Wednesday 16 January 2019

Browne prepares to say farewell

Andrew Browne. Photo: Sportsfile
Andrew Browne. Photo: Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

The Connacht supporters will wave goodbye to another one of their own tomorrow as Renmore native Andrew Browne finishes up with the province after 11 years.

Despite making a return to training recently following injury, Browne has not completed his comeback and will not play against Leinster, but will instead be presented to the crowd afterwards along with the rest of the players who are leaving the province.

Browne first caught the eye when playing schools rugby with 'The Bish' and the club game with Galwegians, while he then followed in his brother Damian's footsteps by joining his local team.

A graduate of the Connacht academy, Browne made his first appearance in the Connacht shirt against Cardiff Blues in April 2007, as a 66th-minute replacement for Michael Swift at the Sportsground.

Earlier that season Browne had played a key part in Ireland's U-20 Grand Slam-winning season, and the Galway man started all five games in the No 5 shirt.

Along the way to that massive team achievement, Browne played alongside future Connacht team-mates Aidan Wynne, Ian Keatley, Jamie Hagan, TJ Anderson, Paul O'Donohoe, Shane Monahan, Niall O'Connor, Kyle Tonetti and Eoghan Grace.

But without doubt Browne's biggest achievement came in 2016 when he earned a PRO12 winner's medal with Connacht.

Injury marred the second-row's impact at times in that campaign but he was still a key part of the set-up.

An expert lineout leader who was blessed with brilliant ball-playing skills and a physical edge to his game, Browne will be sorely missed from the Connacht squad.

After 12 seasons, one try - against Ulster in 2009 - and more than 150 games, Browne last played in green in February against Ospreys.

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