Ronan O’Gara was born on 7 March 1977 in San Diego, California but his heart belongs to Cork. He moved back to Ireland at an early age and began his rugby career playing at secondary level with Presentation Brothers College, Cork.
With a long and impressive career as an Irish rugby union player in his position at out-half, Ronan retired in May 2013 having set a number of significant records. Testimonial dinners will be held in Cork in October 2013 and London in February 2014 to laud his career achievements.
Ronan O’Gara holds the record for being the highest points scorer in the history of Munster and Irish rugby. He has captained Munster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions. Not only have his exceptional kicking skills been well documented, he has also scored more tries for Ireland than any other in his position, another indication of his incredible skill, passion and tactical ability.
Ronan played in the 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2008 Heineken Cup finals. He won two Heineken Cups, two Celtic Leagues and a Celtic Cup. His last minute conversion against Gloucester in 2003 helped Munster to the 27 point victory – a game etched into Munster folklore as the “Miracle Match”.
He played in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 World Cups. He won one Six Nations, with a Grand Slam in 2009 and four Triple Crowns. Ronan overtook Jonny Wilkinson as the highest points scorer in Six Nations history in March 2009.
Ronan scored a late drop goal to help Ireland beat Wales and secure Ireland’s first Grand Slam in 61 years in 2009. In 2011 he became the first Irishman to score over 1000 points in international matches.
He was named RTE Sportsperson of the Year in 2004 and Texaco Sportstar of the Year in 2008. He was awarded the ERC European Player Award in 2010, crediting him as the player who made the greatest contribution to the Heineken Cup during its first fifteen years. He scored an 84th minute drop goal after over 40 phases of play to beat Northampton Saints in the Heineken Cup pool stages in 2011, before repeating the trick against Castres the week after. He kicked all of Muster’s points to beat Harlequins 18-12 in the Heineken Cup quarter final in 2013, and scored five more in the 16-10 semi final defeat to Clermont -his last game for Munster.
He is Munster’s all-time leading points scorer with 2,625 points and he holds the Heineken Cup record for points at 1,365.
Ronan moved to Paris in the summer of 2013 and he now holds a coaching post with French side Racing Métro 92.
(Source: Irish Examiner, Tribute Edition, Ronan O’Gara, Monday, May 20, 2013)
Brian O’Driscoll – “What a phenomenal career my bud ROG has had this last fifteen years. Brilliant rugby brain, incredible competitor. Chirpy as you like but backed it up every time.”
Ronan O’Gara – “It’s not a game plan. It’s a will to win and a refusal to lose.”
Donal Lenihan – “Ronan O’Gara will always be the special one. His achievements on the national stage and beyond cement his place as one of the all time greats of Irish rugby…..He will be missed but true greatness lasts forever.”
Peter Stringer – “What a huge loss Ronan O’Gara will be to rugby in this country both on and off the field. A true leader and one of a kind ..we have shared some incredible days over the last 25 years.