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'Not the end I hoped for': Dan Leavy retires with immediate effect

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ireland and Leinster back-rower Dan Leavy has retired from the game with immediate effect at the age of just 27. The forward helped his country win the 2018 Six Nations Grand Slam during his eleven-cap Test career while also playing 79 times for his province since an October 2014 debut. It was March 2019, in a Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final versus Ulster, when Leavy suffered his significant knee injury and despite a return to play since then, he has now called it quits three years after the injury.

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I have done everything I can to come back from the knee injury I suffered in 2019 but unfortunately I can’t do any more or ask any more of my body. I’d like to thank Andy Williams, my surgeon, and Karl Denvir, my physio in Leinster, for all that they have done for me in the years since then,” said Leavy to the Leinster website.

“I can take solace from the fact that I tried everything over the last three years. From the early days in Old Belvedere to my time in St Michael’s College, all I wanted was to pull on a Leinster Rugby jersey. And then when you achieve that, it’s an Ireland jersey. I am very proud of all that I achieved in my short time as a professional.

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“Some amazing highs with my brothers in blue and in green and I am beyond grateful for those days and those moments especially the highs of 2018 in Bilbao, the Aviva Stadium and Twickenham.

“More than that I am proud of how I carried myself, in particular over the last few years, and I hope I represented my club, my country, my family and friends to the best of my abilities in those years. I am beyond grateful to them all for their support and in particular to my mum and dad, Eilish and Donal, my sister, Rachel, and my brother, Adam.

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“I am also very grateful to Leo Cullen. Leo has been an unbelievable support to me over the last few years. On the field, and off, and I cannot thank him enough. Not many people get to enjoy and experience what I have over the last ten years representing my school, my club and my country. This is not the end I had hoped for, but as I look back, at the highs and the lows, they have all been shared with the best teammates, family and friends around me, and what more could I ask for?”

Leavy played 16 times for Leinster since his October 2020 comeback outing versus Zebre but his last match came against Ulster last month and he now won’t play again. Leinster boss Cullen added: “Dan was a player earmarked from an early age as a special talent and everyone could see that, particularly in those few years in and around 2017, 2018 and 2019, just how dynamic and destructive a player he could be with Leinster and with Ireland where he went on to achieve unprecedented success at that time.

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“While the public have seen very little of Dan since his injury, we have seen plenty of him in here and we have seen the same determination, character and drive that marked him out on the pitch as one of the best. Dan has also received incredible support from his family and all the medical staff here along the difficult path of trying to return to playing.

“Speaking on behalf of the support staff here at Leinster it has been a pleasure and privilege to have worked with Dan. He always brought such a positive energy to the group and we will all miss him dearly but would like to acknowledge the significant contribution he has made to the team during his time here.

“Talking to him, Dan is very appreciative of the times he has enjoyed in here with Leinster but now, it’s about us all supporting him as best we can as he starts that next stage in his life. I have no doubt that he will apply himself with the same determination that we have seen since he first pulled on a Leinster jersey in 2014 and that he will make a success of himself away from the rugby fields. We wish him well and I hope he knows that there will always be a warm welcome for him here in UCD or down the road at the RDS.”

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