Robbie Stephenson/INPHO Dave Kearney is hoping to push back into Ireland contention.

Kearney hoping for Ireland call as cousin Biden gets elected in the US

The 31-year-old wing has had a torrid time with injuries in recent years.

HAVING VISITED HIM at the White House back in 2016, Dave and Rob Kearney have been delighted to see their cousin, Joe Biden, defeating Donald Trump in the US presidential election race in recent times.

They are only sixth or seventh cousins but there has been a relationship there ever since Biden discovered the family links before a trip to Ireland four years ago, when he met the Kearney brothers at Farmleigh House.

So, like many, many others around the world, they have been thrilled to watch the 77-year-old ending Trump’s presidency.

“My Dad would have sent an email and would have been in contact with his brother, Jim, who was the first guy we would have met when he came over,” said Dave this week.

“His son was actually keen on his rugby, he was playing in university over there, so that’s how the conversation kind of first sparked when Joe came over to Ireland and to Louth.

“Hopefully, I’ll get to congratulate him in person maybe. It is kind of strange. We’re obviously not first cousins or anything like that, but it’s definitely cool. It’s not something everyone can say, that they have some sort of connection to the President. 

“Myself and Rob went over when he was Vice-President a couple of years ago, which was good craic, so hopefully we get another trip out of it.”

While a visit to the States at some point in the future definitely appeals, Kearney has plenty on his plate at home for now. 

The 31-year-old has been luckless on the injury front in recent seasons and points out that he would have expected to hit the 150-cap milestone with Leinster much earlier than a few weeks ago.

james-lowe-and-dave-kearney Dan Sheridan / INPHO Kearney trained with Ireland before the recent Italy game. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Kearney is now back fit and firing with Leinster but his latest issue – a hamstring tear – came at a bad time. The Louth man pulled up injured in the first game of rugby’s restart in August as Leinster beat Munster.

That deprived Kearney of the chance to show good form coming into Ireland’s busy autumn schedule and though he trained with the wider squad before the recent game against Italy, he isn’t back in with Andy Farrell’s group for the Autumn Nations Cup.

The 19-times capped wing is, however, hopeful that if he keeps impressing for Leinster, his chance in green will come again.

“I still back my confidence and my ability,” said Kearney. “I obviously haven’t had much game time this season apart from the last few weeks, but I’m still confident I can deliver on that stage. I still have my sights set on getting back in at some stage.”

James Lowe, who is set for his debut against Wales this evening, is one of the players who has pushed past Kearney in the pecking order but there are no grudges on the latter’s part at seeing a project player capped ahead of him.

“When they bring in someone like that when Lowey came over a few years ago, you kind of know you’re going to eventually competing with him if he does make it to that stage, so you kind of come to terms with it,” said Kearney.

“Rules are rules and that’s the way it is. Unfortunately for players who are in the same position as project players, there is just more competition.”

Farrell has hinted at adding more players to his Ireland squad ahead of the Georgia game on 29 November, so Kearney will strive to shine for Leinster again on Monday against Edinburgh and beyond.

He is one of the senior figures in a young Leinster squad at the moment and says some team-mates – “Luke McGrath in particular” – have been quick to remind him of his age.

dave-kearney-scores-a-try Morgan Treacy / INPHO Kearney has been brilliant for Leinster whenever fit. Morgan Treacy / INPHO / INPHO

While Kearney has lots of experience, Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancasters are encouraging an environment where even the youngest players speak up.

“They really push lads to come in, young players especially, and have a point of view on things, have an opinion,” explained Kearney.

“Whether that’s games we look over like Australia v New Zealand games, different Champions Cup games, Six Nations games – they want you to come in with a point of view. They encourage lads to step up and speak, which is important when you have a group with lots of younger players.

“When Stuart and Leo ask a question, there might be a bit of silence because people consider themselves young. But that’s not allowed to happen, it’s quite the opposite. Everyone has an opinion but at the same time, it’s up to older lads to talk a bit more in meetings and on the pitch. I probably find myself speaking a bit more than I used to.

“Performances have been good over the last few weeks, especially with the amount of young lads we have coming in.”

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