Tuesday 20 March 2018

Player Diary: Fully recharged after vital week of sleeping, chilling and farming

John Muldoon and Connacht have used this week to re-focus their season Picture: Sportsfile
John Muldoon and Connacht have used this week to re-focus their season Picture: Sportsfile

John Muldoon

This may have been a week with no game at the end of it but it's still a really important one for us, and thankfully we got a heck of a lot of work done.

For the week off I just went home for a few days and didn't do an awful lot. I farmed, ate lots and slept lots and just generally chilled out. It was a good week.

When you have a lot of games, you can get caught up in the mix of it. It's nice to get away from everybody.

It was a down week but at the same time you have to stay active and maintain your shape. But even just getting away to a different gym is good for the brain.

This week was very important for the squad in terms of getting re-focused on everything.

Even though we train hard every week with the focus on the next opposition, this type of window gives you the chance to tweak a few things that aren't working as well, or the detail of plays that might not have gone 100pc right.

We have been working on areas that we haven't been getting the rewards out of. We highlighted them and worked on them in our training sessions. Hopefully we can see an improvement over the next few games.

We are coming into a block of games which are extremely important for us, and with Cardiff Blues next up we know we must hit the ground running and start picking up points.


On Monday we were on the pitch and we were tweaking things, focusing on ourselves, but as the week went on we began to focus more on Cardiff.

It's all about making sure we have a good idea of what we need to know before we go to Cardiff, and the challenges that we will face before we play them.

Away from the Sportsground, we went to Portumna on Thursday as one of our club visits. We had not been there in such a long time - it was my first year playing for Connacht when we had last visited my local club.

The training session on the school pitch was open to the public and there was a massive crowd, a great atmosphere, and it was nice for me to go back there and see a lot of kids out playing rugby.

Growing up there, there is no shortage of sporting ability and success. When you grow up in an environment like Portumna, where they win lots of competitions at all levels in sports, you take it for granted.

For me to come along and finally win something with Connacht after such a long wait probably puts into context how good they are in terms of what they have done over the years in hurling.

I am very proud of where I'm from and I always look forward to going back. I'd go back and help out the club whenever I can. It's a new club - it wasn't there when I started playing rugby.

It's great to see young kids playing rugby now and being given the opportunity where I wasn't able to get that only a few years ago. In the day and age we are in now, whatever sport kids are playing, it's always good.

There are a lot of good people working hard in sport and they do huge work for the likes of rugby. And hopefully there were a few future Connacht players in Portumna from what I saw yesterday.

Although we're not playing this weekend, the Six Nations kicks into gear and Scotland could be the dark horses of the tournament so Ireland must be aware of that.

Scotland have just got better and better over the years.

You see with Glasgow being one of the best teams in the Pro12 and Europe, Scotland are a banana skin.

It certainly won't be an easy game for Ireland, but the one thing Joe Schmidt's men certainly have in abundance is confidence.

They would have taken so much from the November internationals and you would hope that feel-good factor will follow through into this tournament.

The results before Christmas will help, and if you start well in the Six Nations and get a few good results early doors, before you know it, you could be in with an opportunity to win it.

Ireland need to be thinking about winning it out again this year.

And knowing the people that are there, they will definitely be doing that and going out there to win every game.

Hopefully it will be a big Six Nations for Ireland and it's certainly set up for them that they could have a good tilt at it but a good start is so crucial to the outcome.

Hopefully the four Connacht boys in the Ireland squad will have good tournaments.

Ultan Dillane, Kieran Marmion, Finlay Bealham and Tiernan O'Halloran have been massive players for us in recent years and they played a huge part in us winning the Pro12 title last season.

It would be great to see them have a good Six Nations and as Connacht people that is definitely something that we want to see.

We want to see more and more of our lads being involved up there, being capped and doing well.

They have done well so far and hopefully they will continue to do so.

It would be fantastic for everyone involved if they could build on that and keep going in the right direction.

Irish Independent

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