Denis Fogarty is to leave Munster to join French Pro Division Two side Aurillac on a two-year deal.

The 28-year-old hooker, brother of former Leinster hooker John who was forced to retire by injury and is now Leinster Elite Player Development Officer John, was offered terms to remain with Munster but opted for the move to France.

Aurillac are coached by former Ulster, Ireland and Lions lock Jeremy Davidson.

Fogarty began his Munster career in 2004, and first started a game against Connacht in 2005. He has played 90 times for the province and is a two-time Heineken Cup winner with the province and was on the bench for the 2006 final win over Biarritz.

Commenting on the decision, he said: "You dont leave a squad like Munster without giving it a great deal of thought. It's been a huge part of my life and I've really enjoyed my time here.

"I've learnt a lot and made lifelong friends who I will miss. I wish them all the best in the future.

"The opportunity was there for me to remain but I feel the time is right for me to look for a new challenge. I'm grateful to Jeremy Davidson for providing me with that challenge and it's one I'm looking forward to."

Munster second-row Donncha O’Callaghan paid tribute to Fogarty, saying: “He's Munster to the core. An incredible character who brings so much to the squad both on and off the field.

"He'll be sorely missed, maybe much more than some people might imagine right now. But he goes with the best wish of everyone in the squad."

Fogarty follows in the footsteps of Tomas O’Leary who has also opted to leave Munster to play for London Irish despite having been offered a new deal.

The province is in the process of selecting a new coach with current head coach Tony McGahan set to leave for Australia at the end of the seaon.

Fogarty has been picked on the bench for Munster's British & Irish Cup title decider at Musgrave Park (Friday, 5.30pm).