| 16.1°C Dublin

Romance is kicked into touch for Kerri and rugby ace Luke

Rugby hunk Luke Fitzgerald is back on the market after splitting with his model girlfriend Kerri Ingram Walpole.

The Leinster winger (22) has ended his five-month romance with the former beauty queen and has now returned to his status as one of the country's most sought-after bachelors.

The Ireland hero told the Diary that his relationship with the Compton model has ended, but refused to give any details of the break-up.

"Things have actually finished up, unfortunately, which is always sad," he said.

Luke said he didn't feel it was "relevant" to say when they split, but confirmed he is indeed back on the market.

And in spite of being one of the most high-profile athletes in the country, the shy star said he didn't want to seem as if he was "parading myself about here".

Their relationship was first revealed in February, but the pair had been keeping their romance under wraps for several weeks before.

Just two weeks ago, Kerri announced her support for her boyfriend's team when Leinster faced Toulouse, saying she would be "behind them 100pc" and insisted they were still going strong.

The blonde beauty was spotted last weekend when she went on a girls' night out with some of her fellow models in Krystle, conspicuously without her other half.

Although Kerri had previously been credited for being a rock of strength for Luke as he nursed his leg injury -- which ruled him out for the season -- he is dying to get back on the pitch.

"I'm feeling great," he said. "I've been out injured for the last while so I'm looking to just get back out there playing. I've been training for a long time, so I'm almost there now."

Meanwhile, rugby pundit Brent Pope has revealed he's heading back to his homeland of New Zealand for the summer months.

The popular commentator and Herald columnist told the Diary how he is due to jet across the globe next month, in time to join his dad Michael to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Brent (47) explained how he hasn't made the trip home in several years.

"I think as you get older it's important to spend as much time as possible with your parents and your family members," he said.

Brent joined forces with 2fm DJ Rick O'Shea, actress Holly White and Fair City star Rachel Sarah Murphy at the IFSC yesterday to launch the People of the Year Awards, taking place on September 11.