SHANE Jennings called time on a glittering career with Leinster and professional rugby at the end of the current season, one that saw him land three Heineken Cups, three Celtic Leagues and an Amlin Cup.
In the wake of the announcement, he duly went on to captain Leinster on the occasion of his 204th Leinster cap to a bonus point win over Zebre in front of his home crowd at the RDS.
In so doing, the Rathfarnham man became the third most capped Leinster player behind only Leo Cullen and Gordon D’Arcy.
Jennings made his debut with Leinster Rugby in September 2002 before spending two seasons with the Leicester Tigers with whom he won the Guinness Premiership, as it was known then, in 2007.
In his time with the Tigers he won 60 caps in total scoring 12 tries. His return to Leinster, though, saw his career take flight with six major titles won whilst in the back row.
Jennings was also capped 13 times by Ireland, scoring one try, and made his last appearance against Scotland in the 2012 6 Nations. To date this season he has played seven times for Leinster in the Guinness PRO12, scoring two tries, one against Connacht and another against Munster.
Speaking in the RDS Arena, Jennings said: “[Retiring] has been on my mind for a while to be honest.
“The last couple of weeks probably solidified my decision. It’s been on my mind for a while. I’ve certainly taken my time to think about it, think about all the options, think about what I’m probably going to leave behind.
“There’s a number of reasons. My body is battered and bruised, but thankfully it’s not too bad.
“I’ve kind of been preparing myself over the last number of years with IRUPA through educational programmes and mentor programmes, and I’ve got a lot of assistance and a lot of help over the last few years to prepare myself for this.
“I’m very grateful that I’m going out on my terms. I’m very grateful that I’ve been part of such a great club, such a great team. It’s been good times.
“But thankfully I’m confident I’ve made the right decision. I’m prepared, and I’m looking forward to the next stage of my life.”
Leinster coach Matt O’Connor added about his time working with the St Mary’s man: “It’s been a pleasure to work with him over the last two seasons.
“I don’t think there’s been a bigger contributor to the success of the organisation over the last few years than Jenno.”