Dublin: 3°C Saturday 27 November 2021

Ex-Connacht lock Kearney warns Westerners they won't have a monopoly on hunger

Far from having a foot in both camps, Mick Kearney says it’s ‘radio silence’ with his old team-mates before Saturday’s Pro12 final.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

IT’S EASY TO look at the match-up between provinces east and west in Saturday’s Pro12 Grand Final and see clearly defined lines between black and white.

Look a little closer, however, and you’ll see bridges across the Shannon, and plenty of players over the years who have used them to further their careers.

For Clontarf man Mick Kearney, his return to his home province took a hell of a long time to become anything close to a ‘dream move’. But last Friday night at the RDS, with Leinster firing on all cylinders and the crowd baying for blood-thirsty tackles, he could finally feel like he had made the grade. Or at least he would if he wasn’t being driven on by the competition from Ross Molony and Hayden Triggs for that slot along side Devin Toner.

“The environment I’m in at the moment, everyone performs at such a high level on and off the pitch in terms of diet and training approach. I know if I don’t go out and perform my best someone else will slip in there.”

Kearney spent four years in Connacht before receiving the call to come home. A troublesome toe injury brought a premature time to his time out west and gave him a frustrating wait until just three months ago to pull on a blue shirt.

He laughs off a suggestion that some part of him might have nagged about making the wrong move at exactly the wrong time:

“When I was injured the only thing I was thinking about was getting back to playing some form of rugby. Whether that was with Clontarf or Leinster A, I just wanted to be back out doing my job.”

When asked whether he may feel a touch of guilt attempting to kill the silverware dreams of his ex-team-mates, though, he’s deadly serious. On Saturday he’ll play alongside men with many medals and international caps to his name. But he’s not yet one of them.

I’d love to go into more detail, but I haven’t won any trophies either.

“I was part of a few years of tough times down there, but I’m as keen to win something now as they are.”

He adds: ”I’m trying to be the fella that rains on their parade now. Fair play to them, they’ve had a great season. We’re just trying to put on a performance to turn them over.”

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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