Connacht Rugby and the IRFU have announced that centre Dave McSharry has been forced to retire from professional rugby due to a concussion injury and following a review with a neurologist last week where he was advised to retire.
McSharry, who has informed his team mates of the decision, said:
“Although I am devastated that my time as a player has come to an end, I know that it is the only decision available to me after speaking to the specialist. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a professional rugby player with Connacht Rugby. I arrived here as a 21 year old and Galway became my home over the past five years.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank IRUPA, all the supporters, volunteers, staff, players and my friends and family for their continued support over the years. I would also like to thank all the coaches who have helped me along in my career, from my schoolboy days in Templeogue college, right through to UCD and into the professional set up.
“I leave Connacht Rugby with incredible memories that I will cherish forever and I am hugely proud to be leaving as a PRO12 champion. I wish Pat and the team huge success for the season ahead.”
McSharry joined Connacht in 2011 and made his debut that November in the PRO12 interpro game against Ulster at Ravenhill. He quickly established himself an exceptional ball carrier and a key component in Connacht’s defensive line. He went on to play 65 times for the province and was part of some memorable victories including the Heineken Cup win away to Toulouse in December 2013.
He earned an Ireland ‘A’ cap in January 2013 starting for the Wolfhounds side that played England Saxons at the Sportsground. A week later, he received a call up to the Ireland Six Nations training squad but injury restricted his international progress that season.
Connacht Rugby Head Coach Pat Lam praised Dave and his career saying:
“It has been a difficult year for Dave but throughout it all he has remained the consummate professional and has contributed greatly as a valued and popular member of our team. While we are sad to see him moving on from the set up here, Dave’s health comes first and it is a reminder to all of us that rugby is only a small part of our life journey.
“Dave has achieved a lot in his career and I know that he will go on to achieve in other aspects of his life now. He will have a support system and friends for life from his time at Connacht Rugby and we wish him well for the future.”