Prop Dave Kilcoyne didn't make the Munster squad when they were defeated by Ulster in the Heineken Cup quarter-final in April, but, eight months later, he has nailed down a starting position and has made his international debut for Ireland.
It's a measure of just how far the Limerick native, who turned 24 earlier this month, has travelled in half a season under new coach Rob Penney.
Kilcoyne had only started one game for Munster prior to this season – he made three appearances off the bench as well – but has featured in 11 of their 15 games this campaign.
"I'm looking forward to 2013 and hoping to push on, but the main thing, at this stage, is the Ulster game. A win there would be a nice way to wrap up the year," he said.
Revenge over Ulster tomorrow for Kilcoyne refers to the 20-19 loss in Ravenhill in September rather than the 20-16 defeat in Thomond Park, which ended Munster's Heineken Cup dreams last season.
"It was a tough game up there earlier in the season. It was one of our better performances of the year, it was right up there, but we came away a point short," he said.
"We will try to rectify that when they come down here. A win over them is vital at this stage. It won't be an easy task. We know exactly what we have to do.
"It would be good if we manage to be the first to defeat them in the league this season."