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Conway eager for consistency as he aims to fulfill rich promise in Munster

The 23-year-old was an underage sensation, but has potential for further growth as a senior player.

Conway has started both of Munster's Pro12 games so far this season.
Conway has started both of Munster's Pro12 games so far this season.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

IT IS DIFFICULT to reject the notion that Andrew Conway was one of the finest underage players that Ireland has ever produced.

The Dublin native’s nine tries in ten games over two Junior World Championships in 2010 and 2011 – as well as four in six games in the U20 Six Nations – saw him deservedly lauded as one of the most promising players in the game.

Before those performances, Conway had made his name on account of his stunning displays in the schools game, as he powered Blackrock College to Junior and Senior Cup success.

And while several excellent senior performances have followed for home province Leinster and Munster in the proceeding years, the 23-year-old may feel that he still has a way to go towards fulfilling his potential.

Winners’ medals in the Pro12 and Amlin Challenge Cup adorn his CV, but last season was one of frustration for Conway, who scored four tries in 12 Munster appearances but was hindered by injury issues, particularly early in the campaign.

It was [frustrating],” said the winger this week in Limerick. “I think a lot of it was my fault as well last year. Last year coming down, I was obviously eager to get in there, impress and play with my new teammates, earn their respect through playing.

“I got injured in a few games at the start and that kind of backlogged me. When I got in to play, I’d be quite happy with my performance, but there was obviously lads playing really well. You’re not just going to get into a Munster team by playing well once. You’re really going to have to consistently perform and consistently be available for selection.

“At the back end of last year, I felt that I was performing consistently and well enough to be in. It proved that way and I got in for the last few games of last year, which was great because it would have been a very frustrating season if it ended how it had started.”

Andrew Conway Conway looks back at last season with frustration. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

It is encouraging that Conway provides such a neat summation of his first year with the southern province, acknowledging his own “fault” in not nailing down a place, addressing his injury issues and underlining the need to find consistency.

For the former Blackrock student, scorching clear for linebreaks is not sufficient given his goal of earning a spot in Munster’s first-choice XV for the biggest fixtures. Rounded displays defensively, off the ball and in terms of work-rate are what Anthony Foley will be looking for.

Simon Zebo, Keith Earls, Gerhard van den Heever, Johne Murphy and others will provide the competition for places at Munster out wide, but Conway’s potential continues to excite.

– Audio courtesy of Limerick’s Live 95FM.

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Murray Kinsella

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