Saturday 24 June 2017

I have unfinished business with pro game, insists Carr

The former Connacht and Leinster winger Fionn Carr has returned to his roots in the AIL, turning out for Nass RFC Photo: Getty
The former Connacht and Leinster winger Fionn Carr has returned to his roots in the AIL, turning out for Nass RFC Photo: Getty
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It wasn't the way Fionn Carr had envisaged his professional career ending. Still only 30, the former Connacht and Leinster winger hasn't ruled out the possibility of a return to a higher level.

His old friend Johne Murphy tempted him back to Naas RFC - the club where it all began for Carr - while his recent call-up to the Ireland Sevens squad for the Dubai 7s, which begins today, shows that there is plenty of life in the old dog yet.

Carr's second spell with Connacht finished at the end of last season; although the Westerners won the Pro12, the Dublin native didn't feature as often as he would have hoped.

Returning to his roots in the AIL has given him a new lease of life, and so too has being involved with the Sevens squad.

Carr is three months into a role with GloFox, a business management software development company whose CEO is former Connacht scrum-half Conor O'Loughlin.

Beginning

While it certainly feels like a new beginning for Carr, he admitted that if the right offer came about, he would be open to the idea of a return to professional rugby.

"I wouldn't say I've totally parked it," Carr said. "I'm only three months into the job and I'm enjoying that. I'm enjoying playing in the AIL and with the Sevens. It would probably take a bit to pry me away from that.

"England, potentially, France probably not so much. Just for different personal reasons at home. I would be potentially open to it but my first choice was definitely to stay in Ireland to try and play another couple of years if that was possible.

"My preference was to stay in Ireland and play some more rugby here. That didn't work out but then Johne got on to me and the Sevens came about and I ended up getting a good job offer.

"When I finished, I definitely did think that were was some unfinished business there. Every player who has a contract and it finishes like that is probably going to feel like that. I probably do get that vibe a little bit."

Carr represented Ireland from schools level all the way up through the ranks until the Wolfhounds but he never won a full cap.

His experience, along with Murphy, has ensured that Naas RFC are more than holding their own in their first season in Division 1B.

The Kildare club are hugely ambitious and Carr's return has given him the chance to play with his old Newbridge College team-mates.

"It's been a little different going back to the Tuesday and Thursday nights training," Carr explained.

"It's guys I went to school with and guys I played minis with so it's great being back with them.

"There's guys who I played minis with at U-12 still with the club. I think at least 90pc of our squad are home-grown Naas guys who have come up through the ranks.

"It's massive statement by the club to have that amount of guys from the area playing with the club and the fact that they have pushed on now from 2A to 1B. . . it's a club that's looking to do well."

Ireland begin their Dubai 7s tournament this afternoon and Carr has been included as part of a new-look squad.

The likes of Tom Daly, Adam Byrne and Tom Goggin have already impressed enough with the Sevens to earn a chance with their provinces and Carr fully believes that under Anthony Eddy, there is huge potential for the programme to grow.

"The last time Ireland were at the World Cup (2009), I was involved but we didn't get released because I had just signed for Connacht at the time," Carr recalled.

"I always loved watching and always wanted to play it. It would definitely have appealed to me. It's non-stop running rugby so I would never say no to that.

"It's been a little different. It's modified around the provinces and maybe the club game which is quite good because it means that anyone can come along.

"I've seen the potential already from the younger guys who are playing. It's a programme that should be instilled and hopefully now Ireland can get to the next level.

"It would be great if they could get to the World Series because it's such good exposure.

"It's something that's given me a new challenge and a new goal in rugby. It's definitely something that I would like to stay involved in for as long as I can."

Carr may have started a new chapter in his life but he is not quite ready to end the old one just yet.

Irish Independent

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