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Friday 19 September 2014

Kearney: Enfield trip can help us over 'wall'

Published 10/01/2013 | 05:00

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LEINSTER'S Enfield getaway may have been a less explosive affair than Ireland's famous bonding trip in 2008, but Dave Kearney believes that going away for two days will benefit the European champions ahead of the biggest two weeks of their season.

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The winger is fit again after twice tearing his quadriceps muscle since coming back from hip surgery in what has been a hugely frustrating season.

His elder brother Rob was at the heart of the open and frank discussions in Meath in 2008 that have gone down in legend, given their role in Ireland's 2009 Grand Slam, but Leinster's retreat this week was not accompanied by similar fireworks.

Kearney reckons that getting away from their routine and spending more time together will benefit Leinster as they attempt to secure an unlikely quarter-final place by beating the Scarlets and Exeter Chiefs, with bonus points, over the coming weekends.

And the 23-year-old Louth man reckons that if the three-time winners can improve small parts of their game, then they can produce the performances necessary to save their season.

"It went well. It was about bringing everybody together, to get some time when we can have a bit of craic together, have some meetings and plan for the weeks ahead," Kearney explained.

"We were doing what we normally do, looking at opponents and planning tactics. Obviously, there is a big wall facing us in what we have to achieve and we were planning how we were going to overcome that.

"There are a few minute things that we need to improve and, once some of those things click, it will move us in the right direction. Last weekend's win over Edinburgh picked up spirits, and now we need to move on and put ourselves in a good position for the end of the season. We just need to back our ability."

Kearney admits that this has been a "frustrating" campaign after his big breakthrough last year. The winger was on the bench for a number of Ireland's Six Nations games and came on as a replacement in Leinster's Heineken Cup final win over Ulster.

Return

But he has played just four first-team games this season and is expected to make his third return from injury in the British and Irish Cup game against Pontypridd at Donnybrook on Saturday.

His spirits were lifted by his brother's successful return last weekend, but now he wants to make his mark and play as much as possible for the rest of the campaign.

"It was brilliant to see him back, he was very frustrated with what happened with his back at the start of the season, " said the Bootcamp Ireland ambassador.

"Now it is about me getting fit and trying to get a few games. I need to start getting into the Leinster team and playing again. With everybody coming back, there is some real competition there and the focus is to play in the big games."

He will begin in the lonely surrounds of Donnybrook in the oft-maligned B&I Cup, but he knows that the coaching staff will be keeping an eye out and a big performance could see him recalled to the squad for Saturday week's pivotal clash against Exeter Chiefs.

"You always want to be involved in the Heineken Cup, but I just want to play games and get on the pitch." Hopefully, I can push on from there.

"The coaches take everything into account, if you play well in the B&I then you can be rewarded."

Irish Independent

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