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Dublin: 4°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

Leinster lock's France move is off as Mike McCarthy is forced to retire due to injury

The 35-year-old has ended his rugby career on medical advice.

Leinster lock Mike McCarthy.
Leinster lock Mike McCarthy.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

LEINSTER SECOND ROW Mike McCarthy has been forced to retire from rugby at the age of 35 due to an elbow injury.

McCarthy had been due to leave Leinster for Narbonne in France this summer but that move will no longer go ahead due to an injury he sustained in training last month.

The physical lock, who has also suffered with concussion issues in recent years, was ruled out for the rest of the season a month ago with back and elbow problems.

He underwent surgery on his back and that brought an end to his 75-cap Leinster journey but he had hoped to extend his career in France’s second tier next season.

However, McCarthy, who also earned 19 Ireland international caps during his 17 years as a professional, has had to hang up his boots prematurely on medical advice.

London-born McCarthy began his career with Wasps in the English capital, before moving to Connacht in 2003.

A three-year spell with Newcastle Falcons followed that stint with the western province before he returned to Galway in 2009.

McCarthy then switched east to Leinster in 2013, two years after making his international debut for Ireland in a 2011 World Cup warm-up game against Scotland.

“It’s just sad because I’ve played my last game without really knowing it, without really being able to savour it or take it in,” McCarthy told Leinster Rugby’s website.

“That decision has been taken away from me and it’s difficult because even random things like I’m a dad and you do think of moments like bringing your daughter onto the pitch for a lap, maybe even with a trophy, and that’s no longer an option so like I said it’s just difficult right now to get my head around.

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“For 17 years I’ve been playing the game I love, running around tearing into people and having people tear into you. How do you replace that? You probably can’t but it’s trying to get my head around it all.

“Unfortunately I had been ruled out for the season anyway with a back and an elbow issue and to be honest the back injury has been dealt with but there was also an elbow injury in training and that injury has left the elbow in a pretty bad way.

“So it’s come to this. You have to listen to the medics, you have to back their advice.”

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About the author:

Alan Waldron

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