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‘It’s Been An Incredible Journey’ – Kearney On Playing For Leinster And Ireland

‘It’s Been An Incredible Journey’ – Kearney On Playing For Leinster And Ireland

Louth man Dave Kearney dives over to score a try for Leinster against Glasgow Warriors earlier in the season ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

In a statement issued this afternoon, it has been confirmed that Dave Kearney will leave Leinster at the end of the current season.

Kearney, who turns 34 next month, has won 185 caps for Leinster since his debut against the Dragons back in May 2009, and has also represented Ireland on 19 occasions.

He has scored 55 tries in blue and a further five tries for his country, while winning the Heineken Champions Cup, Amlin Challenge Cup and six PRO12/14 trophies.

Kearney started his rugby with Dundalk RFC and represented Lansdowne FC in the All-Ireland League. Together with brother Rob, he was part of Ireland’s 2014 Six Nations title-winning team and part of the Rugby World Cup squad the following year.

Everyone in Leinster and Irish Rugby wishes Dave, and Becca, the very best with his future and their future.

Dave Kearney Statement:

It’s been nearly 14 years to the day since I first had the privilege of wearing the Leinster Rugby jersey for the first time. As I reflect on my career, the overriding feeling I get is that of gratitude.

Walking through the doors of Leinster rugby to join the Academy in 2008, I never could have dreamt I’d still be here almost 15 years on.

To have had such a long career playing for the team I grew up supporting, as well as representing my country, has been a dream come true.

It’s been an incredible journey, filled with some of the most special moments of my life, ones that I’ll cherish deeply. There have been plenty of challenges along the way, ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’m grateful for all the people that made this possible, in particular, my parents. To mum and dad, nobody has felt the highs and lows of professional sport more than you.

Thank you so much for your unwavering support and dedication to me through my time here. You’ve both always been there for me and sacrificed so much in order for me to do what I’ve done.

To my siblings Richard and Sara thank you also for your love and support. You’ve followed me all over the world in blue and in green, and having you guys there to celebrate and share these great days with me has made them even more special.

To Rob, you’ve minded me every step of the way, from my first day in Leinster right until this point. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have reached today without you by my side.

Being able to share the pitch with you for both Leinster and Ireland have been the most memorable moments of my life. To Becca, thank you for all your sacrifices and support. I can’t wait for our next chapter together.

To my Leinster family, thank you. To all the staff and coaches I’ve worked with, in particular, Michael Cheika who gave me my first cap, Joe Schmidt, Matt O’Connor, Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster. Thank you for always believing in me.

To all the players I have had the honour of sharing the pitch with, thanks to each of you.

You have all helped me along the way in some shape or form and made me a better player. I’ve built some amazing relationships along the way, ones that I’ll have for the rest of my life.

Thanks to all in Dundalk RFC for your support, the place where I first picked up a rugby ball. To all the people and coaches I’ve worked with in Clongowes Wood College and Lansdowne FC, you also played a huge part in helping me grow and develop both as a player and person.

To all the strength and conditioning staff, the doctors and physios, thank you. You have all helped me through some tough periods of my career. You have all worked incredibly hard to keep me on the pitch, and I’ll always be very grateful for that.

Lastly to all the Leinster fans, thank you for your constant support and encouragement throughout my time here. We as players are truly blessed to have you have you as our supporters.

I’ll miss the feeling of running out to a packed RDS or Aviva (Stadium) the most. In the meantime, there is still plenty more to be done.

I’m going to enjoy every moment I have during my last few weeks as Leinster a player, and I’m going to do all I can to help this team finish the season on a high.