Wednesday 20 September 2017

McCarthy, Kirchner bow out with glowing tributes

Leinster's Mike McCarthy. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster's Mike McCarthy. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Mike McCarthy and Zane Kirchner's departures from Leinster had been on the cards for some time now but the confirmation that they will leave the province at the end of the season has both determined to end their stays on a positive note.

McCarthy has brought a hard edge to the Leinster pack since he joined from Connacht in 2013 and there is no doubt that the likes of Ross Molony, Mick Kearney and James Ryan will have benefited from training alongside someone of his experience.

The 35-year old isn't hanging his boots up just yet, however - he is set for a spell in France with ProD2 outfit Narbonne. McCarthy has been signed to boost their hopes of promotion to the Top 14.

"I'm focused on a big end of season with Leinster and hopefully repaying the club and the supporters with some silverware," McCarthy said.

"We are in a really good place on two fronts and I look forward to contributing over the next few months and finishing out as strongly as possible."

The Leinster supporters will be hoping that is indeed the case, and there is little doubt that the majority will have been suitably proud of how glowingly Kirchner spoke of the province.

While the Springbok hasn't always been a first-choice starter, the phalanx of talented younger backs have all spoken positively about the positive influence he had on them in his four seasons with the province.

Kirchner will return to the RDS next season in a Dragons shirt and he is sure to receive a warm welcome from the home crowd, especially after he said: "To a badge and a fraternity that literally turned my life around. A place that became home. Friends that grew closer then family.

Humbly

"From me and my family we humbly thank everyone for the adventure. To the organisation, from top to bottom, thank you for allowing me to set foot in a club which I believe is the best that I've ever been in.

"To the Leinster blue faithful, I hope that even for a little while I brought joy to your presence at our games.

"The roar and memories of the RDS is something I'll carry and treasure for the rest of my life. I am very grateful."

McCarthy and Kirchner's experience will be missed around Leinster's UCD base but judging by the younger players' performances this season, particularly during the Six Nations period when they were utterly ruthless, they are ready to carry the mantle and begin to pass on what they have learned to the next group coming through the Academy system.

Irish Independent

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