With Shannon RFC concluding a successful season with their AGM on Tuesday evening, the highs of winning AIB League Division One for the ninth time have been somewhat tempered by the news that both of the club’s selected 2009 British & Irish Lions players are now unable to travel to South Africa.
Jerry Flannery and Alan Quinlan would have become Shannon’s fourth and fifth British & Irish Lions players after Colm Tucker (South Africa 1980), Gerry McLoughlin (New Zealand 1983) and Mick Galwey (New Zealand 1994).
From the high of the squad announcement, when everyone in Shannon celebrated their selection, the Limerick club now join the disappointment of every rugby supporter in Ireland and beyond in their misfortune.
Giving his initial reaction to the news, Shannon’s newly-elected club President Martin Clancy conveyed the disappointment for both men on behalf of the club.
“This is a devastating blow to two of Shannon’s greatest players, and we are extremely disappointed for both men.
“The initial recognition of both players on the Lions touring side was a supreme and deserved honour for Alan and Jerry and an honour we shared with them as fellow Shannon men.
“We are extremely proud of that achievement, and despite not having the opportunity to don the famous red jersey, we will always consider them as Lions.”
He added: “Less than two weeks ago Jerry spoke to our senior side immediately prior to the AIB League Division One final against Clontarf and his words of encouragement and wisdom were of immense benefit to the lads.
“The enormous personal blow to both men will hopefully not have a lasting impact on their future careers. Both men still have so much to offer and we look forward to seeing them back in action next season.”