Saturday 21 April 2018

Dublin-born out-half McKinley set for Italy debut

Dublin-born Ian McKinley will make his international debut for Italy. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Dublin-born Ian McKinley will make his international debut for Italy. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ian McKinley will take the latest step in his remarkable rugby journey when he makes his international debut for Italy off the bench against Fiji tomorrow.

The 27-year-old Dubliner, who came through the Leinster system and made six appearances for the senior team as well as lining out for the Ireland U-20s nine times, lost the sight in his left eye when a stray boot caught him in the face during a club game.

The incident, which occurred six years ago, left McKinley having to retire at 21 but after campaigning tirelessly to be allowed to wear protective goggles, he is set to be handed his chance on the international stage with Italy.

McKinley moved to his adopted country in 2014 and qualifies to play for the Italians on World Rugby's three-year residency rule.

The out-half has been in fine form for Treviso this season and his call-up to the national side, who are coached by Conor O'Shea, is fully deserved.

left pod.jpg

Subscribe to The Left Wing, Independent.ie's Rugby podcast, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.

Listen and subscribe to The Left Wing on iTunes and Soundcloud

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport