Shane O'Leary (born 12 March 1993) is an Irish-born professional rugby union player. He can play at centre or at fly-half. O'Leary currently plays for Irish provincial side Connacht in the Pro12. O'Leary is of Canadian descent through his mother and has represented Canada at under-age level, playing for the Canada Under-20 team at the 2013 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy. O'Leary is still eligible to play for Ireland however, as he has yet to play at either full or 'A' level for Canada.
Born in Cork, O'Leary grew up in Tipperary. He received his secondary education at the community college in Killaloe. In his youth he played for the Scariff rugby team and made the Munster u18 clubs side while a member there and later moved to Young Munster. While at Young Munster, O'Leary was part of the Munster Rugby under-age set up.
Shane's father Declan is coaching services manager with Coaching Ireland and works with a wide variety of sporting organisations across Ireland in improving coaching standards
Ahead of the 2013–14 season O'Leary moved to French side Grenoble in the Top 14, joining the team's academy. O'Leary had previously worked with Grenoble skills coach Mike Prendergast, who gave him his debut at Young Munster. Like O'Leary, Predergast was in his first season at the French club. O'Leary had also been assisted by Rugby Canada in his move to France, as the union had helped him to distribute information on himself and his availability to clubs around Europe in an attempt to break into professional rugby. Prendergast and O'Leary made up part a significant Irish contingent for the team, along with scrum-half James Hart, forwards coach Bernard Jackman and the captain Andrew Farley, an Australian-born former Ireland A player.
O'Leary impressed in the academy and was handed a debut for the senior side in the 2013–14 European Challenge Cup, coming on as a replacement against Bayonne on 10 October 2013. O'Leary made four further appearances, playing in the home and away games with London Wasps and Viadana. He was a replacement in all but one of these appearances, starting away to Wasps.
It was announced in May 2014 that O'Leary would be returning to Ireland for the 2014–15 season. He signed for the provincial side Connacht, joining on a one-year deal.
Qualified to play for Canada through his mother who was born in New Brunswick, O'Leary contacted Mike Shelley of Rugby Canada to inform the union of his eligibility after he was overlooked for the Ireland Under 20 team.
O'Leary was chosen in the Canadian Under 20 squad for the 2013 IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy. The faith in O'Leary was rewarded as he scored 45 points, finishing as the tournament's top scorer as Canada made it to the final, where they were beaten by the Italian Under 20s.