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Tadhg Furlong 'an inspiration to the country folk' and Leinster team-mate Dooley

The Offaly loosehead says the rising star of Ireland’s front row has put himself in Lions contention.

THOSE OF YOU familiar with the RDS, even if only through a television screen, will have noticed Leinster’s “12 county army” banners posted in the stands. If not, you’ll get the idea from this picture from Australia’s training session at the ground last week.

Michael Cheika talks to the squad Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

In recent years the eastern province has put in a concerted effort to shake the image of them as ‘a D4 side’ by broadening their support base far beyond city limits.

There’s only so much fervour you can whip up with pre-season training sessions and half-time mini rugby showcases though. What really builds interest and makes rugby fans outside of the traditional base identify with Leinster is the sight of someone from not very far away going right to the top.

So from time to time the province have moved to highlight the home county of their players to show their squad is made up of products from Meath, Louth, Wicklow, Carlow, Kilkenny, Offaly, Westmeath and Wexford on top of the familiar feeder clubs in Dublin and Kildare.

Devin Toner and Tadhg Furlong celebrate Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“Unreal,” says Offaly’s Peter Dooley about his fellow Leinster front row Tadhg Furlong, who has spent the month making big waves on the international scene.

“I suppose he’s an inspiration to the country folk and that.”

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Before you even look at the in-form options in other provinces, Dooley has two team-mates forming a firm roadblock in his path to becoming an international loosehead at present.

However, the same could have been said of Furlong not very long ago when Marty Moore was the main challenger to Mike Ross at tighthead. Furlong will always make sure to play down the speed of his ascent to the pinnacle of the game, but for the 22-year-old Dooley, it’s a strong argument to continue along the path in his home province.

Peter Dooley Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“For a tighthead to be so good around the park is unreal, like. His set-piece can’t be questioned as well. It was excellent to see and I suppose it gives you some inspiration, what can be done at that international level.”

“He was playing well for Leinster the last few weeks and he’s really brought that through to international level. He even drove it on another notch. He’s put his hands up for Lions contention now and he’s coming into great form, the year that’s in it.”

Meanwhile, far from the front row, wing Barry Daly will face a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday after his 41st minute red card in the defeat to the Scarlets on Friday.

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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