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20th Jun 2022

Irish rugby star Nick McCarthy on coming out to his Leinster teammates

Patrick McCarry

“I needed to accept being gay myself before I could address it with others.”

Leinster star Nick McCarthy has publicly come out, through his club, as being gay. The scrumhalf is hopeful that his coming out will act as a positive for others and he paid tribute to his teammates and all at the club for being so supportive.

The 27-year-old, who played 12 times for Leinster and is now in his second stint with his home province, has given an in-depth interview with his club’s media manager Marcus Ó Buachalla.

McCarthy says he agonised over telling people he was gay, and even considered quitting rugby, but a discussion with coaches Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster, last November, gave him great encouragement.

“I came out to my teammates in January and I was obviously pretty nervous about doing so, but I’m really happy that I did it,” he said. “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.”

On that Monday morning meeting, in January, when he came out to his Leinster teammates, McCarthy said:

“I only made a quick announcement. But I just remember the room erupting! They were all delighted for me and it was immediately a weight off my shoulders.

I felt they understood my situation. It’s hard to perform at your best when you are carrying something, anything, and that’s the same for all the lads. For me it was my sexuality, for others it could be stuff at home, or studies or whatever.”

Nick McCarthy is tackled by Seán Cronin and Devin Toner during Leinster Rugby squad training. (Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile)

‘I’m a private person’ – Nick McCarthy

Nick McCarthy says he is immensely grateful to his friends, family and teammates for their support, as well as those at Leinster and Rugby Players Ireland that he sounded out.

“I’m a private person so I was unsure about coming out publicly,” he admitted.

“But looking at Carl Nassib (American Football player) or Josh Cavallo (Australian soccer player) coming out and Jack Dunne here in Leinster and how he spoke publicly last year about his bisexuality, has helped me a lot. I’ve had good conversations with each of them and they’ve been hugely encouraging.”

The 27-year-old, who previously had a playing stint with Munster and has played for Ireland U20s, hopes his publicly coming out can help others struggling to do likewise.

“If one other person, one other kid, keeps playing their sport because they see a Leinster Rugby player has come out and is accepted, that would be a great outcome.”

McCarthy’s decision to speak publicly about his sexuality has already been praised by Tánaiste of Ireland, Leo Varadkar:

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