Friday 23 February 2018

Player Diary: 'My focus now is to go full throttle each week and earn Ireland recall'

Dave Kilcoyne – seen here in the Six Nations game against Scotland in February – is determined to return to the Ireland squad
Dave Kilcoyne – seen here in the Six Nations game against Scotland in February – is determined to return to the Ireland squad

Dave Kilcoyne

Missing out on selection for the Irish squad for the Autumn Internationals was a tough, unexpected blow. I felt my form was just ramping up nicely at the perfect time, but I was left out and that's all there is to it.

That was the way that selection went and I have to respect Joe Schmidt's decision. All I can do now is do my best to get in for the next game. I wish the boys all the best in this autumn series, I hope they do very well and I'm sure they will.

The squad was announced last Wednesday afternoon – I found out that morning when Joe gave me a call. I was in the car on the way to training in CIT, so that was difficult news to take in. But in fairness to Joe, he said I'll have plenty of opportunities to get back into the squad if I continue my good form with Munster.

All I can do now is take the positives from this; I have a real target to work for now. I want to get back into the Ireland squad, it's not nice being outside it again. I'll be making sure I do everything in my power to get in again.

Like everyone, I want to play for my county, so it was bitterly disappointing news for me to hear. But Munster is my priority. I will be going full throttle to attain my goals with Munster, and if Ireland honours follow, it will be a real boost.

DELIGHTED

While the news wasn't great for me, I was delighted for James Coughlan to be included. He has been around for ages and has been doing the business for Munster for years now. To see him the get the chance to do the business for Ireland too is great.

So with all the song and dance around the Ireland squad it was great to be able to focus on preparations to play in Glasgow. But as it turned out, it was an unusual cameo for me.

I was brought on early in the second half and thought I did well. Then the referee awarded a free-kick against us at the scrum, then after another scrum infringement he decided to yellow-card the two of us, which I couldn't understand at all.

I thought it was a very unusual decision. Then we went on to get the penalty from the scrum – I couldn't fathom it. I don't know what the basis for the decision was. The ref said to us before the scrum that the next team to collapse it would be penalised. It went down and then both of us were sin-binned.

It was a bit of a crazy end to a personally frustrating week. But putting aside my grievances, Munster won, we picked up the four points and we are top of the Pro12 table now. That's the main thing to take from the week.

Now that we are there, we are determined to hold on to that top spot. And immediately we are faced with a tough test against Ospreys tomorrow. They were really impressive in their bonus-point win in the Welsh derby against Dragons, so they are bang in form for their visit to Thomond.

If they win they go top, but we are not ready to relinquish the summit just yet, especially on home soil. They and Glasgow are the two toughest games outside our own derbies, so if we could put another win beside our win in Scotland, it would be a huge boost for us.

The Ospreys are well known as a forwards-orientated side, who love to maul and scrum.

If selected, I'll likely be coming up against Lions and Wales tighthead Adam Jones, who is a fierce competitor. I've locked horns with him a few times at this stage and it is one of the biggest challenges for a loosehead to come up against him. He is a fine scrummager, a very experienced prop and it will be a right tough battle with him.

But still, these are the challenges you want as a front-row, you want to test yourself against the best exponents of the game and I am looking forward to the test again.

Overall they are well equipped up front. Their line-out and maul are very dangerous, and they are a real hardened, strong pack. Any time you play Ospreys it is tough.

Alongside Adam Jones, we are likely to face another couple of top internationals in Richard Hibbard and Duncan Jones. Joe Bearman in the back-row and Alun-Wyn Jones at second-row are also sharp operators. It will be a tough game.

Last weekend we got back late from Glasgow, it was probably 2.30 in the morning by the time we arrived back into Cork. Then us poor Limerick-based souls had to face into the drive home as well. Bed was more than welcome at 4.0.

Saturday and Sunday was all about recovery after the trip. I went for a swim on Saturday – not that I needed too much recovery after my short appearance – but it was still important to keep ticking over ahead of the week's work.

But after the week of being a little bit down in the dumps, it was great to get the chance to watch a bit of comedy on TV on Saturday night. We all knew our resident crooner Damien Varley was due to be interviewed by Brendan O'Connor on Saturday, so with the popcorn in we all sat down to watch his marvellous debut.

And what a show he put on! It really was a watershed moment for Varls. To see him bare his soul as he went through the mid-life crisis – he turned 30 this week – was a moving experience for all of us. So from now on, we promise we'll go easy on him!

But in all seriousness, this charity song is for a wonderful cause, and every penny earned for the Pink Ribbon cause will go to a great home.

Irish Independent

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