Colm Kinsella talks to veteran prop Marcus Horan as he helps Shannon out while he struggles to get game-time with Munster.
MARCUS Horan admits it has been tough this season, trying to cope with a lack of game time in Munster’s marquee Heineken Cup and RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures.
Thirty five-year-old Horan has started just two games for the province this term as Irish prop Dave Kilcoyne and South African Wian du Preez jumped ahead of him in the pecking order.
With Kilcoyne currently away on Six Nations duty with Ireland in the coming weeks, Horan is likely to get the opportunity to grow his total number of appearances for Munster this season which stands at nine.
On Friday night, Horan lined out at loosehead prop in Shannon’s precious bonus point win over UL-Bohs at Thomond Park in the AIL. As someone who built his reputation on powerful displays for his club side, Horan is always happy to don the Shannon shirt when Munster don’t require his services.
Horan is out of contract at the end of the season and a decision on his future with Munster is expected soon.
Horan, who has played 216 games times for Munster, said: “It is always great to come back to the club. It’s been happening for me over the past couple of years and it is bitter sweet in a way because I am not involved with Munster back here.
“There are some great young lads, some great talent there. Shannon have been a bit in the doldrums of late, but they have been unlucky in a lot of the games. They showed good spirit against UL-Bohs and hopefully it’s a case of onwards and upwards from here for them.
“I have always been a talker in the dressing room. It is good for me too, trying to get myself going. It is difficult coming into the set-up like that. To be honest, I didn’t know a lot of the guys coming in. That bit of Shannon pride is always in me. It doesn’t sit well to see where the club is at the moment.
“That bit of passion comes in. There are guys in the dressing room who are driving it on.
“Hopefully, the team can kick on from here and get a few more wins. It doesn’t sit well with a lot of guys in the club where we are. That is the driving force for them now.
“There is a massive game coming up for Shannon next week against Clontarf. The boys know they left it behind them when the sides met in Coonagh a few weeks back. But there is a bit of confidence back in the side. You can see fellas enjoying themselves. That has to be a plus for them.
“I don’t know where I stand with the (upcoming) Rabo matches. I will look to keep tipping away. Being brutally honest, it is very frustrating, but I have to keep my head down and work hard. Munster are going well at the moment. Making the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup is great.
“With the Irish boys away, there is a big test for the guys in the squad to kick on in the Rabo. Our loss to Cardiff set us back a bit. We have some tough games coming up.”
Horan was one of two Munster players who lined out for Shannon on Friday night. Exciting young utility back Luke O’Dea bagged a try for the ‘Parish side’ as he works his way back to full fitness.
“It is great for Luke to come back. The lads are at his age group. He slots in so well,” Horan said.
“He is a good guy for the other lads to play off and play beside. The other players learn off him. Hopefully, he will kick on from here with Munster too.”
Horan will take a keen interest in Ireland’s Six Nations clash with England at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday. The vastly experienced prop believes the timing of the fixture is good from an Irish point of view.
“The Six Nations is all about momentum,” Horan stressed.
“Ireland are getting England at a good time. It doesn’t suit Ireland to get England last up or even late on in the Championship.
“It is going to be a tough championship. I don’t think there is much between any of the teams. The years you had England and France at home is one you fancy your chances a bit more. Paris and London are tough places to go, because of their playing numbers and the nations they are. The year the Grand Slam was won, we had both of them at home.
“Lads are battling for positions in the Lions squad as well. You wonder will that bring the best out of players for this Six Nations.
“Then you look at France who don’t have anything like that to worry about. The cream will rise to the top. If you are good enough you will go on the Lions tour.”