| 12.5°C Dublin

Hurley 'sick to back teeth' of relentless Munster negativity


Munster wing Denis Hurley has been struggling to get his head above the mist of gloom which has descended around the province since they crashed out of the Heineken Cup last weekend.

The 26-year-old winger wasn't even involved at the Stade Mayol on Sunday, but is sick to the back teeth of the relentless negativity now proliferating through the ranks.

For him, it's time to draw a line underneath what happened, and though he understands why people are critical, he cannot accept that Munster have reached the end of the line.

"People have invested a lot of money travelling with Munster and I can see where they are coming from," said the Cork Constitution man.

"But, to say that we haven't got the squad? Some of the performances we have put in when the international guys have been away show the back-up that we actually have.

"Just look back at the Australia game -- we've won matches against international teams! You cannot say we are a squad in decline. It's just a matter of time before it all comes together."

For Hurley (pictured), a sense of perspective is key. Munster's 12-year run of qualification for the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup may be at an end, but the province still have the chance to end the season with some silverware.

"All I've been reading in the papers is little snippets of doom and gloom, but the season is far from over," he said.

"All right, we have had a massive record of making it out of the pool stages for the last 12 years, but we still have an opportunity to make it into the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup.

"We are still on top of the Magners League and we still have a lot to play for. There are going to be a lot of lads pushing for spots in the squad and there are going to be guys putting displays on show to try and make Irish level, so it's far from doom and gloom."

Hurley is, in fact, one of those players looking for an Irish call-up, and his inclusion in the Irish Wolfhounds squad should afford him plenty of opportunities to impress Declan Kidney.

"Any chance to play in an Irish shirt -- no matter what team it is -- is something to look forward to."

Before that, however, there is the small matter of London Irish at Thomond Park tomorrow, and though Heineken Cup aspirations have long since faded, rite of passage through to the Challenge Cup is a strong motivational factor for Hurley.

"There is no way we are disinterested," he said defiantly. "I think we have to react positively this weekend and show that we are exactly the kind of outfit that doesn't sit back and just take what happens.

"Obviously, what has happened has happened. But we're definitely going to go forward from here and it's not an ending point, but more of a starting point for us for the rest of the season."

Irish Independent