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Three former Irish rugby stars to sue IRFU over alleged concussion injuries

Proceedings were initiated by David Corkery, Declan Fitzpatrick and Ben Marshall in the High Court in Dublin

20 July 1999; David Corkery, Ireland. Rugby. Picture credit; Brendan Moran/SPORTSFILE

Declan Fitzpatrick during Ireland rugby squad training in 2012. Picture: Sportsfile

David Corkery during the Five Nations Rugby International, England v Ireland at Twickenham in 1998. Picture: Sportsfile

Ben Marshall during Leinster v Newport Gwent Dragons in 2013. Picture: Sportsfile

David Corkery in action during an Ireland v Australia friendly at Lansdowne Road in 1999. Sportsfile

Ben Marshall (left) during Leinster v Ospreys in the Guinness PRO12 in 2014. Sportsfile

Shane PhelanIndependent.ie

Three rugby players, including two former internationals, have issued legal proceedings against the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) in what are believed to be the first of a raft of cases related to concussion.

Proceedings were initiated by David Corkery, Declan Fitzpatrick and Ben Marshall in the High Court in Dublin yesterday.

All three are being represented by Maguire McClafferty, a Dublin law firm which announced last year it was preparing a number of rugby concussion cases.

Mr Corkery (49) played 27 times for Ireland between 1994 and 1999. His action is against the IRFU, Munster Rugby and World Rugby.

David Corkery in action during an Ireland v Australia friendly at Lansdowne Road in 1999. Sportsfile

In an interview earlier this year, he said: “I got so many concussions, I lost count. I’ve suffered from depression for years.”

Mr Fitzpatrick (39) played seven times for Ireland in 2012 and 2013. He is suing the IRFU, Ulster Rugby and World Rugby.

Declan Fitzpatrick during Ireland rugby squad training in 2012. Picture: Sportsfile

He quit the sport after suffering six concussions in his career, four of them in his final three seasons.

Ben Marshall during Leinster v Newport Gwent Dragons in 2013. Picture: Sportsfile

Mr Marshall (32) lined out for Leinster and Connacht between 2010 and 2017, when he was forced to retire due to concussion. His lawsuit is against Leinster Rugby, Connacht Rugby, the IRFU and World Rugby.

There was no immediate comment from Maguire McClafferty.

In a previous statement to Independent.ie, the firm said it was handling a number of rugby concussion cases within this jurisdiction in cooperation with solicitor Richard Boardman and UK law firm Rylands Legal.

Ben Marshall (left) during Leinster v Ospreys in the Guinness PRO12 in 2014. Sportsfile

“We act for a number of retired professional rugby players, all of whom have played for both province and country. Further cases are coming forward on a regular basis,” the statement said.

The firm said clients were undergoing medical tests in conjunction with a team of leading neurologists, scientists and healthcare professionals.

It said any proceedings issued would be supported by evidence from these medical experts and from a multidisciplinary team of experts assembled by Rylands in the UK.

Maguire McClafferty also said it expected the proceedings would be opposed by the rugby authorities in Ireland and may therefore take some time to be resolved.

Last July, Rylands launched a class action lawsuit against World Rugby, the Rugby Football Union and the Welsh Rugby Union.

The claimants included prominent former internationals, including English World Cup winner Steve Thompson, former Wales captain Ryan Jones and the former All Black Carl Hayman.


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