Leinster have confirmed the news announced by RC Narbonne last night, that Mike McCarthy has been forced to retire from the game.
The former Ireland international was set to move to the French Pro D2 club next season but the Irish province has revealed that he is retiring with "immediate effect due to an elbow injury that is worse than first realised."
McCarthy, who has played over 300 pro games in 17 seasons, told leinsterrugby.ie that he is, understandably, upset that will not be quitting on his own terms.
“It’s just sad because I’ve played my last game without really knowing it, without really being able to savour it or take it in. To enjoy it more.
"That decision has been taken away from me and it’s difficult because even random things like I’m a dad and you do think of moments like bringing your daughter onto the pitch for a lap, maybe even with a trophy, and that’s no longer an option so like I said it’s just difficult right now to get my head around.
“For 17 years I’ve been playing the game I love, running around tearing into people and having people tear into you. How do you replace that? You probably can’t but it’s trying to get my head around it all.”
Narbonne's tweet indicated that it was a back injury that ended McCarthy's career but he has cleared up the confusion.
“Unfortunately I had been ruled out for the season anyway with a back and an elbow issue and to be honest the back injury has been dealt with but there was also an elbow injury in training and that injury has left the elbow in a pretty bad way. So it’s come to this. You have to listen to the medics, you have to back their advice.”
The 36-year-old has several medals to show for a great career including a Premiership and Challenge Cup medal won with English club Wasps before stints with Newcastle and Connacht.
But the man who won 19 international caps with Ireland seems to remember more fondly his days in green and blue.
“I look back on it and my first cap in Murrayfield with Ireland stands out but it wasn’t so much the cap it was more about having my wife and my mum there.
"Two people that have supported me so much so it felt like I was running out for them and representing all that we had come through. A great day.
“I suppose another that stands out is winning the PRO12 in the RDS with Leinster in my first season.
"You couldn’t have asked for a better day for rugby, blue skies, a full RDS and we put on a complete performance against a really good Glasgow team.