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Connacht confirm Mike McCarthy to join Leinster

The lock will move east when his current contract expires in June.

Image: ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

CONNACHT HAVE ACCUSED Leinster of persistently poaching their top talent following Mike McCarthy’s decision to join the European champions next season.

Amid increasing speculation on McCarthy’s future, a “bitterly disappointed” Connacht confirmed this morning that attempts to convince him to stay at the Sportsground had been unsuccessful.

The 31-year-old lock will move when his current deal expires in June 2013.

The loss of one of their biggest stars comes as a blow to Eric Elwood’s men just days after their latest European scalp against Biarritz. McCarthy was in towering form with a man-of-the-match display in Friday night’s 22-14 win over the French giants.

Against the backdrop of these European gains and province’s progressive development, Connacht chief executive Tom Sears said that Leinster’s strategy of snapping up their best players is not in the best interests of Irish rugby.

“We are bitterly disappointed to lose Mike McCarthy, who has been a popular senior member of our squad,” Sears said.

“While disappointed, particularly given the continued success of Connacht Rugby in recent years, we respect the individual player’s decision and wish Mike every success in his future playing career.

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“We have been aware of Leinster’s interest in Mike for some time. It is disappointing they have persistently targeted Connacht players in recent years, particularly when often not in the best interest of Irish Rugby.”

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