Darragh Fanning to leave Leinster at the end of the month

The 29-year-old is "to concentrate on other opportunities away from the rugby field"

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Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Leinster Rugby have confirmed that St Mary's winger Darragh Fanning will be released from his contract at the end of the month to allow him to concentrate on other opportunities away from the rugby field.

Commenting on the decision, Leinster Rugby Head Coach Leo Cullen said, "Darragh has made a significant contribution during his time here with Leinster and obviously his contribution to the Pro12 win in 2014 and in helping us reach a Champions Cup semi-final last season will not be forgotten.

"Darragh came from St Mary's on trial as a 27 year old and has grabbed that chance with both hands. He has though found an interest outside of rugby that he wishes to now pursue with all his energy and we respect those wishes."

"Everyone in Leinster Rugby wishes Darragh the very best of luck with his future and thank him for his contribution on and off the field."

Leinster's Darragh Fanning scores a try against Castres in the 2015 European Champions Cup. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

29-year-old Fanning who has played 34 times for Leinster scoring seven tries, made his debut in September 2013 against the Scarlets in the Pro12. He would go on to play a further 13 games in the league that season as Leinster won the title against the Glasgow Warriors in the RDS. He finished as joint top try scorer for Leinster last season with six tries to his name including three in the Champions Cup.

Fanning said, "This wasn't an easy decision to walk away from a sport and a job that I love but I think the timing is right and I want to give everything I have to the next chapter in my life."

"Running out at the RDS in front of the home support is something that I will miss hugely and I am not walking away from it lightly. The Leinster supporters have always been very good to me and I will look back with great memories on a great two and a half years playing for them."

"I'd like to thank everyone at Leinster Rugby for their support over the last number of years and for their understanding over the last few weeks as I came to a decision. But I am very excited about what's in store and I can't wait to get started."

Fanning's last opportunity to play for the province will come this weekend in Galway as Leinster play Connacht on Saturday evening. The 29-year-old began his professional career with the Westerners in 2010.