London Irish have signed Munster and Ireland scrum-half Tomás O’Leary on a three-year contract.
The 28-year-old played a key role in the province’s 2008 Heineken Cup triumph as well as their Magners League successes in 2009 and 2011.
O’Leary said: “Joining London Irish presents a new and exciting chapter in my career and one that I am really looking forward to. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Munster and the Heineken Cup triumph in 2008 will always remain a highlight. I’m looking forward to working alongside Brian and the coaching team and testing myself in the Premiership and playing alongside a very talented squad at London Irish. I have been lucky enough to be part of some winning teams at both Munster and Ireland and I hope to have even more success as a London Irish player.”
The half-back has also been capped 24 times by Ireland, most recently against England in Twickenham last Saturday and was one of the outstanding performers when Ireland won the 2009 Grand Slam. This led to him being named in the original 2009 Lions squad. However, an ankle injury prevented him from taking part.
London Irish Director of Rugby Brian Smith said: “It is great to be announcing this week, just ahead of our St Patrick’s game, that a current Irish international will be joining us for next season. Tomás will be a fantastic addition to our squad. He is a proven scrum-half who has represented his country at the highest level. He will bring with him a wealth of experience and a winning mentality. We look forward to welcoming him to the club this summer.”
Born in Cork, O’Leary was educated at Christian Brothers College. He is the son of hurling great Seanie O’Leary. He turned his focus to rugby after winning an All-Ireland minor medal with Cork in 2001. The scrum-half has represented Ireland at schools level, U21, A and also at 7s.