Monday 23 September 2019

'The same shoulder pads were worn there for about 12 years'

Take 20: Kevin O'Byrne

Kevin O’Byrne collected classic Minis
Kevin O’Byrne collected classic Minis newsdesk

1. Pre-match meal?

Chicken, mashed potatoes and beans. It's probably the same as everyone else here at Munster.

2. Favourite player growing up?

The former France international and Biarritz back-row Serge Betsen. I never got to play against him and there is no particular reason - he was just a bit iconic.

3. Best away day room-mate and why?

I don't really get much choice with my room-mates on the away days. It would have to be John Ryan because we both snore.

4. Who would headline your house party?

Biffy Clyro.

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5. First song they would play?

'Friends and Enemies'.

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

I would probably splash out on a Ferrari.

7. Favourite movie?

'Lord of the Rings' is a bit of an epic.

8. Favourite TV show and why?

'Antiques Roadshow' believe it or not. I suppose it's because I am pretty boring.

9. Earliest rugby memory growing up?

My first day playing rugby with Pres. I will never forget starting out.

10. Who is the joker in the dressing room?

Obviously Simon Zebo, he is a bit of a laugh. Alex Wootton will try to take over from him when he heads off for Racing 92.

11. Favourite holiday destination and why?

The south of Spain. It is just very chill and that's what I'm looking for when I talk holidays.

12. Favourite away ground to play at?

Connacht Rugby's home ground, the Sportsground. I have a lot of friends there from when I was in the academy up there in Galway. It's a great place.

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

Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters, Alex Ferguson and Jennifer Lawrence.

14. Most memorable moment in rugby?

The Leicester Tigers game away from home this year was a pretty special for me personally. That was my first European start and I got to play against some great players in opposition too. Overall, it was very special, especially to do it at Welford Road as well. It's a place with such incredible history, and some big games between Leicester and Munster in the past too.

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

I used to be awful for the superstitions or rituals. But I have matured a bit in recent years. But I used to have lots of little things. For instance, I would wear the same jocks, I used to get sick before most games; I would wear the exact same socks underneath my team socks. The same shoulder pads were worn there for about 12 years too. They were awful by the end of it all. When I left the academy and I was in Australia I relaxed a little bit and started taking it a bit easier. I forget about most of them as a result and now it's all straightforward before I head out on the pitch. Thank God!

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

CJ Stander. He is inspirational. He will always get you go-forward ball as well, which is great. Good from the scrums and you are a good ten or 15 metres from where you were which is handy.

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

Tom Youngs at Leicester Tigers. It was my first start in Europe and he was such a big player. He played for England and the Lions. He was captain too. But once the game starts it's game on, he could be anyone.

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

I collected classic Minis for a while. I have four or five classic Minis.

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

Milk, bacon and Ballymaloe Relish.

20. Best advice you have ever got?

Keep working hard. There is always someone else that will work harder if you don't. My dad Ger gave me that piece of advice.

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