Rugby

Former Irish Underage International Called Up To Italy Squad Ahead Of Summer Tour

Former Irish Underage International Called Up To Italy Squad Ahead Of Summer Tour

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.

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.

Advertisement

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.

SEE ALSO: Girvan Dempsey Linked With Leinster Exit In Today's French Press

Gavan Casey
Article written by
Former handwriting champion. Was violently bitten by a pelican at Fota Wildlife Park in 2001.

You may also like