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'If Ireland called me I'd snap their hands off' - London Irish centre Fergus Mulchrone

The Exiles centre was born in England but is Irish qualified through his Belfast-born father.

Fergus Mulchrone goes on the charge in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Fergus Mulchrone goes on the charge in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Image: Andrew Matthews

LONDON IRISH CENTRE Fergus Mulchrone was given one last chance of the big time when he was signed from Rotherham Titans last summer.

The 28-year-old, a former teammate of Munster’s Sean Dougall, seized the opportunity and has become a mainstay in the Exiles backline. After forming a solid partnership with Eamonn Sheridan [ex Leinster] in pre-season, Mulchrone has played 21 games and scored five tries.

Mulchrone, who previously played Premiership rugby with Sale Sharks, has benefited from the Exiles new recruitment direction of securing young Irish talents, fringe players from the provinces and experienced, Irish-qualified professionals. He has become a fan favourite with the Reading-based club and has scored against some of the league’s meanest defences [such as this try against Northampton below].

FERGM Source: Motti Rugby

He will be joined, at the Madjeski Stadium, next season by the likes of Tom Court, Conor Gilsenan and Eoin Griffin. Add to that the Irish players already on the books — Ian Humphreys, Jamie Hagan and Tomás O’Leary — and it is clear to see the club is returning to its roots.

With the arrival an Ireland U20 centre [Griffin] and flanker [Gilsenan] in the summer, it may attract a scouting visit from Joe Schmidt or one of his assistants. Mulchrone is hoping that he can also catch the eye.

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He said, “My brother, Charlie, played underage rugby with Ireland but I was never capped, with Ireland or England. If haven’t heard from anyone in the Irish set-up this season but they would choose from the four provinces first. My goal is to keep working week-in, week-out, proving my worth and making an impact at London Irish. If that attracts interest from Ireland, that would be great but I am focused on my club first.”

The Emerging Ireland squad, in the summer of 2013, featured five players that ended up winning a Six Nations championship with Ireland. This summer, Neil Doak will take an Emerging Ireland team to compete in the IRB Nations Cup in Romania. While Joe Schmidt will take the senior squad to Argentina, Mulchrone says he would be happy to give up part of his summer, which annually involves a trip to his Uncle’s house near Mizen Head, to prove himself, in Romania, on the international stage.

He told TheScore.ie: “If I got a phone-call to travel with the Emerging Ireland squad I would snap their hands off.  To get any recognition at international level is a huge ambition. With Griffin and [fit again] Guy Armitage in the squad next season I’ll have a fight to hang onto to my jersey but I’m open to any Irish opportunities that may come before then.”

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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