Leinster second row Mike McCarthy is forced to retire from rugby with an elbow injury
Leinster second row Mike McCarthy has been forced to retire because of an elbow injury.
The lock, 35, was supposed to join Narbonne in France in the summer, ending a four-year stint with Leinster.
He picked up a season-ending injury in a Pro12 match against the Scarlets in March, but the problem turned out to be more serious than first thought.
"It's just sad because I played my last game without knowing it, that decision was taken away from me," he said.
London-born McCarthy had two spells with Connacht before joining Leinster in 2013.
He made his international debut in 2011 and earned 19 caps for Ireland.
McCarthy said: "Unfortunately I had been ruled out for the season anyway with a back and an elbow issue, but there was also an elbow injury in training, and that injury has left the elbow in a pretty bad way.
"I was massively excited to go [Narbonne]. It's a beautiful part of France to live, down by the south coast, and and I was looking forward to contributing on the field over the next two seasons.
"But you have to listen to the medics, you have to back their advice."