'It gives you that extra drive' - Leinster's Liam Turner 'inspired' by Ireland’s Grand Slam success

Liam Turner, who won an U-20s Grand Slam in 2019, hopes to feature for Leinster against the Stormers at the RDS on Friday as he looks to step up to the next level. Photo: Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Cian Tracey

Liam Turner hadn’t been to a game at the Aviva Stadium as a supporter for a while, so when he landed two last-minute tickets for Saturday’s Grand Slam win, he made sure to enjoy the occasion.

As he watched on, Turner couldn’t help but imagine himself one day being out there on the pitch achieving similar success.

A former Ireland U-20s and Sevens international, his professional career has been a bit of a slow burner, mainly due to injuries and the intense competition for places in Leinster’s midfield and on the wing. However, at 23, time is on his side in his quest to push on with Leinster and step up to the next level.

“I think inspiring is the right word for it,” Turner said of Ireland’s Grand Slam. “I played U-20s with Ryan Baird, Craig Casey, and you’ve seen the impact they’ve had in this Six Nations. It gives you that extra drive.

“That’s the pinnacle, you want to be there. I was just there to enjoy it. I just enjoyed being at the occasion, a first Grand Slam win in Ireland. They don’t come around very often.”

Turner knows what it feels like to win an U-20s Grand Slam, as he was part of the successful 2019 side. Seeing Andy Farrell’s men lift the trophy before Richie Murphy’s youngsters followed suit 24 hours later brought back happy memories.

“It definitely did,” Turner enthused.

“The captain, Gus McCarthy, when I left school (Blackrock), I coached him for a couple of years with the senior side. I know him very well, it’s great to see him leading from the front. He’s a fantastic player – and the likes of Joe McCarthy’s brother Paddy and Liam Molony, his brother is a good friend of mine.

“It’s great to see the young lads coming through. I thought they played really, really well in tough conditions. It was great to see them get the job done.

“Before our year, they didn’t do so well, but looking back on the group we had, it was very close knit from the start. Full of quality as well if you look at the likes of Harry Byrne, Craig (Casey), Ryan Baird, Scott Penny. The list is endless.

“So many of that team are playing senior now. Playing for Ireland, playing for their provinces. We were lucky to have a great bunch of lads with a heap of talent.”

Turner is hoping to feature in Leinster’s return to URC action against the Stormers at the RDS on Friday night as he looks to further his claim for game-time ahead of the business end of the season.

“With each game, I’m growing in confidence and feeling more at ease in the team,” Turner added. “I feel like I can make a good impact. I just look forward to whenever I get an opportunity, showcasing my ability and adding to what we’re doing here.”