For Munster supporters, St Stephen’s Day was no ordinary St Stephen’s Day. It brought the end of an era as John Hayes played his 217th and final game for the province.
The 38-year-old has enjoyed a phenomenal career in rugby for much of the past two decades, winning Heineken Cups and Six Nations Grand Slams with Munster and Ireland.
He played an hour of Monday’s RaboDirect PRO12 game against Connacht before running to the sideline for the final time.
Munster won the game 24-9, but to all who were there the scoreline mattered less than saying their goodbyes to a living legend.
He was joined at Thomond Park by his wife Fiona and daughters Sally and Roisin.
Farewell, Bull. Enjoy the retirement.
[All photos from Inpho/Billy Stickland and Lorraine O’Sullivan]
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