Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global

Watch: RugbyPass Exceptional Stories - Ian McKinley

By RugbyPass

It’s now roughly eight years since the accident that led to Ian McKinley losing the sight in his left eye.


In a freak accident, a stray boot from a fellow teammate perforated his left eye while playing a club match in 2010 for University College Dublin, leaving him partially blind in that eye.

The injury would be a career-ending one for 99.9% of professional athletes but not for McKinley.

The flyhalf retired briefly in 2011 after the shock realisation that his retina had detached, rendering him completely blind in his left eye.

He resumed his career, with the aid of protective goggles for Rugby Viadana in Italy, a semi-professional side playing in the Italian Eccellenza.

Video Spacer

In 2015, he would make his return to the Pro12, when Zebre needed cover at flyhalf during the World Cup.

McKinley would play a further two times for Zebre throughout the course of that season, one of those fixtures was against his previous team, Leinster.

The following season he earned a contract with Benetton Treviso, where some standout performances saw the Dubliner force his way into the international setup for the 2017 November Internationals.


McKinley would make his international bow against Fiji, coming off the bench to seal the game with a penalty for the Azzurri.

McKinley has embraced his role as an ambassador for the visually impaired but doesn’t want it to define him.

“I didn’t sign up to be a poster boy,” said McKinley.

“I want people to look beyond the goggles – that goes for coaches as well.”

“I think they do: if I make a mistake I get the same treatment as other players.” ”

“If I do something well, I get the same praise.”

Video Spacer

Join free



Trending on RugbyPass


Be the first to comment...

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

Jon 2 hours ago
How Maro Itoje terrorised the All Blacks lineout

Yeah England were much smarter, they put their much vaster experience to use in both the scrum (bending/not taking hit) and lineout (Itoje early sacks) law vagaries. Really though, I know what is there, I’m more worried about Englands locks. We only got to see Itoje and Martin, right? Depth allround in the England camp was probably the difference in the series and the drop off when Itoje reached his minutes limit for the season (it was like the plug was pulled from the charger) was up there with keeping Sexton on the park in that quarter final. What happened there? You have a lot of watching hours experience with locks come blindsides Nick, especially with a typical Australian player make up, have you see a six the size of Barrett absolutely dominate the position and his opposition? I can easily see Scott, and even Martin for that matter, moving to the blindside and playing like Tadgh Beirne with the amount of top locks we have coming through to partner Patrick. Still with the English mindset, because despite running the best All Black team I’ve seen in a long time close, they do need to find improvement, and although I thought they had a lot of good performances from their 7’s (over the years), I really like the prospect of Cunningham-South in his 8 spot and Earl on the open. Can you see Martin as mobile enough to take over Lawes? I absolutely loved his aggression when Jordie ran upto him to try and grab the ball. That alone is enough reason for me to try him there.

34 Go to comments
FEATURE Diego Ardao: Doctor, guitarist and Uruguay's Olympic talisman Diego Ardao: Doctor, guitarist and Uruguay's Olympic talisman