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O'Driscoll reacts to 'absolutely brutal' news of O'Malley's retirement

Former provincial teammate Fionn Carr also paid tribute to the 25-year-old after his career was cut short through injury.

Brian O'Driscoll and Eoin O'Malley have a chat at a Leinster training session.
Brian O'Driscoll and Eoin O'Malley have a chat at a Leinster training session.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

LEINSTER CENTRE BRIAN O’DRISCOLL has called the news that backline partner Eoin O’Malley is retiring ‘absolutely brutal’.

O’Driscoll was one of the first Leinster players to come out and wish 25-year-old O’Malley all the best and pay tribute to his contribution to the province.

O’Driscoll tweeted, “Absolutely brutal to see Eoin O’Malley having to retire. Very clever player and a great man to have in your dressing room. #Massiveloss.” Jamie Heaslip, Dave Kearney and Fergus McFadden have also taken to social media to wish their former teammate the best.

O’Malley, a former student of and player with Belvedere College, made his breakthrough with the Blues in 2009/10, starting four of his seven appearances. He graduated to regular starter in the Leinster backline the following season and scored his first tries in the Pro12 [Scarlets] and Heineken Cup [Saracens].

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He took advantage of the World Cup-related absence of Leinster’s international stars in 2011 and scored a fantastic double in a home victory over Glasgow Warriors, followed by another try against Treviso the next week. He also made five appearances in the Heineken Cup but missed out in the squad for the league and European Cup finals when he badly injured his knee against Warriors in May 2012.

The comeback process was gruelling and, on occasion, solitary as O’Malley worked on rebuilding the strength and movement in his knee. Late last year, O’Malley spent some time feeling his way back into the game he loves with O’Driscoll as the legendary return came back from an ankle injury.

Announcing his retirement today, he commented, “People often refer to modern day sport as a ruthless and cut-throat environment but Leinster have without a doubt gone above and beyond in all aspects, doing everything they could in attempting to help me with my recovery.”

Former Leinster teammate Fionn Carr, who is now with Connacht, told TheScore.ie that he was crestfallen to hear of O’Malley’s early retirement. “We are good friends,” said Carr. “We knew things were really tough for him with his injury and recovery attempts. All the Leinster lads were hoping for the best so to hear he is retiring is really unfortunate.

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“I played with him a good few times at Leinster. He was a fantastic player; very good at reading the game and he had a great pass on him.”

Fionn Carr and Eoin O’Malley 913 jersey0 tackle Scarlets’ Liam Williams in 2012. ©INPHO/Colm O’Neill

Perhaps the best person placed to sum up his experiences at Leinster is O’Malley himself. In a moving statement, released by the province today, he declared:

To have played a small part in my home province’s success is something I dreamt about since I was a child and it will always mean an enormous amount to me. It was always a great honour to pull on the Leinster jersey and they are memories I will never forget.”

Leinster’s Eoin O’Malley forced to retire after long-standing knee injury

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Patrick McCarry

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