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Former Leinster wing Barry Daly announces retirement from professional rugby

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22 February 2019; Barry Daly of Leinster during the Guinness PRO14 Round 16 match between Leinster and Southern Kings at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

22 February 2019; Barry Daly of Leinster during the Guinness PRO14 Round 16 match between Leinster and Southern Kings at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

22 February 2019; Barry Daly of Leinster during the Guinness PRO14 Round 16 match between Leinster and Southern Kings at the RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Former Leinster wing Barry Daly has announced his retirement from rugby to pursue educational opportunities.

The 27-year-old departed the province at the end of June when his contract expired and has opted to take up a Masters at Boston College in America, bringing his days in professional rugby to an end.

The former Gonzaga College student scored 19 tries in 36 appearances for Leinster, and was the team's top try-scorer in the double-winning campaign of 2017/18.

Speaking to Leinsterrugby.ie, Daly said of his decision: "It was a combination of things, the knee, two years of injuries, I got the opportunity to study abroad. I’ve got a scholarship to study in Boston for two years, I’m doing an MBA there.

"I didn’t really know for sure until towards the end of my injury rehab. I was coming back, looking to play and the whole pandemic was just kicking off then.

"Thankfully, Ella McCabe (Rugby Players Ireland) had been on my case hard the last couple of years with all the injury time to prepare for after rugby and she put me on to this scholarship.

"I actually got that fairly shortly after the whole lockdown kicked off so that was pretty much the decision made for me. I wasn’t able to play for Leinster anymore and I’d gotten this incredible opportunity to go and study in Boston College."

After missing out on a place in the Leinster academy, Daly was working in KPMG when an opportunity came up for a one-month trial. The wing impressed and didn't look back, ultimately getting a call-up to participate in Ireland camp under Joe Schmidt in 2018.

"Pretty much everyone when they come up, they think that they’re good enough and I was the same," Daly said.

"I had given up on the rugby dream and I had decided to enjoy playing in the AIL with UCD. I think the main catalyst to get me back going was when Noel McNamara started coaching in UCD. We had an incredible team that year, 12 out of the 15 from that team are now pro players or something like that.

"But Noel really lit the fire back under me, to get back going, and actually try and love the game again. Then I got the chance with Leinster to go on trial for a month, that feels like a very long time ago now but it was an incredible experience. I was always so thankful that I got to see both sides of the coin of the disappointment of being turned down and having to face the real world and also getting the second chance."

Online Editors