Wednesday 16 January 2019

'It was a big day for me. You can't make your first appearance twice'

Take 20: James Cronin

James Cronin has special memories of making his debut for Ireland against Argentina. Photo: Sportsfile
James Cronin has special memories of making his debut for Ireland against Argentina. Photo: Sportsfile

1. Pre-match meal?

Before a match I like to keep it simple. I would usually have a bowl of soup, a chicken breast with some potatoes and of course beans to fill me up.

You can't go too far wrong with that combination. And, most importantly, you're not too full either ahead of the game.

2. Favourite player growing up?

I always watched Keith Wood and Peter Clohessy closely. They were both Munster and Ireland legends and great exponents of the old arts of the front-row and scrummaging. I'm split between those two.

3. Best away day room-mate and why?

My roomie on the away days is Niall Scannell because the only time he is actually quiet is in the room. There's no snoring from him either which is always a massive plus. He would talk for Ireland outside of the room.

But in fairness to Niall he is quiet and calm, and that's all you can ask for from your room-mate when you're away from home.

4. Who would headline your house party?

Christy Moore would definitely be the headline act.

5. First song they would play?

He has some catalogue to pick from, but I think I would get him to sing 'Ordinary Man' first.

6. You win the Lotto, what is the first thing you would buy?

If I won the Lotto, which would never happen, I would travel the world and it would be five-star all the way of course. It'd be great.

7. Favourite movie?

'Goodfellas'. It's a timeless classic, it never gets old. You could watch it 20 times and it's still so good.

8. Favourite TV show and why?

'Game of Thrones' just because it's a good show and I enjoy it. Everyone seems to enjoy it, I'm not sure is it for the action or the politics of it all.

9. Earliest rugby memory growing up?

Playing with my local club, Ballincollig Rugby Club, where it all began for me.

10. Who is the joker in the dressing room?

It used to be Duncan Casey until he left us and went off to France. So I will go with Mike Sherry for now. He's good craic.

11. Favourite holiday destination and why?

I'm a fan of Chicago. It's a great city and would love to go back.

12. Favourite away ground to play at?

I don't really have one, but if I had to choose it would probably be Scarlets' home ground, Parc y Scarlets. It is a really good ground to play at with the atmosphere and the good pitch.

13. Three people (dead or alive) who you would invite to your dinner party?

It's a tough one but I'd probably have to go with: Billy Connolly, AP McCoy and Emily Ratajkowski - a nice diverse group there. We would have a great conversation between us.

14. Most memorable moment in rugby?

Winning my first cap for Ireland is definitely up there. It came against Argentina in Tucumán on 14 June, 2014, when we won 23-17. I came on as a replacement for Killer in that game actually. It was a big day for me and all of my family, one I won't forget. You can't make your first appearance twice.

15. Do you have any pre-match superstitions/rituals?

I don't really have any superstitions or rituals when it comes to building up for the matches. I just like to be in the ground and ready nice and early. It's all about getting relaxed and ready to play I suppose.

16. Who is the best player you have played alongside and why?

Keith Earls is the best player I've ever played against. Usually he crops up in training and it's not fun. He is a nightmare when he's running at you and seems to be getting better all the time. He's flying it this season especially.

17. Who is the best player you have played against and why?

Probably Fritz Lee from Clermont Auvergne. He's a big back-row to come up against.

18. Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?

I am learning to play guitar at the moment. It's an interesting experience.

19. Name three things that are always in your fridge?

Well, the basics would be milk, butter and ham. I would always have them in the fridge.

20. Best advice you ever got?

I have got a lot of advice in my time playing the game. But 'control the controllables' is the main one I remember and stick to. Colm McMahon from the Munster Academy gave me that bit of advice a while back. And when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

Irish Independent

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