Former Ireland and Lions captain Tom Kiernan dies at age of 83

Cork-born Kiernan won 54 caps for Ireland between 1960 and 1973

Pa Sport Staff
Thursday 03 February 2022 15:19
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<p>Tom Kiernan during a match between England and Ireland at Twickenham in 1972</p>

Tom Kiernan during a match between England and Ireland at Twickenham in 1972

Former Ireland and British and Irish Lions captain Tom Kiernan has died at the age of 83, the Irish Rugby Football Union has announced.

Cork-born Kiernan won 54 caps for his country between 1960 and 1973.

He also played five times across the 1962 and 1968 Lions tours to South Africa, serving as skipper on the latter.

At the time of his retirement, full-back Kiernan was Ireland’s most-capped player and record points scorer with 158. He captained the team 24 times.

Kiernan later performed a number of high-profile administrative roles, including chairman of the Five Nations, president of the IRFU, honorary treasurer of the International Rugby Board (World Rugby) and director of the Rugby World Cup in 1999.

IRFU president Des Kavanagh said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that I pass on condolences to the Kiernan family, on the passing of their beloved Tom, on behalf of everyone in Irish rugby.

“Tom was an inspirational leader both on and off the pitch and he helped to shape rugby into the strong and vibrant game it is today.

Tom was an inspirational leader both on and off the pitch and he helped to shape rugby into the strong and vibrant game it is today.

IRFU president Des Kavanagh

“Tom’s life will be reflected upon at our matches this weekend, and his legacy will live long in the history of Irish rugby, may he rest in peace.”

Kiernan kicked the winning score the first time Ireland beat South Africa, in 1965, and captained the first Irish team to win a Test in Australia two years later.

At club level, he represented Cork Constitution, Munster and University College Cork with distinction.

After hanging up his boots, he was in charge of the Munster team which recorded victory over New Zealand in 1978 and went on to coach Ireland between 1980 and 1983, including winning the Five Nations title in 1982.

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