Skip to content

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Stuart McCloskey has won just three caps for Ireland.
Stuart McCloskey has won just three caps for Ireland.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

'I am proud of my three caps for Ireland but could have had a few more'

Stuart McCloskey opens up about his frustration at missing out on opportunities with Ireland during the Schmidt years.
Oct 16th 2020, 2:52 PM 43,292 16

Updated Oct 16th 2020, 9:33 PM

STUART MCCLOSKEY ADMITS he found it hard to be on the outside looking in.

A crowd favourite at Ravenhill, the Ulster centre was underused by Joe Schmidt during the former coach’s time in charge of Ireland. And it remains a sore point, not just because three caps is a paltry return for a player with that kind of talent, but also because of what Ireland achieved under Schmidt, a grand slam in 2018 and victories over the All Blacks both that year and also in 2016.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t (frustrated not to have won more caps),” McCloskey said today. “Obviously it is very special to have three caps but I feel like I have played better than that over the last seven or eight years. Maybe, I could have had a few more.

“A few (more) decisions could have went my way but that is just the way it goes sometimes. It also has to be said that the guys who were picked all played well and Ireland were winning things.

“There are five quality players in the centre for Ireland – so we have serious depth, serious talent to choose from,” McCloskey said. “We have all pushed each other on to a higher level.

“I don’t really play any other position other than 12 so whoever gets the start against Italy and France, Bundee (Aki), Robbie (Henshaw) or myself, will do a good job – I know that.

“In this respect, I do feel I have played well to have stayed in contention for this length of time. It is always nice to be selected.

“I was probably more frustrated about not playing (for Ireland) when I was 23 or 24. With age comes perspective and I can see the guys selected, Bundee and Robbie, were playing well. But hopefully I can be relied upon if and when I do get a call.”

Be part
of the team

Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership.

Become a Member

As the years slipped by, did McCloskey ever fear his time in an Ireland shirt had passed?

“Yes and no,” he said in response, “because I was always lucky enough to be a regular starter for Ulster through the last five or six years. And I was playing quite well.

“So (the door) was never completely closed and I never wanted it to be closed.

“I’m now 28 – so had I not got the call for another year then I probably would have said at that point that this was it for me.

“At least I can say, I gave it a good rattle and tried my best at it.

“I am happy to be here now, back in the camp, happy to be on board and hopefully I can get a chance over the following eight weeks.”

Send a tip to the author

Garry Doyle


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a comment

    cancel reply
    Back to top