster. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE
4 October 2014; Felix Jones, Munster, in action against Isaac Boss, Leinster. Guinness PRO12, Round 5, Leinster v Munster. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE

Former Munster and Ireland flanker Alan Quinlan has paid tribute to 28-year-old Felix Jones who was forced into early retirement due to a neck injury.

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Irish rugby has been plunged into shock at the news that Jones, 13-times capped with Ireland, has had to call it a day after an injury suffered in the recent clash with the Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park in the Guinness Pro12.

In the space of two months, Jones has gone from narrowly missing out on Ireland's Rugby World cup squad to hanging up his boots.

Speaking on Game On on 2FM, Quinlan described the willpower which made Jones such a terrific competitor and team mate.

"For any sportsperson to have to give up because of injury is very difficult. You can't prepare for it. It's a shock," he said

"He's had a fair few serious injuries which have been tough on him. I see a lot of guys who I played with at Munster like Ian Dowling and Denis Leamy who had to give up and who had so much more in front of them and Felix is the same.

Felix Jones, second right, celebrates his try
Felix Jones, second right, celebrates his try
23 May 2015; Felix Jones, Munster, and Dan Biggar, Ospreys, contest a garryowen. Guinness PRO12 Play-Off, Munster v Ospreys. Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 01: Simon Zebo of Ireland and Felix Jones of Ireland celebrate their team's 19-9 victory during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium on March 1, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Munster's Felix Jones dives over to score his side's second try of the game
Felix Jones, Ireland Wolfhounds, is tackled by Henry Thomas, and Rob Webber, below, England Saxons
16 November 2014; Ireland's Felix Jones goes over for his second, and his side's fifth, try of the game. Guinness Series, Ireland v Georgia, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE
Munster's Keith Earls, left, and Felix Jones, leave the pitch after defeat to Toulon. Heineken Cup, Semi-Final, Toulon v Munster. Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, France. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene
Simon Zebo supported by Felix Jones
Munster's JJ Hanrahan (L) celebrates with Felix Jones after his last-gasp try secured victory over Perpignan sportsfile
8 April 2012; John Afoa, Ulster, tackles Felix Jones, Munster. Heineken Cup Quarter-Final, Munster v Ulster, Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
10 February 2012; Felix Jones, Shannon. Ulster Bank League Division 1A, Shannon v Young Munster, Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
8 June 2013; Felix Jones, Ireland, is tackled by Seamus Kelly, USA.
Felix Jones gathers a high ball which resulted in him having to leave the field with a leg injury. Photo: Brendan Moran
6 August 2011; Felix Jones, Ireland, is tackled by Nick de Luca, Scotland. Rugby World Cup Warm-up Game, Scotland v Ireland, Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
28 May 2011; Munster's Felix Jones celebrates with the trophy. Celtic League Grand Final, Munster v Leinster, Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Felix Jones during his days in the Leinster blue. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE
16 March 2007; Ireland players, from left, Keith Earles, Ger Slattery, Eoghan Grace, Felix Jones, Andrew Browne, Tommy O'Donnell and Shane Monahan celebrate with the trophy after victory against Italy. Italy v Ireland, U20 Six Nations Rugby Championship, Santa Colomba Stadium, Benevento, Italy. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

"The one thing about Felix Jones, his application was incredible, his work ethic, his popularity within the group, with any team he was involved in, I've looked at social media today and I've looked at the tributes coming in and for me it was a privilege and honour to play with the guy.

"I loved watching him train, I loved watching him go into the gym and apply himself. He's one of these guys who knew nothing else but 100pc and maybe that's what cost him a little bit.

"He pushed himself to the limit... he knew no other way. That was just in his DNA. He was the nicest, most gentle guy you could meet off a rugby field.

"He was quite slight when he came down first and he had to work on that.

"He was unbelievably popular and that's a great legacy to leave. It's really nice that when something like this happens, there are genuine comments coming from your peer... guys you played with and against.

"He's had a few major disappointments but he can be very proud of the effort levels and that's all you can ask from any sportsperson. I know that whatever he does, whether it's rugby coaching, whether he goes and gets a job... he'll be successful because he has that drive and commitment."

On his own retirement, Jones said: "It is still unthinkable to believe I will never play another game of rugby.

"Although I have tried to round myself as an individual through education and other interests, I have always had one driving purpose in my life and that was to play rugby. I'm grateful I could do that in Munster. That feeling of walking out the tunnel in front of a packed Thomond Park is something I will never forget. To accept I will not play with my teammates again is beyond upsetting. I'm lucky to have played with so many great players, but rugby has given me something better and that is the people who are now life-long friends.

"I thank all the coaches I have been lucky enough to learn from and I look forward to seeing the development of our squad over the coming seasons. The guidance I have received from the medical teams in Munster and Ireland has been unfaltering. I would also like to acknowledge the consultants I have dealt with here and further abroad.

"I'm indebted to everyone who has helped me throughout my career from Seapoint my home club, Old Belvedere, Shannon and all the way up to representing Ireland. Without doubt the proudest moment of my career was being given the privilege to win my first cap for my country.

"It would be remiss of me not to mention the extensive support I have received from IRUPA not only at this moment in time but throughout my career also. I would encourage all players to engage with their players union.

"Finally, I would like to thank my family and close friends for their undying support on and off the pitch. I will draw upon this over the coming weeks as the situation presents itself as a nervous yet exciting junction in my life."

Tributes have been pouring in social media:



















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