Concussion injury causes Connacht centre Dave McSharry to retire at just 26 years of age
Connacht centre Dave McSharry has been forced to retire from professional rugby due to a concussion injury.
McSharry, an Ireland A international, met a neurologist last week where he was advised to retire.
"Although I am devastated that my time as a player has come to an end, I know that it is the only decision available to me after speaking to the specialist," McSharry told the official Connacht website.
"I leave Connacht Rugby with incredible memories that I will cherish forever and I am hugely proud to be leaving as a PRO12 champion."
McSharry, 26, joined Connacht in 2011 and went on to play 65 times for the Irish province.
He won an Ireland A cap in January 2013, starting for the Wolfhounds side against England Saxons in Galway.
McSharry was called into Ireland's Six Nations training squad the following day but injury restricted his international progress that season.
Connacht won their first PRO12 title last season, but McSharry was ruled out of the rest of the campaign in February after suffering a string of concussions.
"It has been a difficult year for Dave but throughout it all he has remained the consummate professional and has contributed greatly as a valued and popular member of our team," said Connacht head coach Pat Lam.
"While we are sad to see him moving on from the set up here, Dave's health comes first and it is a reminder to all of us that rugby is only a small part of our life journey.
"He will have a support system and friends for life from his time at Connacht Rugby and we wish him well for the future."