The Insider: Keeping busy with rehab and house-hunting
One positive of shoulder injury is I have a bit of time to catch up on the books and find a new home
February and all eyes are on the Six Nations but closer to home there is no denying that this is a crucial time of year for the club in the Guinness Pro12. It's a time when a win - or a loss - can have a huge bearing on placing. It is also a time when players get opportunities that have to be grasped. High stakes.
While international players are away it gives younger lads a chance to show what they can do. I made my debut during the 2014/15 season. First a start against Zebre in October, then five games in the Six Nations block of 2015 in January and February. It was brilliant. I loved it and wanted more.
From a team point of view the stakes are just as high and our standings the last few seasons prove that. I remember three seasons ago we got 18 points from a possible 20 and that year we won the Pro12 in the RDS against Glasgow.
But go forward to the season after and we won one and drew one in the same block and ultimately missed out on the top four.
Last season we went four from four and ended up top of the table at the end of the regular season. So this period is crucial.
It has been going well so far with good bonus-point wins over Treviso, Edinburgh and Dragons.
It was tough not being able to do all of the training this week but the lads looked very sharp.
After watching Scarlets beat Munster at home we all know it will be a tough task in the RDS. In big games like these the RDS crowd makes a massive difference and hopefully it will be packed to the rafters.
It has been a frustrating couple of weeks having injured my shoulder against Edinburgh. It is never good to be injured but around Six Nations time is especially not ideal.
On the flipside I have been really well looked after in Leinster and it is healing well and hopefully it'll not be long before I'm back.
My days at the moment involve working with the physios doing rehab on the shoulder and trying to work on other areas that I don't get a chance to work on when I am playing, so that's the positive side to it. I am also doing a bit of fitness so I am ready to go whenever I am back to full training.
It helps having other players in the same position who are striving to come back quick. In the words of Sean Cronin, who is back soon, "I can see the big roast dinner at the end of the road"!
It helps a lot that I have short-term goals from the medical staff to focus the mind on.
Away from the rugby we had bad news recently for RC1 - the affectionate name for the house I live in with Adam Byrne, Tom Daly, Peter Dooley, doctor Liam Bourke and Offaly hurler Emmet Nolan - the house is being sold and we have to move out. Tears were shed! A lot of good memories!
We will have to find somewhere for next year and hopefully we can all stay together. It helps a lot living with lads who have a similar lifestyle and it's always good craic.
It also helps as we search for new digs that Tom 'Tucker' Daly is out of his injury-related grump and is on good form as he approaches his return to play. . . about time says us!
Away from the house search I have started the last semester of my Sports Management Degree in UCD. It is a struggle keeping up with everything with all the training but being out injured gives me an opportunity to get some work done on the weekends.
During the week it is tough to get stuff done because the days rehabing can be quite long. When you are injured these positives and these distractions are a God-send so the books will benefit from this lay-off, as will the level of input into the house search!
By the time my next diary entry is due we will really be in the thick of it and that is hugely exciting. We'll have played our Champions Cup quarter-final at the Aviva Stadium and will be focused on the Pro12 run in...hopefully I'll be back playing and we'll have a few more big dates pencilled in to the diary too! A lot of fun ahead!