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As Rainey Old Boys look forward  to a return to action on Saturday week, they have made an interesting, indeed remarkable addition to their coaching team.  Dubliner Ian McKinley showed tremendous fortitude to make a comeback from a serious injury and become an Italian international.  Though only 30 years old, he is now looking to make an impact as a coach, having developed a great interest in this aspect of the game during his time in Italy.


Capped at U20 level, the Lansdowne lad actually played at Hatrick Park twelve years ago when top flight side UCD came north for a Senior Cup tie.  He was impressed with the place at that stage.  After six appearances for Leinster, he sustained a horrible injury, a stray boot causing him to lose sight of an eye.


After moving to Italy, he made a comeback, using specially manufactured goggles to protect his other eye.  He was later snapped up by top senior club Benetton Treviso and on becoming eligible to be selected for Italy, Conor O' Shea brought him into the squad.  He won the first of his nine caps against Fiji in 2017 and played against Ireland at the Aviva last year, but missed out on World Cup selection.


The pandemic persuaded Ian to return home.  Now resident in Bellaghy, his wife's homeplace, and living not far from Magherafelt, he chose to have a look at the set up now.  And following a chat with head coach John Andrews, he will come in as backs coach and also do some coaching with John at Ballymena Academy.