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Leinster’s Eoin O’Malley has been forced to retire from rugby at the age of 25 due to a long-term knee injury.
Considered at one stage as a front runner to replace Brian O’Driscoll at provincial and international level, the former Old Belvedere schools player played 54 games for Leinster and was called into an extended Ireland panel for the Six Nations campaign in 2012.
He made his Leinster debut against the Newport Gwent Dragons in December 2009 and played in seven Heineken Cup games, scoring three tries.
Last season O’Malley’s injury restricted him to just five appearances and after consulting medical teams in Ireland, Europe and America, he has decided to retire from the game.
Commenting on the news Eoin O’Malley said: “It is obviously an incredibly tough reality that I am still trying to come to terms with,” said O’Malley in a press statement released by Leinster Rugby.
“After exhausting all options I am devastated to be retiring from the game. But I am so fortunate to have such a great support base. I would like to say a very special thank you to my family, girlfriend, friends and Leinster team-mates who have been so supportive -–especially over the last few months.
“I owe an awful lot to my team-mates and all of the staff at Leinster. Naturally, as with any long term injury, you inevitably end up spending a lot of time with the physiotherapists, the strength and conditioning coaches and the doctors, so I would like to say a particular thank you to them.
“I would also like to strongly thank Michael Cheika, Joe Schmidt and all of the great coaches I’ve played under for their support since my schooldays.
“At the age of 25, it is surreal to be reflecting on your career, especially when I hoped there were many more years ahead for me. Having had a bit of time to reflect on this day coming I look back with real pride; firstly by getting into the Leinster Academy and then progressing up the ranks to a Leinster squad who would go on to have such a successful number of years.
“To have played a small part in my home province’s success is something I dreamt about since I was a child and it will always mean an enormous amount to me. It was always a great honour to pull on the Leinster jersey and they are memories I will never forget.”
Paying tribute to O’Malley, Leinster team manager Guy Easterby said: “First and foremost, Eoin’s retirement is a significant loss to the squad because not only is he a superb player with a huge amount of talent he is also a great bloke who is well respected by both his fellow players and all the staff here at Leinster Rugby.
“He has been unfortunate in having a couple of serious injuries during his career but he has always shown the utmost professionalism and he has been a real example to all of the players.
“It is sad that a player with so much potential has to end his career at this point, but he does so with our sincere thanks for his contribution to Leinster’s success. A hugely popular man, he can look back on his career with great pride and we wish him well with the next chapter in his life.”
*Article Source: The Irish Times