Former Ireland international Dave Kearney to leave Leinster at end of season

Dave Kearney has played 185 times for Leinster
Dave Kearney has played 185 times for Leinster

Former Ireland international Dave Kearney has announced that he will be leaving Leinster at the end of the ongoing campaign.

Even though Kearney's next move is not yet confirmed, it is reported that he will join Major League Rugby side Chicago Hounds, where he is part of the ownership.

"As I reflect on my career, the overriding feeling I get is that of gratitude," Kearney said in a statement.

"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."

The 33-year-old has been with Leinster since his professional rugby debut in 2009 and has played 185 times for the province. He was part of the squad that went on to win two Heineken Champions Cup winning seasons, as well as winning six URC titles and a European Challenge Cup in 2013.

He also represented Ireland in 19 Tests between 2013 and 2019 while winning a Six Nations title in 2014.

"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."