It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Garrett Fitzgerald last week. As Gerry Thornley put it in the Irish Times it is doubtful if anyone has given more to Munster rugby in the professional era. I had the absolute privilege of presenting Garrett with an award for his contribution to the business of sport in Ireland at last years Irish Sports Industry Awards ceremony in Dublin. It truly was a privilege to honour a man I had admired for many years. He was the guiding hand that transformed Munster into one of rugby’s great brands which is recognised all over the rugby world. Under his stewardship he transformed Munster into a serious business that today employs some 70 people ( excluding players). He oversaw the redevelopment of Thomond Park . the re-energizing of Musgrave Park, the creation of a world class High Performance Centre at UL and the small matter of two Heineken Cup triumphs along the way. Garrett was a rugby man through and through. A talented player at school he played club rugby for many years. He coached CBC Cork to five Munster Schools Cup victories before going on to coach Munster for three years during which period he guided them to victory over the then World Cup champions Australia. A further measure of the man was convincing the All Blacks to play Munster to officially open the redeveloped Thomond Park. As former Munster and international player Jerry Flannery put it ” What he has done for Munster Rugby is incredible. He lived the values of the province, always putting people first. A truly great man he will be dearly missed’. Garrett was above all a gentleman. We will miss him. Our thoughts, prayers and sympathies go out to his wife Aine, and his children Megan, Jamie and Michael.
May he rest in piece.
Federation of Irish Sport