"Selection began with trials last Christmas followed by an on-going process throughout the Munster Schools Senior Cup campaign. Every Wednesday, we would have a trial match with morning gym sessions as well twice a week. We were also training with our schools team so there was a lot going on."
Following his selection on the Munster Under 18 Schools squad for the second consecutive year, Paul attended the Munster Rugby Talent Camp five week summer programme at Rockwell College and feels the level of training has increased from last season.
"There was definitely a change in intensity this year. Every Wednesday we took part in a strongman competition which included tug of war and flipping tyres which is very good to develop your strength and fitness. That was very tough, whereas last year we only had a light gym session on the Wednesday so we were definitely being pushed harder."
"The Talent Camp helps so much for your Interpro preparation. In the past the squad used to travel from all over Munster to one place to train for an hour or so which made it difficult for them to really get to know one another, whereas in Rockwell you are together for three days and two nights a week which is unbelievable for team bonding. There's a really good spirit around our squad since the camp and we know each other very well which really helps."
"We also really improved on our fitness levels this year. We had a 10 minute conditioning blast at the end of each training session and the coaches were also really good with their warm-up drills. There was a lot of speed work so we were all getting much faster week by week. "
Kiernan, who missed the first two games in last year's series due to a broken hand says the squad are confident they can improve on their one victory last season.
"We only beat one side, Connacht, so this year we will be looking for three out of three. We will play Connacht this time round in Limerick (Garryowen) and Ulster in Musgrave Park on 21st September. Our away game is against Leinster so I suppose that will be a lot trickier but I really think if we play the way we have been playing in our warm-up games we'll do really well."
"Thankfully we have no injuries. We did loads of injury prevention exercises every morning in Rockwell and it looks like that has paid off. We did assisted stretching drills including the bolt flow stretch and foam rolling which is very good for sore muscles and really helps with recovery."
Following on from the Talent Camp Paul says the squad are continuing to focus on maintaining their fitness and conditioning leading up to their competitive games.
"At the moment we have three training sessions a week and a training match at the week-end in Cork, Limerick or Rockwell. We are also going away to France for a practice match (Saturday, 31st August) against Aquitaine U18's which I'm really looking forward to. It's scheduled a week before our Leinster fixture which will be really good preparation for us."
Speaking about representing his province for the second time this September the young centre said "It's such an honour. You've sacrificed your whole summer and it's an amazing feeling to go out there and get on the pitch. When you look around and see yourself and your team-mates wearing the same jerseys as the heroes you've watched every week since you were young it really gives you an unreal sense of pride."
"Brian O'Driscoll, who plays in my position, is someone who I really look up to. I also have so much respect for Munster Captain Peter O'Mahony. I just love his leadership qualities and the way he gives it everything on the pitch. I've talked to him a few times and he's been very encouraging."
"My long term goal is to hopefully play for Munster and Ireland. I'll be doing my Leaving Cert next year so I'll have a busy time ahead. I don't know what I want to do yet in college but I'll give it a lash anyway! It will be tough to balance both the studies and the rugby and I know the social life will suffer a bit but hopefully it will all be worth it."