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Belfast win a turning point in Munster season, says Kilcoyne as return inter-pro looms

‘There is no point is saying that Saracens is not at the forefront of our minds,” admits the prop.

Kilcoyne carries over Tommy Bowe in October.
Kilcoyne carries over Tommy Bowe in October.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

MUNSTER’S WIN OVER Ulster at Kingspan Stadium was the one that kicked their season into gear, says Dave Kilcoyne.

In their first Pro12 game following the death of coach Anthony Foley in October, Munster trailed 14-0 after a two early tries, yet they fought back and eventually won out thanks to Rory Scannell’s late drop-goal.

A win will seal a semi-final berth in the Pro12 for the province to go with their Champions Cup last-four slot against Saracens next weekend, and Kilcoyne is excited by the challenge.

According to the Ireland loosehead that game has since been cited by the squad as one of the most important in their season, and he is hoping for a similar outcome when they welcome Les Kiss’ side to Thomond Park on Saturday.

“I think it was important to be fair. We often refer back to that game. To get a win up in Ulster is one of the hardest places to get a win. I think that was a changing point in our season,” said Kilcoyne.

“I think lads built real confidence from it and I think it propelled us into the position we are in today. It certainly helped us a lot anyway.

We were behind at half-time I remember. To go out and dig out the win was amazing for us. It really built belief in the squad.

“We went down to 14 men against Glasgow and we came back too, all these things help build confidence in a team and that win in Ravenhill was definitely a changing point.”

In recent seasons Kilcoyne has battled with James Cronin to be Munster’s number one loosehead, and despite a try-scoring start last weekend, Cronin looks set for another spell on the sidelines due to a knee injury.

Kilcoyne came on for his teammate in the 43rd minute and had another huge impact with seven powerful carries. He says the squad is excited about the possibilities of the coming weeks with two trophies still up for grabs.

“There is an incredible buzz around the place. We still won’t take away from the task at hand, playing Ulster this week. There are on quiet the run of form at present. They are undefeated in the last seven games. I know they drew with Cardiff, I just think they are still on a roll.

Les Kiss and Rassie Erasmus Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“There is no point is saying that Saracens is not at the forefront of our minds – it definitely is. We are going to talk about it, as there is not point in not talking about it.

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“It is a cliché, that we will focus on the game this weekend, we will do that this weekend, but we will be putting things in place to combat Saracens the following weekend. You couldn’t get a better challenge before playing Saracens, than a hungry Ulster side in Thomond Park.

“Irish derbies…there are knock on implications for everything. There are home semi-finals at stake, top four places, Irish selection and just how both things go. It should be a tough game.”

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