Leinster winger Barry Daly has retired from playing with immediate effect following two injury-hampered years, the 27-year-old deciding to travel to the United States to continue his education with a masters in business at Boston College.
Daly’s fortunes in the pro ranks were always viewed with curiosity in Ireland as rather than emerging from the famed Leinster academy, he made the breakthrough via the amateur All-Ireland club league where his try-scoring consistency with UCD secured him a trial with Leo Cullen’s side.
He went on to score 19 tries in 36 appearances and was even called up to Ireland training, but he has now deiced to step away from the game after his initial momentum was stalled in recent years through injury.
Explaining his decision on the Leinster club website, Daly said: “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.
“I had given up on the rugby dream,” he added, reflecting on his circuitous route into the professional ranks. “I decided to enjoy playing in the AIL with UCD. 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.”
It’s 25 years ago today since the last Ireland team of the amateur era played. Beaten in the World Cup quarter-finals by France, RugbyPass takes a step back in time to learn what became of these Irish players in the professional era…
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) June 10, 2020
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