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'I have very fond memories of my time at Munster but I've no regrets'

Scott Deasy walked away from his dream of playing professional rugby when he was released by Munster, and is happy with how things have worked out.

Deasy in action for Munster against Aironi in 2011.
Deasy in action for Munster against Aironi in 2011.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

WHEN SCOTT DEASY emerged from the Munster academy and made the transition into the senior ranks seamlessly, big things were expected of a young out-half who had come through alongside the likes of Peter O’Mahony, Simon Zebo and Billy Holland.

The Cork native came off the bench to make his debut against Connacht in December 2009, replacing Ronan O’Gara, and the hope was that Deasy was a genuine heir apparent in the 10 jersey.

There were some notable highlights along the way. A superb individual performance against Edinburgh in February 2010, during which he scored a virtuous try, was quickly followed by a first senior start and a man-of-the-match display against Scarlets.

He would also make his European debut in the 2010 Heineken Cup semi-final against Biarritz, again replacing O’Gara, but the Ireland international’s enduring brilliance, as well as the signing of Ian Keatley, meant Deasy’s opportunities were limited as third-choice out-half.

And at the end of the 2012/13 season, after 37 appearances during a four-year spell, Deasy was released by the southern province, although his departure was somewhat overshadowed by the retirement of Doug Howlett, which was announced on the same day.

Instead of seeking offers from other clubs, Deasy, at 23, instead decided to walk away from the professional game and take his career down a different route, working full-time in Dublin and playing club rugby with Lansdowne.

For so many players who fall out of the professional system, dropping down a few levels is often the last thing they want to do, but the former PBC man felt it was time for a change.

It was a brave, and bold, move considering his obvious talent and the fact he had offers to remain a professional in front of him, but five years on, Deasy has no regrets and looks back on his time with Munster with immense pride.

“As you’ve seen in the last four or five years the game evolves so quickly that what’s being played professionally is totally unrecognisable from what I played,” he says.

“I have very fond memories of my time there but I’ve no regrets about when I finished. I’m happy enough where I am.”

Scott Deasy Deasy played 37 times for Munster. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

With a consultancy role in the capital with Accenture, Deasy moved north with his long-term girlfriend Julie and started afresh, joining Mike Ruddock’s Lansdowne while also studying for a Masters degree.

The out-half has since become the club’s all-time leading points scorer in the Ulster Bank League and will today try and steer Lansdowne to a third league title in the biggest game of the club season at the Aviva Stadium [KO 3pm, RTÉ2].

“He’s been fantastic for us since he’s signed but having said that, I’m sure he’ll tell you himself, the first season in the club and stepping down a level and perhaps moving away from the professional game and that transition, I think he found that, not difficult, but it was a genuine transition,” Ruddock explains.

“He was going into the workplace, he was studying for a Masters, there was a lot going on. I don’t know if immediately he grasped the belonging to the tough game, if that makes sense?

“Since then, he has really immersed himself in the club. He has become a genuine leader and a fantastic player for us.

“I think he could quite easily be back in the pro game. He’s certainly playing better now than when he first arrived to us.

“That doesn’t mean that he was not a better player in Munster, but I think the transitional aspect, getting his head around that, perhaps meant he wasn’t quite as focused as he is now on the club game and us in particular.”

Deasy, now 29, agrees.

“I suppose that was probably more my issue in terms of my desire to play. I was kind of in a weird enough head space. It took five or six months to get into the groove, but I got in the end,” he admits.

“I think I’ve been quite consistent for the last few years. I have a young family now and I’m working away, so I’ve probably a better balance in my life now. I don’t really get too much time to think about rugby. I just go out and play and enjoy it.”

Scott Deasy celebrates winning The out-half helped Lansdowne win the AIL title in 2015. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Deasy comes up against a former club in Cork Constitution this afternoon, in what is a repeat of last month’s Bateman Cup final, which was won by Lansdowne thanks to another man-of-the-match performance from their classy out-half.

It was the club’s first Bateman Cup crown since 1931 and was the first part of a potential league and cup double, but Deasy knows the task they face against the defending AIL champions today.

“They’ve a very organised set-piece,” he says. “A very organised defence. A very strong pressure game. They limit their mistakes and they limit the opportunities they give the opposition, and I suppose they bring what we don’t have at the moment, they bring that little bit of experience in terms of cup finals.

“They’ve won five Munster Cup finals, five Bateman Cup finals and they’ve been in the AIL final for the last two or three years, so they’ve a lot of cup final experience that we don’t have.

“But we’re on a journey. Last year we got to the playoff stages of the league after doing quite well in the round-robin section but we didn’t have that tactical nous to see it through, whereas this year we’re probably evolved a bit, and grown a bit, and that came to fruition in the Bateman Cup final.

“We’ll see what we can do this weekend against a very strong Con team.”

Lansdowne:

15. Eamonn Mills
14. Foster Horan
13. Harry Brennan
12. Mark O’Keeffe
11. Adam Leavy
10. Scott Deasy
9. Alan Bennie

1. Peter Dooley
2. Tyrone Moran
3. Ian Prendiville (captain)
4. Josh O’Rourke
5. Jack Dwan
6. Jack O’Sullivan
7. Aaron Conneely
8. Willie Earle.

Replacements:

16. James Rael
17. Ntinga Mpiko
18. Barry Fitzpatrick
19. Charlie Rock
20. Charlie McMickan
21. Ian Fitzpatrick
22. Greg McGrath.

Cork Constitution:

15. Shane Daly
14. Liam O’Connell
13. Alex McHenry
12. Niall Kenneally (captain)
11. Rob Jermyn
10.Tomas Quinlan
9. Jason Higgins

1. Brendan Quinlan
2. Vincent O’Brien
3. Ger Sweeney
4. Brian Hayes
5. Conor Kindregan
6. Evan Mintern
7. Joe McSwiney
8. Luke Cahill.

Replacements:

16. Dave McCormack
17. Gavin Duffy
18. Dylan Murphy
19. Ross O’Neill
20. JJ O’Neill
21. Sean Duffy
22. Gerry Hurley.

Referee: David Wilkinson (IRFU).

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