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Flannery: I just had to call it a day

JERRY FLANNERY has revealed the mental struggle he endured before finally admitting defeat in the injury battle which led to his retirement from rugby.

The 33-year-old Munster hooker battled a calf injury for years, but has been forced to bow out after medics told him his playing career was over following a back problem.

Flannery played his last competitive game in Ireland's World Cup defeat of the US in September.

He was hit by the calf injury in the tournament but recovered, only for the subsequent back problem to end his career.

Although it was an agonising decision for the Grand Slam winner, he admits it was one he had to make.

"I had the (leg) operation before the World Cup, and I got through a couple of games in the build-up to the World Cup and played the first game," Flannery said.

"I thought I was out of the woods at that stage. When I broke down, I came back and it hasn't been coming around for me.

"You keep working at something but I didn't want to get to that stage where I got really bitter at rugby again.

"That's why after talking with the medical staff they just said, 'It doesn't seem to be coming around.'

"Unfortunately, I have had to retire. It's not a decision taken lightly."