Friday 19 July 2019

'Mossy showed how professionals train and I will never forget that'


Stephen Fitzgerald scoring a try against the Cardiff Blues earlier this year. Photo: Sportsfile
Stephen Fitzgerald scoring a try against the Cardiff Blues earlier this year. Photo: Sportsfile

Take 20: Stephen Fitzgerald

1. What's your pre-training routine?

I have to get my ankles strapped before we go on the pitch. Normally if I had something I wanted to practise, I would do that for five or 10 minutes first as well.

2. You're in charge of the after-match tunes, what goes on first?

I would probably hand it on to someone like Dan Goggin. Maybe I would use his phone.

3. Imagine a world where you're not a rugby player - what's your job?

My parents own their own business, they have owned a few shops. Ideally, I would look to follow in that line.

4. Stranded on a desert island, what three things do you take?

My PlayStation to play Fortnite, a bottle of BPM and a toothbrush.

5. Which team-mate would you want with you and why?

Dave Kilcoyne to provide entertainment. He wouldn't be great at getting us off the island, but I'd die laughing. If I could have someone else there, it would be my best friend, Peter O'Mahony, because he would find a way off.

6. What's your favourite Instagram page you follow and why?

House of Highlights.

7. What do you do when not training or playing a match?

I have gone back to college, studying business, and that has taken up much of my off time. Apart from that, I would just hang out with the lads.

8. What's your first sporting memory as a player or spectator?

It was one of my first hurling matches. A bit of scuffle erupted and I just threw my hurley at the ground. But it bounced and hit a fella in his forehead. I didn't do it on purpose, but a huge fight broke out between both sets of parents. It's funny now looking back.

9. You have one moment from your career to do over. What is it?

For my second Munster match against Scarlets. They put through a kick. I went to clear it. Whatever way I kicked it, it slid off my boot and went straight into the Scarlet player's hands and he scored. There is a constant joke now between me and 'Keats', where he will roar: "Kick the ball into the stands!"

10. What rugby skill would you most like to possess?

If you look at the best back three players in the world, they all have unbelievable feet. It would be something like that.

11. Favourite song lyric?

I don't listen to that much music.

12. What current player in your position do you most admire?

Willie le Roux (of South Africa and Wasps). He is such a good player and nothing fazes him. He is really calm and always makes the right decision during a game.

13. What former coach has had the biggest effect on your game and why?

Mossy Lawler. He coached me in school. He had a huge amount of time for me. He would go out for an hour before the match to practise my kicking with me. He showed me how the professionals train and I will never forget that.

14. What was your first car?

Volkswagen Golf.

15. What sporting event makes your bucket list?

I would love to go to the 100m final in the Olympics. If I could go back in time, I would go to Usain Bolt breaking the world record.

16. One minute to go in the Champions Cup final, your team is four points down back on your own line. What do you do?

Give it to 'Earlsy'. He would run 90 metres, I'd be hanging on the wing and I would score the try.

17. What was the last concert you went to?

Ed Sheeran in Cork.

18. Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I can't swim. I've got into trouble once or twice before.

19. What's your best memory playing rugby for Munster?

Starting my first match in Thomond Park last year against Ulster. I played well, so it was a good one for me.

20. Who'll win the 2019 Guinness PRO14, Champions Cup and Rugby World Cup?

Munster have a very good chance in both the PRO14 and Europe. If you look at our squad, we have two or three players for each position. New Zealand are probably favourites for the World Cup, but Ireland could do it.

Irish Independent

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