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Leinster departee O'Brien retires with 'immediate effect'

By Kim Ekin
Jimmy O'Brien and Conor O'Brien during Leinster Rugby squad training session at UCD in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Now departed Leinster centre Conor O’Brien has announced his retirement from rugby with “immediate effect” due to injury – the province have confirmed.

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O’Brien left the RDS at the end of last season having made a return to training in March, however, he was unable to shake a spate of hamstring injuries that limited his game time over the course of the last season. He has now called time on his career.

The 26-year-old earned 24 Leinster caps since making his debut away to Glasgow Warriors in the 2017/18 season.

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The Mullingar native went on to make 14 appearances for the club the following season, including a Champions Cup debut, scoring six tries in the process. His final game came against the Dragons last October in the URC.

“It’s a very difficult decision to make or more to the point, a very difficult conversation to have with the medics but over the last few years we left no stone unturned in Leinster Rugby to try to get myself back to where I felt I should be,” said O’Brien. “I’d like to wholeheartedly thank my physiotherapist Karl Denvir and the team doctor, Prof John Ryan for all their help.

“There are so many highs as an athlete but definitely there are lows as well and the team off the pitch of doctors and physios are brilliant because they pick us up from our lowest, time and time again. I can’t thank them enough.”

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen said: “The last few years have been hugely frustrating for Conor and it’s very disappointing the way that it has ended for him. I know Conor and our medical team worked incredibly hard and no stone was left unturned but sometimes despite everyone’s best efforts, it doesn’t work out the way we’d all like.

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“Conor burst onto the scene a few years ago and made his debut in Glasgow and he is a credit to Mullingar RFC and his family for how he has represented them all over the last few seasons.

“You could see that pride last week when we visited the club as part of our 12 county tour and they speak glowingly of Conor and the regular visits he makes to the club and how great he is with the next generation.

“It’s great to hear that he has his next move sorted and that is a credit to him and how he kept up his education while playing with Leinster.

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“We wish Conor all the very best for the future and thank him for his contributions to Leinster rugby.”

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