Ireland star Jerry Flannery has been forced to retire from all rugby with immediate effect after failing to overcome a long term calf injury.

The hooker’s announcement came on the day that Munster also confirmed that scrum-half Tomas O’Leary and centre Lifeimi Mafi are to leave the province.

O’Leary has accepted a contract offer from London Irish while Mafi is off to play for Perpignan in France.

Flannery told “I’m very sad to have to announce my immediate retirement from rugby due to injury.

“Since my injury at the 2011 World Cup, I’ve struggled to regain the level of fitness required to play at this level and after consulting with the medical staff at Munster and at Ireland I am announcing my retirement with immediate effect.

“I would like to thank all the medical staff who have worked so hard on my behalf and shown great patience in dealing with me. I feel incredibly privileged to have played with so many great players with Munster and with Ireland.

“To train hard and win trophies for Munster and Ireland alongside some of my best friends has been an amazing experience.

“I’m incredibly grateful for all the opportunities rugby has given me to date and I would like to thank all my friends, family, coaches and teammates for their support along the way.

“Finally I would like to thank all the Munster and Irish rugby fans who I have been so proud to represent over the course of my career, your level of support has been amazing and I can never thank you all enough. It’s been emotional!”

Jerry Flannery at the Ireland Rugby Squad Training Camp 2009INPHO/Billy Stickland