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18th Oct 2023

‘Thank you for your unconditional love’ – Keith Earl’s sweet words for wife & kids in rugby retirement announcement

Anna Martin

Keith Earls

Keith Earls had a sweet message for his wife and kids as he announced his retirement from rugby after scoring his 101st cap for Ireland at the World Cup.

The news comes after the 36-year-old and the boys in green suffered a heartbreaking defeat to New Zealand over the weekend.

Despite making the difficult decision to end this 16-year-long chapter of his life, the winger said he had a lot to be grateful for over the years, particularly the love and support of his family.

In a statement released by Munster Rugby, Keith thanked his wife Edel and their three daughters for their unwavering support as he jetted off around the world to tog out for Ireland.

“To my wife Edel, children Ella-May, Laurie and Emie thank you for your unconditional love and support over the years. I couldn’t have made this journey without you,” he said to Munster Rugby.


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His wife and their girls were regularly seen pitch-side at rugby games, with the couple’s daughters often wearing mini green jerseys like their dad.

Edel and Keith go way back and are childhood sweethearts. They first met when the rugby ace was only 12 years old.

The winger has always sung his wife’s praises, and in 2019 even said: “She was the first girl I ever met from outside Moyross and now I am married to her.

“You’re thinking back, 12 years of age and 20 years later we’re here with three kids. She kept me on the straight and narrow.”

The two went from strength to strength over the years, facing tough times together like when their daughter Ella-May was born with a heart condition and Keith had to pull out of a Six Nation’s match against Wales.

On another personal note, Keith paid tribute to his parents Sandra and Ger, and sister Jenny – crediting them with helping him to become a better teammate.

Keith Earls

He concluded his emotional goodbye by saying: “Playing for Ireland meant the world to me and it has been an honour to pull on the jersey and represent our great nation. 

“To all the Ireland coaches, support staff and supporters who have backed me throughout my career – thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Keith has had a stellar career as with 36 test tries to his name, he ends his career second behind Brian O’Driscoll in Ireland’s all-time try-scoring chart.