Former Leinster & Ireland U-20 Outhalf Called Into Conor O’Shea’s Italy Squad

What a remarkable story.

Former Leinster and Ireland U-20 outhalf Ian McKinley has been called into Italy’s training squad ahead of their June Test series by head coach Conor O’Shea.

The 27-year-old was forced to retire from professional rugby in 2011 after losing the sight in his left eye following a training ground accident. He showed great promise before the incident, making his debut for Leinster under Joe Schmidt, earning 6 caps.

With his playing career all but over, McKinley travelled to Italy to take up a coaching role, but returned to the playing field thanks to specially designed rugby goggles that protect his working eye. Following a stint in the lower tiers of Italian rugby, McKinley earned a contract with Zebre, before moving to Treviso at the start of this season.

Having qualified on residency grounds, McKinley’s impressive form has now earned him a call-up to Conor O’Shea’s latest Italy squad as well as a contract extension wit the PRO12 outfit. He must now work towards being retained when the squad is reduced from 44 to 31 for the Tests against Scotland, Fiji and Australia in June.

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