JJ Hanrahan ‘unbelievably impressed’ with Neil Cronin at Munster

Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent, at Thomond Park


Colm Kinsella, Rugby Correspondent, at Thomond Park



JJ Hanrahan ‘unbelievably impressed’ with Neil Cronin at Munster

Munster scrum-half Neil Cronin, right, celebrates with tryscorer Tommy O'Donnell's during Saturday's bonus point win over the Cheetahs at Thomond Park

MUNSTER out-half JJ Hanrahan said he was been “unbelievably impressed” with how scrum-half Neil Cronin has adapted to life back in the province.

Twenty five-year-old Limerick man Cronin, who made four appearances for Munster during the 2014/15 campaign, enjoyed a highly impressive ‘second coming’ on Saturday at half-back in the 38-0 Guinness Pro14 bonus point win over the Cheetahs at Thomond Park.

Afterwards Hanrahan, who produced an eye-catching display in the Pro14 opener at out-half, before switching to full-back with the introduction of new boy Joey Carbery said of Neil Cronin: "Neilie has been awesome. I am unbelievably impressed with Neilie to be honest.

“He came in, he has a real calmness to him which is what you need from a nine. He just takes everything in his stride, nothing bothers him.

“I was in training and I was screaming at him  and he kinda gives me a little wink and you're thinking, 'jeez, this guy is pretty cool', coming straight off the AIL.

“Then, at the back end of that, James Hart came on as well and added real impetus to the game and put a great injection off the bench. I think that is what we have in this squad, we are starting to build that real good competition and fellas coming off the bench are adding to the game which is really important going forward."

Competition for the scrum-half jersey is keen at Munster with the recently arrived All-Black Alby Mathewson adding to the selection options with Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray sidelined with a neck issue at present.

Asked when he thought Murray would return to competitive action, Munster head coach Johann van Graan said the outlook looked positive.

There have been concerns that the Patrickswell man could miss the opening two rounds of Champions Cup action.

Van Graan said: “I can't comment on Conor's injury, I wasn't in a position to comment on it on Monday (at province’s weekly press briefing). He's got an injury and it's positive, but we just have to take it day-by-day.

“We just wanted to get some experience (with Mathewson’s arrival).”

Munster face Glasgow at Scotstoun on Friday, 7.35pm.