Kilcoyne looks like Limerick’s next top prop
Limerick Leader rugby correspondent Colm Kinsella talks to Munster’s promising young prop Dave Kilcoyne.
IT says a lot about how highly regarded Dave Kilcoyne is within the Munster set-up that coach Rob Penney handed him his first start of the season against Ulster, when his direct opponent would be 36-time capped All-Black tighthead, John Afoa.
While Munster came up short in Friday’s absorbing PRO12 contest at Ravenhill, Kilcoyne acquitted himself well, scrummaging impressively and proving especially effective in the loose. It seems only a matter of time before the young Limerickman adds to his tally of seven competitive appearances for the province.
Twenty three-year-old Kilcoyne admits the life of a professional rugby player is his dream job. He continues to strive at improving and his rise through the ranks at Munster has been steady. Munster have traditionally had a bountiful supply of loosehead props and Kilcoyne represents the younger generation, the future. He is a powerful scrummager, but also very mobile around the pitch, ever-willing to make tackles and carry ball.
Dave Kilcoyne said: “Being a professional rugby player is the job I always wanted to have. It is my dream job. People ask me if I pinch myself being able to play rugby for a living. I wouldn’t look on it as a job, really. It is more just what I wanted to do. The fact I get paid to do it is a bonus. I would do it for free!”
“I am very impatient in terms of wanting to play every game. But I have learned with propping, it is a different position to others. Every game you play, every time you train with other lads in the squad you seem to learn more and more and you progress more.
“I am lucky this season to be on the bench. I hope to keep pushing on. I know time is on your side as a prop, but I suppose, like everything, I want to be playing. My theory is that you learn through playing.”
Born in Ballinacurra, Kilcoyne mixed GAA with Old Christians, soccer with Summerville and rugby with UL-Bohemian while growing up.
At school in Ardscoil Ris, the dynamic Kilcoyne played on a side which reached a Munster Schools Junior Cup final. Kilcoyne began his rugby career as a back-row forward, but moved up to the front row while in school.
“I only moved front row in fourth year in school. Up until that, I was number eight,” Dave Kilcoyne explained.
“From U-8s up I was number eight or second row. I found my feet in the front row, I feel. I played Munster Schools, U-19s and U-20s. We won two All-Ireland U-20s with UL-Bohs’ and I got selected to come into the Munster sub-Academy. Then I got into the Munster Academy and after two years, I went onto a full contract this year.
“I think the time playing U-20s with UL-Bohs’ helped me mature as a player. I came from a good year of Senior Cup rugby in school with Ardscoil in sixth year. When we won those two U-20 All-Irelands with the club, it helped me mature as a player. To win it a second year was a big deal with me,
“I got into the Academy on the back of that and started training in a professional environment. It all changed. I now have a full contract.
“Last year I was in the Academy, but trained full-time with the seniors. The difference is that you make sacrifices in your social life. I was lucky in that I managed to get my Degree out of the way early. I did Accounting and Finance in UL and got a 2:1 in that. I was happy. I was always linked in with UL-Bohs, going to college out here, training out here.
“The timing seemed perfect, getting the full contract with Munster just when I had finished college. It could not have worked out better.”
Kilcoyne’s first appearance for Munster’s senior side came on St Stephen’s Day last year when he was sprung from the bench in the PRO12 clash with Connacht.
Kilcoyne recalled: “I played a pre-season friendlies a few seasons ago with Munster and was on the bench a few times. But I made my senior debut against Connacht on St Stephen’s Day last year.
“All my family was there. It was a great occasion. My parents would have helped me out a lot the whole way through college and with everything.
“I think they were very proud. I was happy for them.”
Last season, Kilcoyne played a critical role in UL-Bohs’ promotion to the top flight of the All-Ireland League. On occasions over the coming season when he is not involved with Munster at senior level, Kilcoyne will swap the red of the province for the red of the club as the Annacotty side look to cement their position in the top flight.
“Cully (Colm Tucker) coming in has really brought something to the team,” Dave Kilcoyne said.
“The players hold him in such high regard. Every time lads go out they really want to play. Cully has really pushed the club on. The goal now is to win Division 1A. We have a core group of lads who were involved in winning two U-20s All-Ireland titles, winning 1B last year.
“I know it will be a step up this season, but a few of us have played in the top division before in our first year.
“Cully, with his experience with Shannon, will help push the team on.
“People say that the club game is not as vibrant as it once was 10 or 15 years ago when the AIL was bigger, but hopefully now with a fourth Limerick team playing in 1A, that will create more interest and draw bigger crowds to games. The clubs need supporters to turn out.
“We all know people are going through tough economic times, but the more people support the clubs the better.”
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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