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.
David Quinlan, who captained Ireland to victory against Scotland in last March's AIB Club International, will be lining out for his former club Shannon in the new season.
A compact back row, Quinlan spent last season with Buccaneers but has agreed to return to Limerick to the club he won three AIB League Division One titles with.
The former Ireland Youths and Colleges international was once captain of Shannon, and his return is a timely one as Mick Galwey's men have lost influential flanker John O'Connor, who was previously Munster-contracted, to English side Coventry.
Shannon will once again rely on a number of their Under-20s to step up to the senior mark this season, including Tadhg Bennett who is expected to step into the shoes of out-half Dave Delaney who has joined his former Thomond Park colleague Tom Hayes at Plymouth Albion.
Centres Brian Tuohy (Rotherham Titans) and Eoin Cahill (Bruff) and lock Dave Keane (Garryowen) are among the other players who have left the league champions during the summer.
Those player losses have been offset somewhat by the news of Shannon's successful Lottery grant application. The funds will see the club's Coonagh base upgraded, with work expected on the dressing room area and underage pitch.