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Munster scrum-half Cronin takes inspiration from big brother's career

The Limerick native is hoping to build on his recent form when the province travel to Scarlets this weekend.

MUNSTER SCRUM-HALF Neil Cronin says his older brother Sean continues to be a massive inspiration after he finally got his first Six Nations start for Ireland at the weekend. 

Leinster hooker Cronin won his 68th cap for Ireland in their 26-16 win over Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Sunday.

Neil Cronin Cronin in training at UL this week. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

And 12 appearances into his Munster career 26-year-old Cronin, who only signed his first professional contract with the province before the start of the current campaign after taking a break from teaching, says he dreams of wearing Ireland green one day too.

“You’re following Sean’s career. I don’t know how he’s following mine but he’s taking a little more of an interest this year because there’s a rivalry there,” said Cronin.

“Sean signed for Connacht at a relatively young age when I’d only have been in school at the time. I followed his career for so long and I was 14 when he signed his first professional contract. It was something I thought I could always aspire to.

“Watching him develop and going from Connacht and getting his first international cap, you’re saying to yourself, if he can do it, why can’t I?

“Sean’s help is massive because there have been games where I didn’t do my best. He’s there for me and understands.

“No one is going to go through their career, play every game in terms of their performance and outcome, so to have someone who has also gone through that and can talk to you and open up to you about it because you’re a relative and they understand.

“Sometimes when I feel I haven’t played very well, even if it’s something very small, like everyone is watching me or I made that mistake, what kind of eejit am I.

“To have someone to say to you, these things happen, it’s not the end of the world, it makes it a lot easier.”

Neil Cronin The scrum-half speaking to media. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

The Limerick native has played eight times for the southern province this season, and started last Friday’s brilliant 19-13 win over Ospreys at Liberty Stadium.

“Friday was a big match for me and my first start in Wales,” the nine continued ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Scarlets [KO 5pm, eir Sport/Premier Sports/TG4].

“It was an important win especially with Glasgow having a bonus point win against Connacht. They are really on our heels only a point behind us.

“They have Zebre this weekend and we have Scarlets away. We just have to focus on ourselves, at the moment it’s in our hands with five matches left in the league.”

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Daragh Small

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