Leinster rugby player Nick McCarthy has come out as gay, revealing that he contemplated quitting professional football because of his sexuality. 

The scrumhalf paid tribute to Australian footballer and trailblazer Josh Cavallo for inspiring him to share his sexuality with the public and hopes that this will in turn inspire others to do the same. 

McCarthy has 18 caps as an Ireland under-20s player and was captain for the side in 2015. Having come out to coaches Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster in November last year before telling his teammates in January, McCarthy thanked his coaches for the support that they had provided him during this process. 

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The experience since opening up has been “extremely positive”, McCarthy said. 

‘I Didn’t Think I Could Come Out While Playing Rugby’

The Irish footballer told Leinster’s website of the struggle that he felt when he was still closeted saying, “I struggled with coming out for a while and it was starting to impact on me and my happiness, so it was the right decision.”

He spoke of the struggles of coming out while still being active in the sporting field as a professional athlete, adding “It affected me so much that I agonised over my future and contemplated walking away from rugby altogether, because I just didn’t think I could come out while playing rugby.” 

These fears were quelled when he looked to other athletes coming out, like Carl Nassib, Josh Cavallo and fellow Leinster teammate Jack Dunne who came out as bisexual last year. 

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“I’ve had good conversations with each of them and they’ve been hugely encouraging. In turn, I feel if I can now help others come out in professional sport or in their everyday lives and make being gay more normal and not a thing to be worried about, then that is a positive”, McCarthy said. 

Team Will Look Out For Nick McCarthy, Says Captain

Leinster and Ireland captain Johnny Sexton praised McCarthy and Dunne for their courage, stating that they would be role models for others. 

“We talk about looking after our brothers a lot in here and the last few months has been about that, looking out for Nick. And that will continue,” Sexton said. The captain vowed that the squad will ‘look out’ for McCarthy and continue to support his journey. 

McCarthy said that he felt a need to completely accept his sexuality before addressing it with others. 

 “I have realised that anyone who cares about you, just wants you to be happy,” he said. 

The Irish footballer’s public revelation follows the coming out of top Scottish referees Craig Napier and Lloyd Wilson earlier this month. 



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