Tommy Dickson/INPHO

'Hotels for seven weeks' and straight back to the grindstone for Cian Healy

The loosehead had hoped for more than his minutes in the Six Nations, but the next challenge is coming too quickly to look back.

THE END OF the Six Nations brings a change of national team focus for most sports fans, along with that big stadium on Lansdowne Road.

Cian Healy is definitely not normally a fan of the other style of football played in the Aviva Stadium. However, when it comes to the national team, he’s happy to while away 90 minutes watching the Boys in Green.

It’s in his blood after all, legendary bagman Charlie O’Leary is Healy’s uncle. And, now and then, he’s been known to rub mismatched shoulders with Robbie Brady.

“I’ve had a night out or two with him before, but that’s about it. He’s only around the corner yeah.”

For the most part though, the round ball is off-limits to Healy and he delivers a withering response to the suggestion that Ronan O’Gara and Brian O’Driscoll were fond of a kick-around to loosen up on a Monday morning.

“Generation past, I suppose.”

It’s understandable. Healy has plenty of oval-ball matters to chew on.

While some of  his international team-mates were afforded enough time off for a quick trans-Atlantic trip to decompress after the Six Nations this week, the men with fewer match minutes have shoulders pressed firmly to the wheel.

Healy had Monday off, but it was straight back to the day job on Tuesday. So he’s hoping to wear the blue of Leinster this weekend after starting just one of Ireland’s five matches in the Championship.

Even though the competition for the loosehead spot won’t exactly ease much n the weeks ahead, the change of pace and scenery is certainly welcome.

“Back to Leinster is always a positive,” the prop says as he promoted Leinster and Life Style Sports’ Fuel the fourth campaign.

“Back to home after being in hotels for seven weeks, traveling around or being in the Shelbourne. To be back based out of your house, over to UCD to train, and play in the RDS this week, Aviva next week, that’s brilliant.”

Cian Healy Tommy Dickson / INPHO Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

That Aviva Stadium match will likely pit Healy against former team-mate Marty Moore. The 29-year-old has been doing more than just keeping in touch with the Wasps tighthead, he’s made sure to watch him in action. However, he says he will wait until next week before honing in on any weaknesses the ‘Baby Calf’ may present as a target.

“I’ve watched a good few of his games, met up with him for dinner a while back, a few of the props, and Jordi (Murphy) who was taken into the group for the night.

“We keep in touch, he’s a good friend. We’ll pick apart his game, when we’re doing study, but not much more than any opposition.”

Before taking on any tighthead though, Healy will first have to displace Jack McGrath.

“I think we’re close enough,” Healy says when asked if there is a performance gap to be bridged.

“(It) works well in training, we tag in and out, we’re kinda on the same system, it’s ‘head down’, I don’t make the decisions, ‘head down’ as best I can.

I’d hoped (to play more in the Six Nations). You put the best foot forward and rely on the best team to be picked and don’t argue. That’s the way it is.”

“I am still getting back, certainly not at the level I want to be. You have to get as much of a run of time as you can, take every opportunity to take 60-70 minutes under the belt. You need a run of them to get into full match flow. I got a few at the start of the season that I was happy with — it continues with rehab, skill work, everything. (I) keep trying to push that on now. Hopefully I will push myself forward this week and get some game time and be in a good position next week.”

Cian Healy Life Style Sports and Cian Healy were calling all Leinster fans to post messages of support to their favourite player using #FuelThe4th. The winner with the most inspirational post & 3 of their mates will watch Leinster take on Wasps in their very own bespoke premium level box in the Aviva Stadium on April 1st. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Like everyone else from Ireland camp, Healy wrestles with the tangled emotions of a disappointing campaign that ended with a performance of truly high quality. Second isn’t worth celebrating, but it was the best position available entering the final weekend.

“It was satisfactory. Whether it was second or fifth, you have to be happy with taking the best from a situation you can. We’d like to be in a better position come the last game in the next one.”

Players in any code can identify with that.

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