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'Professional sport is ruthless': Zack McCall issues heartfelt statement after Ulster release confirmed


Zack McCall in action for Ballynahinch.

Zack McCall in action for Ballynahinch.

©Matt Mackey - Presseye.com

Zack McCall in action for Ballynahinch.

Zack McCall says he's determined to 'shine a light' on the plight of professional sportsmen on the fringes of squads after his Ulster departure was confirmed on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old was one of the three players that Ulster Rugby revealed would be moving on ahead of the 20/21 campaign, along with Clive Ross and Angus Kernohan.

Hooker McCall had been awarded his first senior contract with the province after graduating from the Abbey Insurance Academy last summer but never made a first team appearance.

He had captained the Ulster A team and played a big part in Ballynahinch's run to the All Ireland Division 1B title.

However, his time at his native province has now come to an end and McCall released a statement on Twitter, highlighting the mental impact that sport at the highest level can have.

"I want to shine a light for the guys that are on the fringes and remind others it's not always rainbows and butterflies," he said.

"Professional sport is ruthless and can take its toll on your mental health just as much as your physical health.

"Just remember these guys have aspirations and dreams too so respect the little guy and be king, not just in rugby but in all aspects on life.

"And if you are the little guy, back yourself, throw everything at it and have no regrets. That's what I'm going to do."

McCall played his school rugby with Wallace HS and represented Ireland in the 2015 Under 20 World Rugby Championship.

Of course, he was part of the Ulster squad alongside older brother Kyle.

"I have dedicated my life to Rugby in Ulster, I've worn every jersey with pride, worn my heart on my sleeve and tried to give 100% even in the darkest of times," he said.

Belfast Telegraph