A string of concussions had ruled him out for the season in February
Connacht centre Dave McSharry has been forced to retire from rugby upon medical advice, after suffering a string of concussions.
The 26-year-old met with a neurologist last week, who advised him to call time on his career.
"Although I am devastated that my time as a player has come to an end, I know that it is the only decision available to me after speaking to the specialist," McSharry said in a statement.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a professional rugby player with Connacht Rugby. I arrived here as a 21 year old and Galway became my home over the past five years.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank IRUPA, all the supporters, volunteers, staff, players and my friends and family for their continued support over the years. I would also like to thank all the coaches who have helped me along in my career, from my schoolboy days in Templeogue college, right through to UCD and into the professional set up.
"I leave Connacht Rugby with incredible memories that I will cherish forever and I am hugely proud to be leaving as a PRO12 champion. I wish Pat and the team huge success for the season ahead."
Dave McSharry with Anthony Hegarty and Mathias Marie of Grenoble. Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie.
In February, McSharry was ruled out for the remainder of the season after he suffered a severe concussion in Ireland’s last Six Nations defeat to France.
McSharry joined Connacht in 2011 and made his debut that November in the PRO12 interpro game against Ulster at Ravenhill, a 22-3 defeat for the Westerners. He went on to play 65 times for the province.
"It has been a difficult year for Dave but throughout it all he has remained the consummate professional and has contributed greatly as a valued and popular member of our team," said manager Pat Lam.
"While we are sad to see him moving on from the set up here, Dave's health comes first and it is a reminder to all of us that rugby is only a small part of our life journey.
"Dave has achieved a lot in his career and I know that he will go on to achieve in other aspects of his life now. He will have a support system and friends for life from his time at Connacht Rugby and we wish him well for the future."
McSharry also appeared for the Irish Wolfhounds, earning an Ireland 'A' cap in January 2013 starting against England Saxons at the Sportsground.