Cinderella stories aren't supposed to have an unhappy ending.

In 2016, Barry Daly was plucked from the AIL by Leinster at the relatively mature age of 23 and was the Guinness Pro 14's top try-scorer (13) in the 2017-18 campaign.

The Dubliner trained with the Irish squad and looked destined for big things but then injured his knee in the first game of the following season and played just eight games since.

Having failed to make an appearance this season, the province confirmed Daly's retirement on Monday. 

"I always felt I had slipped through the cracks a bit, not getting a contract after my time in the underage system," he told RTÉ Sport's Darren Frehill of his late breakthrough.

"It had been a few years and I had kind of made my peace with it. I was happy out working away, training and playing with my mates in the AIL.

"It was a perfect storm of circumstances that came together that gave me the chance to play for Leinster.

"Noel McNamara was coaching UCD, we were all playing well as a team, I was playing well and got picked up by the Irish 7s as well. They were training me like I had never been trained before. I was in the best shape I had ever been in and Leinster just came calling.

"They were looking for a winger and it was right place, right time. It feels like a long time ago but it has been a great four years."

Daly is satisfied that he tried everything he could to get back on the pitch but in the end the injuries, combined with the impact of the coronavirus on the season, made the decision for him.

A broken collarbone sustained while "probably trying too hard" to touch down the ball in the final game of the 2018/19 season against Ulster kept him out before the cartilage in his knee again gave way last Autumn.

"I can't say enough good stuff about the way the Leinster lads look after you in terms of getting your rehab done and getting you prepared to play," he said.

"But even with all the work that we put in, the knee just wasn’t quite right and I was kind of struggling with it between games.

"It's never an easy decision to give up the game I’ve wanted to play since I was a little kid, and for the team I’ve always wanted to play for, but the way things happened this year, once I got that (second) knee operation I knew it might be tough to get to where I wanted to get to and I started planning for post-rugby stuff."

'Post-rugby' stuff is an understated way to describe Daly's next adventure, a two-year scholarship to study for an MBA at Boston College in the US.

"Ella McCabe (Rugby Players Ireland player development officer) really pushed me to look at stuff I wouldn't have looked at without her and put me on to his scholarship idea.

"When I saw it I knew I had to at least throw my hat at it. I luckily got it and it's an incredible opportunity.

"It was difficult to say 'I'm done' but I was fairly happy with my decision in that I have something I’m excited about to move on to."