Kilcoyne making a name for himself with Munster
Colm Kinsella talks to Limerick’s Dave Kilcoyne who has been very impressive for Munster in their two Heineken Cup games so far.
DAVE Kilcoyne is adamant there is no fear of him losing the run of himself in the wake of his meteoric rise through Munster’s pecking order through the early months of this season.
Even in the highly unlikely event of the 23-year-old Limerickman letting his new found status and fame go to his head, his Munster housemates, JJ Hanrahan and Paddy Butler, would be sure to keep him in check.
“Not too much has changed,” the modest, unassuming Kilcoyne insists, despite his emergence as Munster’s first choice loosehead prop through the opening rounds of the PRO12 and Heineken Cup this season. “My housemates would always keep me grounded. I am a local lad, who plays with UL-Bohs. I came up through the Munster ‘A’ system. I know all the familiar rugby heads around the place in that respect. Not much has changed. I live with JJ Hanrahan and Paddy Butler, the two lads who came on the last day (against Edinburgh) and did well. Those lads and a couple of the other squad members would quickly bring you back down to earth. We all keep on each other’s cases.”
Ballinacurra-born Kilcoyne shot to national prominence on the back of Rob Penney handing him starts in marquee fixtures against Ulster and Leinster in the PRO12 and Racing Metro and most recently Edinburgh in the Heineken Cup. In the process he has jumped above South African prop Wian du Preez, who has been injured for some time, and his cousin Marcus Horan in the pecking order.
Kilcoyne is now one of the genuine rising stars of Irish rugby, a player who has been ear-marked to achieve full Irish caps. Indeed, in some quarters, the former Ardscoil Ris student is being tipped for inclusion in Declan Kidney’s squad for the upcoming autumn international when it’s announced later today. Not bad for a player who had started just one game for the province before September.
In the glamour PRO12 clash with Ulster at Ravenhill last month, Kilcoyne’s direct opponent was 36-time capped All-Black tighthead John Afoa. Kilcoyne saw it as a challenge, but was keen to focus on his own game rather than the size of his opponents’ reputation.
“I was delighted to get the nod. Going up against John (Afoa) was a big challenge,” Kilcoyne admitted. I just try and take it one game at a time. I don’t focus too much on the opposition, to be honest. I focus on getting myself right. If you are in the right mindset going into a game, I think that is all you need. I wouldn’t be too preoccupied worrying about who I am up against. I was nervous, but I felt ready. It was more excitement than nerves.
“I try and do what is best for the team. We need a steady platform up front and Paul McCarthy (scrum coach) especially and also Axel (Anthony Foley) and Rob (Penney) have been brilliant with the scrum. Paul, as scrum coach, has done a lot of work there. That is evident in the way it is going.
“Wian (du Preez), myself and Marcus (Horan) are all pushing each other on. That brings out the best in people. The more competition the better. With Rob and Axel - the way they have tried to implement this new gameplan - it is a wider game that we played last year. But we are getting our hands on the ball a lot more which would have been different to last year’s style of play when we would have been more around the corner.
Earlier in the season Kilcoyne said the life of a professional rugby player was his dream job.
Kilcoyne said: “Being a professional rugby player is the job I always wanted to have. It is my dream job. People ask me do I pinch myself playing rugby for a job. 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!”
Kilcoyne was a number eight or second-row from the time he began playing as an U-8 until fourth year in Ardscoil Ris. The GAA handling skills he learned while playing with Old Christians have served him well in the professional rugby ranks and a terrific display of scrummaging and ball-carrying left him on the short-list to be awarded the Man of the Match accolade in Munster’s Heineken Cup victory over Edinburgh on Sunday.
Kilcoyne said: “I would have grown up going to Munster games at the old Thomond Park. I remember the Sale Heineken Cup match when Barry Murphy got the try. That would have been one of my favourites. Nearly every Limerick and Munster player claims to have been at the game, but I’m not sure about that!
“The atmosphere on Sunday was absolutely electric, especially in those last 10 minutes when we got a sniff of a bonus point. There was no mention of the bonus point in the week leading up to the game.
“We just felt, ‘look, get on with our job and just win the game.’ The fans really got behind us which was great. It gave us that little bit of energy As for the possibility of playing for Ireland at some stage, to be frank, I am just concentrating on Munster, taking it one game at a time.”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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