Tommy Bowe holding out hope of further Ireland appearances before retirement

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Tommy Bowe recalls his career highlights following his recent retirement announcement

Tommy Bowe says he hasn't given up hope of adding to his 69 Ireland caps in this year's Six Nations before his retirement at the end of this season.

Ulster wing Bowe aims to be back playing for the province in a couple of weeks after sustaining a shoulder injury against Leinster on 6 January.

"I know the odds are stacked against me with so many young fellows coming through," Bowe told BBC Sport NI.

"But if I can get myself back playing for Ulster, who knows?"

Jacob Stockdale scored two tries in Ireland's last game against Argentina in November
Bowe's Ulster team-mate Jacob Stockdale is among the young wing stars in Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad

Ireland laden with wing talent

At the moment, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt looks laden with wing talent with Keith Earls and Bowe's Ulster team-mate Jacob Stockdale tipped to start against France on Saturday and Jordan Larmour, Andrew Conway and Fergus McFadden also part of the squad.

In addition, Leinster winger Adam Byrne, though currently injured, started in the final November Test against Argentina while Ulster's Craig Gilroy and Connacht duo Matt Healy and Niyi Adeolokun will also have ambitions of featuring in the Six Nations.

However, Bowe believes that he could yet force himself into the Ireland frame if he performs well in the Ulster jersey in the coming weeks.

"I haven't written off getting involved in the Six Nations yet," he said.

"There is a World Cup next year that Joe and the coaches will be looking to build a squad for but you have to have that belief that you can play at the top level.

"If I can get myself fit and back to where I was just before I got injured, I think I can definitely do a job for Ireland."

Bowe blown away by tributes

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Six Nations: Ireland's Bowe relives 'special' try against Wales

The twice British and Irish Lions squad member says he has been "blown away" by the tributes he has received from around the world since announcing two weeks ago that he will halt his playing career at the end of this season.

"I never expected the amount of messages that I have been getting," he said.

"Retirement has been on my mind since the start of the season so to get it out in the open was a great relief.

"I took a week's holiday last week to refresh and now I'm back training with Ulster and looking forward to finishing on a high."

Bowe, who made his Ireland debut against the USA in 2004, added that his impending retirement "wasn't a difficult decision".

"I knew my contract was up at the end of this season. From pre-season, and pre-season and me have never gone well, pushing myself to the lengths of exhaustion.

"I knew I'm going to be 34 at the end of this year. For an outside back, that's not bad going," added Bowe, who became a father for the first time 10 months ago.

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