18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Talented back row forward Stephen Keogh has turned down a contract renewal offer from Munster in favour of joining their provincial rivals Leinster.
The Shannon clubman, who turns 24 in May, has been snapped up by Leinster coach Michael Cheika on a two-year deal. One cap short of making his 50th appearance, Keogh is the second signing of Cheika's for next season - following on from the acquirement of Australia scrum half Chris Whitaker - and he will link up with his new Leinster team mates in the close season.
Cheika said: "I'm really happy that we have secured Stephen's signature. I have seen him play this year and I have been impressed with his consistently high level of performance.
"I think that he will be an excellent and valuable addition to our team and he will give us a strong, competitive back row. He is a quality player who will compete heavily at provincial level and beyond."
Keogh, who is likely to plug the gap left at Leinster by Eric Miller's impending retirement, has already represented Ireland at Schools, Under-19 and Under-21 levels. A strong end of season run could see him force his way into the Ireland "A" squad for June's Churchill Cup, which takes place in the United States and Canada.
Keogh has played in ten Celtic League games to date for Declan Kidney's side this season - captaining Munster whilst Anthony Foley was absent - as well as four Heineken Cup pool games.
Commenting on the transfer, Munster team manager Jerry Holland said: "While we are very disappointed that Stephen has opted to leave, we respect his decision and wish him all the best for the future."