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Goggin ready to repay Van Graan's faith in derby battle

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Dan Goggin. Photo: Sportsfile

Dan Goggin. Photo: Sportsfile

Dan Goggin. Photo: Sportsfile

Dan Goggin hopes he can play his part as Munster bid to end a six-matching losing run away to Irish provinces when they make the short journey to Galway on Saturday.

This is turning out to be a key season for the centre who turned 24 in December and who grew up in the shadow of Thomond Park.

He made 14 appearances two seasons ago after making his debut against Scarlets in September 2016 but a knee injury sustained on the opening day last season restricted him to action in just eight games.

That troublesome knee ligament problem has also flared up this term but Johann van Graan has not been afraid to throw Goggin in at the deep end and the former Irish U-20 is grateful for the coach's faith.

He was selected for the clash with Leinster in the Aviva Stadium in October and then made his Champions Cup debut against Exeter Chiefs. And after recovering from the latest knee issue, Van Graan immediately recalled him for the win over Leinster last weekend.

"I was a little bit surprised to be given the chance to go straight back in against Leinster. It was such a big game but delighted to get the chance. There is nothing better than playing in front of a sell-out crowd at Thomond Park with the atmosphere blowing like that.

"It was a massive confidence for Johann to pick me for that game against Leinster in the Aviva. He tells me he backs me and it's up to me after that. I train well during the week and he gives me an opportunity and I know that I have to take it.

"Luckily, that day went quite well for me and then he backed me for the two European games. Unfortunately, then the injury came along at such a crucial time of the year but that's all part of the game."

He missed last year's trip to the Sportsground but played there in dreadful weather the previous season when they were victorious.

Goggin said that there is a lot riding on this encounter but he's looking forward to it.

"We're three points ahead of them at the moment in the Conference and if we win we can go seven or eight ahead of them. But if we don't they will go ahead of us so it's a hugely important game.

"It's just up to us how will we manage it because we know they are a form side. They were very unlucky not to get the win away to Leinster and they were in super form against Ulster."

He's been impressed by Connacht this season, none more so than centre Tom Farrell, who is the top offloader in the league with 19.

Irish Independent