Jerry Flannery was born on 17th October 1978 in Galway and raised in Limerick; the son of Jerry and Jane (née Grant) Flannery. His father Jerry Sr. is the son of James and Kathleen (née Aherne) Flannery. His grandfather James was the son of William and Bridget (née Kennedy) Flannery. His gt.grandfather William was the son of William and Ellen (née Cooke) Flannery. His gt.gt.grandfather William was the son of William and Ellen (née Kelly) Flannery. His forebears farmed in Ballyguy townland straddling the parishes of Abington and Clonkeen in County Limerick before the Great Famine, and later relocated to Rearcross in County Tipperary. The family have owned a popular pub on Catherine Street in Limerick City for many years.
He attended St Munchin’s College and University College Cork, graduating with a degree in business studies in 2001. During this period he played rugby for his college and his university, as well as turning out for Munster Schools, Ireland U19, Munster U21, and for Irish Colleges Rugby Union (better known as the Irish Universities, winning the Triple Crown in 1998).
Jerry started club rugby with Presentation R.F.C. before joining Galwegians R.F.C and then Shannon R.F.C.
He is one of very few players who have represented two provinces. His provincial experience started in 2002 with two seasons with Connacht where he competed for the European Challenge Cup. He then moved to Munster where he competed in the Celtic League and the European Cup (better known as the Heineken Cup); winning the Heineken Cup in 2006 and 2008, and the Magner's League in 2009 and 2011.
At 1.80m (5' 11") and 102kg (16st), his outstanding performances at hooker for Munster earned him a place on the national squad. He was a key member of the Irish Senior XV team that won the Triple Crown in 2006, 2007 and 2009, and the Six Nations Championship in 2009. The historic Grand Slam victory on 21st March 2009 was the second in Irish rugby history and the first against five competing nations (France, Italy, England, Scotland and Wales) since the 1948 Grand Slam did not include Italy. In terms of silverware, Jerry is the most successful hooker in Irish rugby history.
Jerry is one of only a handful of touring Irish players who have scored a try against the New Zealand All Blacks; this was achieved in 2006. He also turned out for Ireland in the 2007 Rugby World Cup and scored a try against Namibia.
In 2009, he won a place in the squad to play for the British and Irish Lions on their South African tour but was unable to participate due to injury.
Jerry retired from professional rugby on 20th March 2012.
[his portrait is illustrated above, representing Connacht, Shannon, Munster and Ireland - courtesy of RTE news and match programmes; Grand Slam 2009 photo by Stu Forster / Getty Images Europe - courtesy of zimbio.com under the creative commons license, with great thanks]