Saturday 14 December 2019

Goodbye, Jonny, and bonne chance

EVERY sporting Irishman and woman will wish Jonathan Sexton well as he contemplates an exciting and lucrative sporting adventure on the rugby fields of France.

The Leinster and Irish outhalf has brought verve and excitement to this definitive team sport.

Over the four seasons, since making his international debut in 2009, he has made the Ireland number 10 shirt his own, gradually easing ahead of the older but no less brilliant Ronan O'Gara of Munster.

Jonny will be sorely missed by Leinster, whose successes he has hugely helped. He has served the Ireland and Leinster teams with passion and pride and has been rightly tipped to feature with the British and Irish Lions touring side later this year.

All Irish sports fans will view his move to French glamour side Racing Metro with a deal of sadness.

There is trepidation also that this may start a trend, with more of our stars being tempted into playing their club rugby outside Ireland, to the longer-term detriment of the game here.

In the end, money won out for Racing Metro. They had deeper pockets than the IRFU, which insists it did all it could to keep our hero in Ireland.

It is the simple reality of an increasingly tough professional game.

We must content ourselves with the hope that he will line out for Ireland for many more successful seasons to come.

But for today there is only one thing left to be said: Bonne chance, Jonny!

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