Monday 23 July 2018

Keatley hoping for lucky break to get Ireland call

Munster out-half Ian Keatley
Munster out-half Ian Keatley

John Fallon

Munster out-half Ian Keatley is hoping the next break goes his way – as Joe Schmidt has told him he is one injury away from an Ireland recall – but closer to home he is under sustained pressure from JJ Hanrahan for the Reds' No 10 jersey.

Keatley picked up his only two Ireland caps on the tour to Canada and the United States in 2009 but still harbours hopes of an Ireland recall.

And new Ireland coach Schmidt was in touch last week to tell him to keep plugging away.

"He assured me that there is nothing between myself, (Paddy) Jackson and (Ian) Madigan so you're always only one injury away from just getting in. I don't think it matters what time of year it is, I'm always trying to do my best," said the 26-year old.

"I don't know if it's encouragement or disappointment but it's good that he (Schmidt) does ring you and lets you know where you stand.

"There's nothing I can do about that now, I just need to keep concentrating on my own performance."

Keatley knows that there is also a battle on for the Munster No 10 shirt, with Hanrahan putting his Edinburgh Heineken Cup nightmare behind him to produce a man-of-the-match display in the 13-6 win away to previously unbeaten Glasgow Warriors last week.

"I think it is great for me and JJ. I think we have got four man-of-the-match performances between us, I got the last one against Leinster and now he gets this one," said Keatley.

"I think it is great and I was the first one to congratulate him on his try, even on Twitter, so I am delighted for him.

"At the end of the day, it is Munster who gets the victory, it is not myself or JJ. Nobody took that (the Edinburgh loss) harder than JJ. He took it on the chin and that's all part of the experience.

"We've all been there. It's similar to Racing Metro last year. We made a mistake in the final minutes of that game and we bounced back from that.

"We qualified from our group but we're still full of confidence for the European experience. We got back on track against Gloucester so it was great for JJ to bounce back at the weekend."

Irish Independent

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