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Paddy Patterson is thriving after swapping from blue to red of Munster

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Paddy Patterson of Munster makes a break during the URC match against Cardiff at Cardiff Arms Park. Photo: Sportsfile

Paddy Patterson of Munster makes a break during the URC match against Cardiff at Cardiff Arms Park. Photo: Sportsfile

Paddy Patterson of Munster makes a break during the URC match against Cardiff at Cardiff Arms Park. Photo: Sportsfile

Professional sport is full of tales of sliding door moments.

For Paddy Patterson, the course of a promising career changed two seasons ago when an injury crisis in Munster opened the door for a player struggling for opportunity at his home province of Leinster.

A short-term contract beckoned, a place in the Academy followed. By last week, he was starting Graham Rowntree’s first game in charge and he’s expected to be involved this week against Dragons.

The former Blackrock College student, who impressed for the Ireland U-20s in 2018 and starred for UCD in the All Ireland League, played three times for his home province, but he’s moving to a new level at Munster.

“I suppose it’s nearly two years ago now,” he recalled. “I think Murr (Conor Murray) and Craig (Casey) were about to be called into Ireland camp and Neil Cronin was injured so they needed cover.

“Noel McNamara, who was the head of the Academy in Leinster, came to me and said there was an opportunity down here.

“So I jumped at it, came straight down and I was down here for about two weeks originally and sort of signed on for the rest of the season, and then joined the academy at the start of last season so had a full year in the academy then and into the senior squad now, so I’m enjoying it.

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“It was a similar environment, so competitive, I probably did better in my first year in the Leinster Academy than I did in the next two years, really.

“I played three times but probably never really kicked on. There was strong competition with the three lads ahead of me, but I was just delighted to get an opportunity here and I’m hoping to thrive on it.”

On the outside, people presume that crossing Irish rugby’s great divide might be a major culture clash but that hasn’t been Patterson’s experience.

“People always ask me, to be honest it’s just different people but the same structure every day,” he said.

“Just different people, slightly different culture but not too different. Same sort of craic in the dressing-room.”

Now, he’s focused on getting as many minutes as possible in red.

“It’s just about being competitive in training,” he said.

“We are training hard. It is very tough, it is competitive. We train against each other and obviously we’re trying to beat each other so whenever I get a chance, I just put my mark on the game and try to be competitive in that sense and put some pressure on them.”


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