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Fitzgerald: A pioneer who will be missed

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Garrett Fitzgerald achieved a remarkable amount of good work in the name of Munster Rugby. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Garrett Fitzgerald achieved a remarkable amount of good work in the name of Munster Rugby. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Garrett Fitzgerald achieved a remarkable amount of good work in the name of Munster Rugby. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Munster lost another link to their golden days with the death last week of recently retired CEO Garrett Fitzgerald, who had been the longest-serving of the provincial CEOs, writes Brendan Fanning.

Fitzgerald was one of the pioneers of Irish rugby, breaking new ground in a province that was a rough frontier in the early years of the game going professional. There was a challenge at every turn. You needed patience and perseverance and political smarts - and he had all three. He was also blessed with a high emotional intelligence, which is helpful when dealing with professional athletes.

Garrett was not always the easiest to get a hold of, but always worth the effort. And if it was a time of crisis, his starting point was to see it from your point of view, and work from there.

By the time he signed off last year he had laid down a significant body of work. The number of titles won in any organisation is not the first metric for a CEO, even if he or she might have a big role in the culture of the group. And he did. But Garrett managed a far more difficult assignment in bringing an end to the Twin City madness that attended their preparation from the word go. The politics in that one - to be a Corkman who signed off on the powerbase being invested in Limerick - were cutthroat. He got it over the line, and into the fine facility in UL.

Garrett was a good man, good company, and will be missed. We offer our condolences to his wife Áine, and his children Megan, Jamie and Michael.

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