Munster have confirmed that JJ Hanrahan is departing at the end of the season, joining Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne on a one-year deal.

The news was first flagged on Thursday evening that the 28-year-old was bound for the French top-flight, with Munster confirming the news this morning. 

Commenting on his move, Hanrahan said, "It was difficult to hear the news regarding my future with Munster Rugby, however, it has been a dream come true and a privilege to represent my home province and wear the jersey for eight years.

"I have lifelong friends from this club, and I am very proud to represent the people of Munster and in particular the people of Kerry.

"Equally, I believe I am going to a club with very similar traditions and values in Clermont and it's an opportunity I am extremely excited for.

"Currently my main focus is to give everything I have to the Munster jersey during my time left here in Ireland."

Another playing leaving Munster is Darren Sweetnam, who is joining Ronan O'Gara's La Rochelle as an injury joker.

La Rochelle are battling for the Top14 title, as well as Heineken Champions Cup honours, and winger Sweetnam has been signed as cover for the injured Jeremy Sinzelle.

Sweetnam has been released from his Munster contract and won't be returning to Thomond Park after his spell with La Rochelle.

Hanrahan has made 140 appearances overall for Munster since his debut in 2012, joining Northampton Saints for two seasons between 2015 and 2017. 

He returned to Munster at the end of the 2016-17 season, featuring heavily in the team during Joey Carbery's absence in 2020-21.

Head Coach Johann van Graan said, "JJ is a fantastic player and has been a great servant to Munster Rugby.

"We’ve said from the beginning we want to retain all of our players but unfortunately the harsh realities of what’s happened over the past year have come to a head. Due to the challenges stemming from the Covid landscape we are not in a position to hold onto a player of JJ’s calibre, and we are sorry to see him go.

"While he has a fantastic opportunity ahead of him we still have a job to do here and we look forward to JJ successfully seeing out his time in the red jersey."

Clermont's outgoing head coach Franck Azema said the signing of Hanrahan was a "big coup" but added that he no longer plays a role in bringing players to the club.

Clermont currently sit fourth in the Top 14 and face Wasps in the last-16 of the Heineken Champions Cup this weekend.