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'The sooner a decision is made the better for everyone involved'

Leinster man Joey Carbery’s future looks set to be decided in the coming days.

JUST IN CASE anyone needed a reminder of Joey Carbery’s class, the 22-year-old delivered as Leinster wrapped up their Guinness Pro14 title in Dublin yesterday evening.

Having replaced Johnny Sexton at out-half, Carbery received a pass from Luke McGrath in the 69th minute and produced sublime footwork to beat Scarlets centre Hadleigh Parkes.

Having bamboozled the Wales international, Carbery strode forward before slipping a pass back inside to McGrath, who fed Jack Conan for Leinster’s fifth, game-sealing score.

JC

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Carbery’s ability hasn’t ever been in doubt, but what has been up in the air in recent times is where his future lies.

Leinster want to keep him, the IRFU were encouraging him to move to Ulster at one point, and now a shift to Munster is a possibility.

With the Pro14 decider coming swiftly on the heels of the Champions Cup final, it was unlikely that any decision would be reached or announced in the past number of weeks, but an answer may now be forthcoming with those trophies secured.

One can only imagine how difficult it has been for the youngster preparing for huge games while pondering a major decision in his career.

Sexton, who has been a mentor for Carbery, hopes he stays with Leinster but stressed that the out-half/fullback will be a key man wherever his decision leaves him.

“He’s surrounded by good people with his dad and the management team here, they’ve looked after him,” said Sexton of Carbery after yesterday’s win over the Scarlets.

“He has been able to call on some experienced guys as well to look for some advice but I have felt for him with all the speculation.

“From his point of view and from everyone’s point of view, I’m sure, the sooner a decision is made the better for everyone involved.

Joey Carbery Carbery has a big final decision to make. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“He’s a team-mate and a friend, first and foremost. Whoever he ends up with, I hope it’s here, but whoever he ends up with, he will be a great asset for.

“He’s so talented and versatile and he’s got a little bit of everything. You saw the footwork he did for the try and that’s what he’s capable of. Wherever he ends up, he’s going to be a massive asset.”

With Carbery and Ireland set to fly out to Australia next weekend, it does seem obvious that a decision on the out-half’s plan for next season will have to be made in the coming days, even if only to allow him to fully focus on the tour down under.

Irish rugby supporters have been waiting for an official announcement for weeks now, although Leinster boss Leo Cullen wasn’t dropping any hints yesterday.

“The situation is a little complicated, it’s not a straightforward scenario so we’ll manage our way through it,” said Cullen.

“The last few weeks he’s been very much laser-focused on the challenge we have. I’m sure there’ll be a few conversations that take place. Ultimately, it’s about what the players want to do and we’ll see how it progresses.”

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Murray Kinsella

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