Posts Tagged ‘ Dave Kearney ’

European Rugby – Snowball’s Chance In Hell?

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To say that Leinster will define their season this Sunday is somewhat of an understatement. Pro 12 involvement on the line, consecutive defeats worse than anything in the last decade and a general air of division amongst their fans; this trip to Toulon didn’t need added importance but it has it now.

Matt O’Connor fielded 12 changes in the Pro 12 in an effort to distribute game time ahead of playing a team absolutely spoiled for choice. It wasn’t entirely illogical but what it means is that Leinster are essentially out of the league and this European Cup is all that remains to sign off in some style on a mixed 14/15 season. The obvious backlash here is that they’ve put more pressure on a game that really didn’t need anymore but for the sake of optimism let’s look at it from another angle – Leinster are head first throwing all of their weight into this weekend. Continue reading

European Rugby – And Then There Was One

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Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

Can anyone else remember the last time only one Irish team managed to make the European knockouts? Eleven years ago, back when Ulster still couldn’t find a way out and Leinster lost out to Stade Francais and Munster were the sole hope in the Quarter Finals. Is it a reflection on the Irish club game that only Leinster have progressed or is it the new format living up to its name and providing a greater challenge to the Celts? Hard to say in this inaugural year but the fact is there to see that only one province from the back to back Six Nations champion country is present this weekend. Pity.
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Rabo Direct Pro 12: The Leinster-Munster Juggernaut Returns

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Ah its back again. Post-Six Nations hangovers are worse when you’re successful, no doubt about that. There’s little to win in the muddling Rabo games that arise between the end of the Six Nations and the Heineken Cup resumption. But then along comes the colossus, the manly Munstermen versus the Leinster ladyboys, a fixture that defies all logic and at times elevates above European standard. Ah yes, it’s good to be back.
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Six Nations-Ireland Still Lead The Charge, But With New Contenders

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All of a sudden, the competition is back on. After round three of the Six Nations, four teams now stand a realistic shot at the title. The Slam is gone, and only England remain contenders for the Triple Crown, but how long has it been since a loss for Ireland at the half way point wasn’t the death of their chances?

It barely felt like a loss, even post match Joe Schmidt and Paul O’Connell could have been exceptionally more downbeat than they were. Ireland’s more than comfortable points difference means that though the Slam is gone they’re still hot favourites for the trophy. They lost some of their composure on Saturday, a notable example being the eighty minute uncharacteristic off day from Sexton, but still it was a game won and lost by the smallest of margins, and England were on fire. Continue reading

Irish Rugby: One Direction,Right Direction

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It was a pleasure to be at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday to witness Ireland versus Wales. A major banana skin lay in wait for Joe Schmidt’s rejuvenated side but they stepped over it and did it with some style. There were some huge performances all over the park from the Irish team but as an overall package, they left Wales frustrated and confused. Tactically, Schmidt again got it right. The Welsh were left with no room to run, their big ball carrying backs never got up speed when accepting a pass, they were met with a line of green, each and every time they attempted to make progress. Their frustration eventually boiled over after Paddy Jackson walked through for a late try. The Irish fly-half was followed to the ground and struck with an elbow into his face as he landed, momentum, no, malicious, yes. The follow up handbags and pushing only confirmed the frustration that the Welsh were feeling. If they came to Dublin to fight, they left it too late.

Outplayed and out thought by an Irish side not willing to give any ground, the Welsh must go back to the drawing board and hope that England can stop Irish momentum in two weeks time. If one moment of the early exchanges epitomises the Irish effort that was on display, it was a huge hit on Brian O’Driscoll by Welsh centre Scott Williams, the big screen replay is not one that went down well with the home crowd, as late as a bride at her wedding. The wind was obviously knocked out of the former Irish captain and he received treatment as play continued. The crowd erupted when he got back to his feet, he was shook but glanced forward and offered a wry smile to his assailant. Williams was replaced moments later, a shoulder injury the result of his exchange with O’Driscoll, you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Continue reading

Six Nations 2014 – More Blind Faith Or A Real Shot For Ireland?

Courtesy of irishrugby.ie

Courtesy of irishrugby.ie

Every year it’s always the same. Our year, things are different, did you see them in the November Series? Yet for the last four years Ireland have brought only one thing to the Six Nations, inconsistency. 2010, we were following up an unbeaten year and finished second, but from there it has been near torture for fans. Multiple implosions in 2011, a lack of force in 2012 and of course the near wooden spoon of 2013, it has been tough being an Irish rugby fan. So then is this faith in the Schmidt era based on solid thought, or is it simply that it just couldn’t get any worse? Continue reading

Schmidt Off To Winning Start

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Ireland 40 Samoa 9

To many of those that were involved, it was old hat, been there done that but for debutants Jack McGrath and Dave Kearney, it will be a day to remember for the rest of their lives. The Leinster pair did exactly what they set out to do and firstly made an impression, the latter crossing over the line for two tries and McGrath was awarded the man of the match award, hard to expect much more on your debut. In a game that started as a scrum fest, McGrath must have been the happiest man on the field as he imposed himself on his opposite number, time and time again. There were ten scrums in the first twenty minutes of the game. Dave Kearney, who took to the field as a second half substitute made an immediate impact, finishing expertly a move from the backs that the All Blacks would have been proud of. The other debutant, lets not forget was the new man in charge, Joe Schmidt and he will be delighted to get off the ground with a win, although, there is plenty of work to wade through before the superpowers of Australia and New Zealand run out into the Aviva. Continue reading