Saturday 18 January 2020

'We let down our supporters and ourselves, which really hurts' - O'Halloran

Niyi Adeolokun is tackled by Ospreys’ Scott Otten during last week’s defeat at the Liberty Stadium. Photo: Ben Evans/Sportsfile
Niyi Adeolokun is tackled by Ospreys’ Scott Otten during last week’s defeat at the Liberty Stadium. Photo: Ben Evans/Sportsfile

Tiernan O'Halloran - Player Diary

While we know that there is still a mathematical chance that we can reach the European play-off, our squad knows that our chance to get there disappeared at the Liberty Stadium last weekend.

Now with two games left we are playing for pride and that is the real driving force for the last few weeks.

I think it was one of our worst performances of the season. We let ourselves and the supporters down, which really hurts.

We knew we needed to beat Ospreys to have any hopes, but they were a lot better on the day.

After 10 or 15 minutes in the second half, we fell apart which is disappointing. We thought the days of shipping 20- or 30-point defeats were gone, but it looked like we checked out. It was not acceptable.

It was a tough changing room to be in after the game and we all had a hard look at ourselves and at the performance we put in because that was not us and what we strive for.

We haven't started well in a lot of our away games this year and we tried to put a big emphasis on that last weekend. We gave away a few early penalties but other than that we played some good rugby.

We were attacking in their 22 but an intercept pass saw them go the full length of the pitch to score. It was such a momentum-killer. We could have gone into the lead for the first time but all of a sudden, we're 13 points down and chasing the game straight away.

It was unfortunate, but it's been like that all year where one or two small things here and there let us down at crucial times. They are small margins, but they make a massive difference to your season.

So far this season we have six losing bonus points and that shows that we have been competitive in many games. But if you look at the table we only have six wins and it looks like a poor season.

It has been a building process and it has been tough, but none of us are happy with how things have gone - both management and players.

While it is still a few weeks away, this off-season would be a crucial time for a lot of us and we know we have a lot of things to do.

We can't get into the play-offs now, so the last two games are all about putting in performances that mean we can hold our heads up again. Then we have a guy like John Muldoon who is leaving the club and we want to send him off on the high he deserves. We can't switch off.

With Glasgow and Leinster to come, we face two top-class teams and you need to be on your toes against them. The last thing you want is to go down the route of shipping 30 or 40 points in the last couple of games.

Some guys are still playing for summer tours and other guys are trying to make an impact and get the place for next year. There is still so much to play for and the boys know that too.

But pride in the shirt is key. Every time you pull on the Connacht green you want to honour it and do it justice. It is important, and we'll have that chat for the next couple of games and make sure we're all in the same mindset and we do ourselves proud.

We've all played in Scotstoun before and we know they like to throw the ball around. Even at the weekend Dave Rennie was complaining that Glasgow kicked the ball too much against Scarlets so we're expecting them to run a bit more against us.


They have the 4G pitch over there, which guarantees a fast game, but we like the high-tempo game. While we don't want a shoot-out, we will go over there and give it a real go too. We want to practise our shape and get things right because we are far from having that nailed on. We've a lot of work to do but we want to try out new things as well.

Right now Glasgow are sitting comfortably at the top of our conference and they will be keen for the win that will seal their place in a home semi-final. They are not in the Champions Cup knockout stages, so they will be going pretty strong for the rest of the season and we're expecting a very tough game.

From a personal point of view, it is good to be injury-free, but I'm still not happy with every aspect of my game. My hip was a big hindrance for a good chunk of the first half of the season and then I had a couple of small niggles here and there throughout the season too.

Like the team as a whole, I have a lot to work on, but with the summer just around the corner I'll be ready to tear into pre-season with gusto.

But before that we have a couple of games to win and we're determined to finish on a high.

Irish Independent

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