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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Player Focus: Jerry Flannery

Player Focus: Jerry Flannery

With Rory Best ruled out due to a thumb injury, Munster’s Jerry Flannery will make his first World Cup start tomorrow night when Ireland take on France. IrishRugby.ie profiles the Galway-born hooker, whose late try was crucial in the opening win over Namibia.


Born: Galway, October 17, 1978
Height: 5ft 11in; Weight: 16st
Position: Hooker
Munster Caps: 53
Munster Points: 30 (6 tries)
Munster Debut: v Llanelli Scarlets, September 2003
Ireland Caps: 19
Ireland Points: 15 (3 tries)
Ireland Debut: v Romania, November 2005

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Player Record – Full Biography and Stats


– A mobile hooker, whose dynamic play in the loose matches his accurate lineout throwing and solid scrummaging, Flannery often repeats in interviews the line, “you might only get one chance to prove yourself and you’ve just got to take it when that happens”, and the talented number 2 has certainly done that during his career to date

– The 28-year-old is the only son of Limerick publican Ger Flannery who was president of Presentation RFC, a junior club in Limerick that gave the young ‘Fla’ his first experience of rugby

– Educated at St. Munchin’s College and University College Cork, he was capped by Ireland Schools and won a European Students Cup medal during his time at UCC. Stints followed at club level with Galwegians and Shannon, with whom he has won a pocketful of AIB League Division One winners medals

– At provincial level, Flannery first made his mark with Connacht, the province of his birth. He was with the westerners between 2001 and 2003 before the retirement of Keith Wood saw him sign for Munster

– He rose to national prominence during Munster’s Heineken Cup-winning season of 2005/06 when he stepped into the shoes of the injured Frankie Sheahan. He made the most of his chance, excelling for the province at European level and gaining international recognition as he helped Ireland to a Triple Crown success. He was included in the BBC’s Team of the Six Nations that year

– He has played a total of 53 times for Munster to date, scoring six tries in the process. He signed a contract extension in March of last year which will run until the end of the 2008/09 season

– Flannery made his Ireland senior debut as a replacement against Romania in November 2005. A voracious trainer, he even installed a chin-up bar in his bedroom when he was a youngster

– Flannery crowned his first start and Six Nations debut against Italy in February 2006 with his first try. His first appearance against the All Blacks came in June, but shoulder surgery saw him sidelined for much of last season

– Back fully fit, Flannery fought his way back into contention for this year’s Six Nations, playing in all five matches but Ulster’s Rory Best was the man in possession of the number 2 jersey for the entire tournament and the pair will continue to duel it out for the starting berth in the seasons to come


Flannery is a budding film maker and directed, produced and starred in a short Quentin Tarantino-esque film set in Limerick last year. His friends and Munster team-mates Mossie Lawler, Ian Dowling and Tony Buckley, whose physique easily lent to the role of gang enforcer, all had parts in it.

Well able to give and take in the banter stakes, Flannery’s Munster team-mate Anthony Foley famously texted the following message to him after he failed to run a try-scoring chance in against Wales at Lansdowne Road last year: “Warning! Quicksand found under the West Stand at Lansdowne Road.”

Flannery’s competitive streak got the better of him last week at the Ireland team hotel in Bordeaux. During some down time for the players in the team room, Paul O’Connell revealed that “a simple kick-around” between Flannery and Ronan O’Gara has escalated into “a fully-developed sport.”

“It was football tennis…with precise rules and interpretations. It involves two players, a soccer ball, a couch as the net and the court delineated with masking tape on the carpet.

“We were at it the whole evening. Geordan Murphy was head and shoulders above everyone else. Jerry was disgusted to lose both his games. He really fancies himself as a soccer player,” O’Connell said.



“Four years ago I was back in Limerick with Munster playing Celtic League, so it’s great to be here now – it’s where you want to be.

“But it’s not enough just to be here. You want to be performing and getting results. No one wants to be one of the players letting the nation down so that’s why I just want to get out there and have a shot at it on Friday.

“And there’s no point in us even taking the field if we’re going to make the silly mistakes we made in the last two games.”


“We have to cut out our turnover ball. Our defence and set pieces have to be right. We can build on it from there. We have talented players in the back-line and great footballers in the pack as well.

“Lads like Denis Leamy are on a par with anybody in the world but that’s no use if you keep dropping the ball. We have to hold onto possession and build phases.

“We haven’t consciously tried to score off our first phases, it’s just that we’ve made so many silly mistakes. We just haven’t put any continuity together and when you don’t do that, you can’t stretch teams.

“It’s difficult to use lads like Brian O’Driscoll in the back-line then. You end up forcing it, and we have got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot from the start.

“It’s about concentration, about who can keep their focus for the 80 minutes. If you look at the World Cup, teams have been shooting themselves in the foot with dropped passes and unforced errors. When you cut them out, it turns your game around.”


“Them being at home…it’s much the same as it was for us when we played them at Croker in the Six Nations. You’re at home in front of a huge crowd. You can say ‘We’ve got the whole country behind us’ and that’s a huge thing for the French.

“Their confidence is back up after their win over Namibia and they’ll be going into this game looking to tear us apart.

“Our backs are against the wall but that’s happened quite a lot with Munster. From when I first came in, I remember the Gloucester games and when we lost to Sale in our first game, in the year we won the Heineken Cup.

“I suppose experience helps. You don’t buy into panic. If you look at it in the cold light of day and acknowledge we made these mistakes, then you can cut them out. If we do what we do well, we can turn it around.

“People would have expected us to dominate in our first two World Cup games and we didn’t. It created a kind of snowball effect. But we still have our standards and want to go out and perform against France.”