17 May, 13:32
A selection of players from the Daughters of Charity in Munster recently took part in a challenge match at Garryowen Rugby Club.
John is a keen sportsman having previously represented Cork in All-Ireland hurling at minor level.
Sub-academy player Fitzgerald has been involved in the inaugural ‘Munster Talent Camp’ since the beginning of July and will be a key player in Munster’s upcoming U20 campaign.
“The training we are getting here is unbelievable and pretty intense. There’s two training sessions on Tuesday, one in the morning and one after lunch. We have gym sessions on Wednesday and then head back out to the pitch. Another two training sessions follow on Thursday”.
Feeling confident about upcoming matches Fitzgerald said “We feel we are doing well with our preparations, there’s a huge buzz around the camp and there is a good sense of unity within the squad”.
“We have a pretty ambitious series of friendly matches starting next week-end and will be commencing our interprovincial campaign in early September where we hope we will reap the rewards for all the time we are putting in”.
John, a No. 8, paid tribute to ex Munster and Ireland player Denis Leamy, who has been helping out with position specific modules throughout the programme.
“You grow up watching and admiring him and to find yourself training with him is a bit mind blowing to be honest. Denis has helped us all raise our standards and for me personally, he has helped me develop in my particular position. With all his experience, he can literally go through every part of play step by step for you and advise you of what to do in any given scenario”.
The Talent Camp Programme also focuses on educational modules from diet and nutrition to anti-doping awareness.
“You learn loads about nutrition and the importance of hydration. I’ve picked up on lots of things I didn’t know before I came here which has helped me become more disciplined with my eating habits.”
John acknowledged the U20 team management that have been working hard behind the scenes to get the best out of the players.
“I’d like to thank all the coaches who are putting so much effort into getting us right for the interpros. Thanks also to our team manager Graham Burns who does a lot of work off the pitch that people don’t see”.
“Paul O’Brien, our video analyst has also been great. It’s a huge advantage to be able to go back to your room after training and visualise the things that you are doing right and wrong and see where you can improve in various areas”.
Munster U20s will kick off their interpro series on Friday, 7th September in Musgrave Park. Admission is free for all Munster Rugby interprovincial home games.
Munster U20 Interpro Fixtures
Munster v Connacht, Friday, 7th Sept., Musgrave Park, ko 7.30pm
Leinster v Munster, Friday, 14th Sept., Donnybrook, ko 7.30pm
Munster v Ulster, Friday, 21st Sept., Musgrave Park, ko 7.30pm
Munster U20 Friendly Matches
Munster v Connacht, Thursday, 16th August, Annacotty, ko 4.30pm
Munster v Italy, Tuesday, 21st August, Musgrave Park, ko 7.30pm
Sale Sharks v Munster, Monday, 27th August, Manchester, 7.30pm
Munster v UL Bohs/Bruff, Friday, 31st August, venue & ko TBC