Monday 27 February 2017

New Connacht tyro Kearney plans to keep Gloucester on their toes

John Fallon

Connacht new kid on the block Mick Kearney is adamant that, despite his side's losing run, they are going to Kingsholm tomorrow to win.

The 20-year-old lock, who is the latest to move from Leinster to boost his career by getting game-time at the Sportsground, said that the Westerners know they should have won last weekend against Gloucester.

He said that they remained confident despite a nine-match losing run and were going to Gloucester firmly believing they can get their first win in the Heineken Cup.

"We are going over there to win -- like every game, you go in to win," said the Clontarf clubman.

"Their ground has a reputation of having a very hostile atmosphere.

"I have never played there, but I have heard about it. But that is something that our squad are going to feed off and it will motivate us hugely."

Kearney, who featured for the Irish U-20s at the Junior World Championship in Italy this summer, said he decided to head west when the offer came in from Eric Elwood, even though he was in the Leinster structure at the time.

He travelled to Galway and met Elwood, his assistant Dan McFarland and academy coach Nigel Carolan, prior to the JWC and liked what he saw.

"I had a bit of thinking to do about the deal, I was with Leinster at sub-academy level and U-19 for the last few years. My heart was there at the time, but I had to ask straight up if there was anything there for me and I though that this offer was better," said Kearney.

Kearney joined the Connacht academy and has made rapid progress.

He played in a pre-season friendly against Exeter and then broke into the side when he made his senior debut against Ospreys in the RaboDirect Pro12.

He made another appearance off the bench against Treviso and earned his Heineken Cup debut last week when he came on against Gloucester.

"I am loving the challenge, there is so much competition for positions, so every day you have to be on your game," he added.

Irish Independent

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