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Kearney brothers eager to finish the job their Leinster teammates have started

The last time the brothers were on the field together, Leinster won their third Heineken Cup.

Rob and Dave Kearney celebrate a Leinster try with Sean Cronin (right).
Rob and Dave Kearney celebrate a Leinster try with Sean Cronin (right).
Image: INPHO - Ryan Byrne

DAVE KEARNEY MADE his Leinster debut in May 2009.

Newport Gwent Dragons were the victorious opposition, Kearney replaced Kyle Tonetti at inside centre and his elder brother, Rob, was on the left wing. Times have changed.

“We haven’t played together a huge amount of times since then,” Rob told TheScore.ie.

“I was out for a while one season (2010/11) and Dave has had a couple of setbacks too. Hopefully by the end of the season we’ll get to have a little bit of time on the field together.”

The on-pitch reunion will most likely come in January now as Rob underwent surgery on a slipped disc in his back on Thursday.

Dave, meanwhile, lines out on the right wing against Cardiff Blues at the RDS this evening for his season’s debut following a frustrating recovery from a hip injury.

Heading in the same direction

Rob and Dave, having displayed a proficiency at Gaelic Football and rugby, followed in the family traditions by attending Clongowes Wood College in Kildare, like their older brother Richard, an uncle and a grandfather before them.

Colin O’Hare, a Leinster Community Development Officer in the north east region, believes the emergence of the Kearney brothers has sparked a rugby revolution in the region.

“It means a huge amount to the both of us, obviously with us having grown up there.” said Rob.

It’s nice that we can get home two or three times a month and if there is anything going on in Dundalk Rugby Club, or if there are other events going on, we a really happy to help. It’s important not to lose sight of our roots.

“It is amazing to see over the past three, four years how much more of the locals have become keen followers of the game and rugby supporters.”

Rob and David Kearney speaking at the launch of Medal of Honor Warfighter, which was released on Friday. (Barry Cregg: Sportsfile)

Dave will earn his 40th Leinster cap against the Blues, winning the bulk of them in an impressive 2011/12 season, and is firmly enshrined in the Leinster way.

“That’s the standard that you hold for yourself and the standard you want to live up to,” he told TheScore.ie. ”You want to win every game you play. A team is never going to achieve unless they set the bar high.”

Long-term hopes

The injury woes of Leinster and Ireland’s number one fullback mean talk of Six Nations and next summer’s Lions tour to Australia is akin to buying a wedding suit before making the proposal.

However, we couldn’t resist asking Rob about Round Two against Wallaby superstar Kurtley Beale. The duo clashed in the skies above Eden Park at the World Cup in 2011, with the Irishman emerging the winner on points, much like his team

“That’s the beauty of sport,” says Kearney. “You never know what is going to happen over a space of a few months.” He added:

Of course, the Lions tour is in the back of your mind from as early as the beginning of the season but you can never lose sight of what you have in front of you on a week to week basis.

“I know it probably sounds clichéd,” says Kearney, “but if you start to lose sight of the immediate future, your performances will start to suffer, things will start to spiral and, come Lions time, you’ll be in the worst form of your life and no coach is going to want you anywhere near a Lions team.”

The last time the Kearneys were on the pitch together for Leinster, the province won the Heineken Cup.

Rob and Dave are hoping to feature together a lot sooner than the business end of 2012/13 – Dundalk still has a few unconverted Leinster fans.

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Patrick McCarry

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