Ireland and Leicester Tigers star and Ireland’s Women’s rugby coach Tom Tierney passes away aged 46

Image of rugby star Tom Tierney. Credit: Twitter@LeicesterTigers

Tom Tierney, the Ireland and Leicester Tigers scrum-half and coach passed away at the age of 46.


The world of rugby is in mourning today, Friday, February 24, at the tragic news of the passing of the legendary Irish scrum-half Tom Tierney. The former Ireland and Leicester Tigers star was 46.

Tierney was a member of the 1999 Ireland Rugby World Cup team that reached the quarter-final playoffs, scoring a try in the match with Romania that ended in a 44-14 victory.

His time as an international was limited thanks to the emergence of Peter Stringer. This resulted in Tom playing in just eight games during his two years with the national side, coming to an end in 2000.

Tierney made a name for himself in regional rugby with Garryowen, Richmond and Galwegians before making the step up to the provincial level with Munster. Between 2002 and 2004 he played for Premiership giants Leicester Tigers, making 15 appearances for the club before joining Connacht back in Ireland for another four years.

After retiring from competitive rugby, he took on the successful role of coach for the Irish women’s team. In 2015 he led them to their second Six Nations crown. A loss to France saw his side narrowly miss out on a Grand Slam. He parted ways with the squad after the 2017 Rugby World Cup.

Tom continued in coaching roles and looked after the Irish under-19 and under-20 teams. His work was instrumental in bringing young talent through the ranks which at one point saw Ireland elevated to the No1 ranked team in the world.

He was based at the University of Limerick at the time of his death, working with the IRFU. “Everyone in Irish Rugby is deeply shocked to hear of the sudden loss of Tom Tierney. Our immediate thoughts are with his wife Mary and daughters Isabel and Julia, as well as his many friends, colleagues and former team-mates”, read a statement from Kevin Potts, the IRFU chief executive, as reported by

It continued: “Tom was an outstanding scrum-half and his time in the Ireland jersey will always be an immense source of pride for his family and the clubs that supported him on his journey. He also amassed an impressive CV as a coach and we were honoured to have him as a colleague in the IRFU from 2014 to present. He will be sorely missed”.

A statement from Leicester Tigers read: “Former Leicester Tigers player Tom Tierney has died, aged 46. Tierney made eight Test appearances for Ireland before joining Leicester Tigers ahead of the 2002 season. He played 28 games for Tigers between 2002-04, scoring one try”.

“Tierney previously played for both Connacht and Munster. Following his playing career, Tierney moved into coaching and held roles with the Ireland Women’s team and Ireland Under-20s side”, it continued.

Munster Rugby are devastated to learn of the passing of Tom Tierney. A former Munster player, Tom is our National Talent Coach & previously coached Ireland Women, @GarryowenFC & @CorkConRugbyFC. Thinking of his wife Mary, daughters Isabel and Julia and wider family & friends”, tweeted Munster Rugby.


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Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at