Tommy Bowe shares heartwarming open letter following his retirement announcement
Tommy Bowe has penned an emotional open letter following his announcement that he will retire at the end of the season.
Bowe confirmed this season will be his last when he shared a poem on social media yesterday, and that has been followed up with in more in-depth detail with a letter to fans, team-mates and family shared by the IRFU.
"As the saying goes, time stands still for no man (or sportsman). And so, 14 years on from signing my first professional contract with Ulster Rugby, I feel very fortunate to be able to say this will be my final season," wrote Bowe.
"I could never have imagined the career professional rugby has given me and I am so grateful to my close friends, family and agent Ryan Constable for their incredible support throughout the highs and lows. My beautiful wife Lucy has been my rock and little daughter Emma my newest inspiration.
"I want to thank everyone involved in Ulster Rugby, the Ospreys, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions for giving me the chance to live a dream I never thought possible. I'd also like to thank all those at Royal School Armagh, Queen's University and Monaghan RFC minis, where it all began.
"To my teammates; the bond of going out onto the field together and the most special feeling in a changing room after a win are what I am going to treasure in the last few months as I will miss them most. I've met some incredible people and made friends that will hopefully last a lifetime.
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"Lastly to you - the supporters - thank you for your backing throughout my career. From my singing Black Velvet Band (never again I promise!) to your continued messages of kindness and unwavering support, despite my injuries in latter years, I am eternally grateful.
"Who knows what the future will hold...
"Definitely not singing!
Monaghan-born Bowe has been struggling with injury in recent weeks, as he has battled to get back to full fitness to play for Ulster.
His fitness issues have also affected his hopes of extending his Ireland career, with the battle-scarred 33-year-old clearly deciding the time is right to walk away from the game.
He scored 30 tries for Ireland and his crucial score against Wales in Cardiff back in 2009 was vital in a famous Grand Slam success.
The winger scored a try on his Ulster debut against Connacht in 2004 and later that same year marked his international debut with a try against the USA.
In 2008, he swapped Ulster for the Ospreys and the following year he helped Ireland to a Six Nations grand slam by registering the winning try in a decider against Wales.
Bowe returned to Ulster in 2012 and has gone on to score 150 points in his international career.