Donal Lenihan

Last updated
Donal Lenihan
Birth nameDonal Gerard Lenihan
Date of birth (1959-09-12) 12 September 1959 (age 61)
Place of birth Cork, Ireland
Height1.95 m (6 ft 5 in) [1]
Weight108 kg (17.0 st; 238 lb)
School Saint Patrick’s
Christian Brothers College
University University College Cork
Rugby union career
Position(s) Lock
Amateur team(s)
Cork Constitution
Senior career
Munster 50+ ()
National team(s)
British and Irish Lions

Donal Gerard Lenihan (born 12 September 1959) is a retired Irish rugby union player. He appears regularly as a co-commentator on TV and radio for rugby matches and writes for the Irish Examiner, as well as working as a financial consultant in Cork. Lenihan was inducted into the Munster Rugby Hall of Fame in April 2019. [2] He was awarded with the Guinness Rugby Writers of Ireland Hall of Fame in November 2013. He was awarded as Irish rugby’s ‘Player of the Decade’ for the 1980s by the Irish Times. Elected President Cork Constitution Football Club 2020-2021


Early life

Lenihan was raised in a sporting background. His father, Gerald Lenihan, was an All-Ireland heavyweight boxing champion and Gaelic footballer of distinction, and played in the same team as Jack Lynch. Donal attended primary school he attended Saint Patrick’s on Gardiner's Hill and afterwards went to Christian Brothers College, Cork. He captained his school to Munster Junior and Senior Schools titles and was also captained for Irish schools. [3] He was a student at UCC and played for the rugby team while studying there.

Rugby career

Lenihan played his first test match for Ireland on 21 November 1981 versus Australia at the age of 22. Famous for his aerial skills in the line-out, the second row was ever present in the Irish team for over a decade which saw two Triple Crowns and three Five Nations Championship victories. It was his break off the back of a line-out that set up Mike Kiernan's championship clinching drop-goal against England in 1985.

Lenihan played four matches in the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup where he was the Irish captain and played three matches in the 1991 Rugby World Cup. The Munsterman captained his country 17 times (3rd highest of the amateur era, 7th all-time). He was selected for three British and Irish Lions tours - 1983, 1986 (IRB Centenary Match), 1989 - and captained the Lions on a number of occasions during their victorious tour of 1989. [4] His 52nd and last Irish cap (6th highest of the amateur era) came against Wales on 18 January 1992.


After retirement from playing rugby, he took over as manager of Ireland in 1998, alongside coach Warren Gatland. [5] He stepped down as manager at the end of the 2000 season [6] to take over management of the British and Irish Lions for their 2001 tour to Australia with coach Sir Graham Henry. [7]


University College Cork R.F.C.

Cork Constitution


British and Irish Lions

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  1. [ bare URL ]
  2. "O'Mahony Named Munster Player Of The Year". Munster Rugby. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  3. Scally, John (1996). Giants of Irish Rugby . Mainstream Publishing Company. ISBN   1-85158-834-5.
  4. "History of the Lions New Zealand 1993". BBC Sport. 18 May 2005. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  5. "Former captain and ex-Lions player to take over as national rugby manager". Irish Examiner Web site. Archived from the original on 2008-03-19.
  6. "Ireland's Lenihan to step down after visit of Wales". Independent News.[ dead link ]
  7. "Brian O'Brien is the new Irish Manager". RTÉ Web Site.