Former Leinster starlet and Ireland under-20 international Ian McKinley has been called up to Italy's training squad ahead of their summer tour.
Conor O'Shea's Azzurri face Scotland, Fiji and Australia this summer, and the 27-year-old Dubliner has been named in the Italians' 44-man squad, which will be cut down to 31 on May 8th.
— Italrugby (@Federugby) May 2, 2017
The fly-half was forced to retire from rugby after an incident during an AIL game back in 2011, in which his teammate stood on his eye. Despite regaining 70% of his vision following a series of important and painful surgeries, and captaining Ireland under-20s in the Junior World Championship, McKinley would later complain of blurred vision during a development match for Leinster. His playing career was over, and he eventually went blind in his left eye while stepping out of a restaurant in Galway.
In March 2014, an all-clear from the IRB regarding protective goggles saw the former UCD man make his comeback for Italian Serie C side Leonorso. His superb performances earned him a move to Viadana just months later, before PRO12 outfit Treviso came calling last year. There was a beautiful irony to McKinley's return to the big time, in that the former Leinster 10's crowning moment to that point had been a devastating display in provincial colours versus his current club.
He also represented the Barbarians in 2015, and is now vying for a place in Conor O'Shea's Italian setup. He will have a week to impress his compatriot before O'Shea shaves his squad for their June tour.