"When I was about ten I went to Rockwell for a camp. Back then it wasn't like the camps came to your local club like they do now, instead you had to travel to the likes of Rockwell where we would stay for a week. To be honest I'd say my Mum was glad to get rid of me, and she'd also have peace and quiet the week after because I'd sleep for days after coming home.
"It's there you meet for the first time many of the lads who you go on to play with for years to come at different age grades. Friendships are made and thanks to the coaches and the games they organise the camps are just loads of fun and enjoyable."
Before his move to Christian Brothers College where he won Munster Schools Senior Cup honours, Donncha played his Youths rugby with Highfield, and it was nice for the Bishopstown-man to return to where it all began.
"Much has changed from when I was playing here but I still get the butterflies in the stomach when I arrive in the dressing room. I know there's great facilities with the various halls and pitches, but that said there's nothing quite like the old dressing room to bring you back. To be fair the faces are still the same around the place with the likes of Finny (Finny O'Regan - Munster Community Rugby Officer) out there coaching today. I remember when he coached me at underage and guys like these often go without the praise they deserve, but for me it was my coaches at underage that gave me a love for the game. I probably didn't pick up as much of the skills as they would have liked, but I always enjoyed playing with them, I wanted to be around their sessions and I always looked forward to togging out the next time."
So did the Munster lock spot any future provincial second rows?
"Ya, for sure. It's weird, either I'm getting smaller or they're getting bigger and stronger because you meet the U12s and you're looking up at them. Even just watching some of their games you can see the guys who will make the next level up. It's about playing all different types of games and you can spot the hurlers, footballers and rugby players with the agility you need take it to push on. Naturally we hope that we can pull a few of these guys to become the next John Hayes, Ronan O'Gara or Peter Stringer, because they are out there attending these camps, and they'll remember the experience, so at this stage it's very important that the kids get great enjoyment from them.
"Camps are also great for skill development because the more they practice something the less they have to think about it and it just becomes a good habit. Another big thing when playing at that level is kids become very safe as they learn good technique. I remember playing underage and Finny saying to me 'Cheek to Cheek' - the cheek of an arse against the cheek of your chin. I laugh at it now but at the time it was a really good way of keeping your head in the right position for tackling."
With a new management team and new European competition to play in, Donncha and the team will demand a lot of both themselves and the team for the coming season.
"There was a time when we'd get away with saying we hope to go well this year but I'll be honest, with our past successes it's all judged on winning. Recently we've been thereabouts with two semi-finals in Europe but now it's time to close that gap and take the final step.
"People talk about transition in the team, but in the dressing room not a whole lot changes, you're surrounded by a group of competitive individuals who want to win, and the same applies to the coaching set up - a group of Munster-men who want to see us do well, who demand and give their time towards really high standards. All that combined puts us in a really good place."
As Munster's most capped player and the most senior player on the team, when asked if he now takes on more of a mentoring role with the younger players, Donncha replied laughing,
"No, not at all. Of course I get on well with the lads and talk away to them, but I remember as a young fella I found it really hard to get into the team and for me I think that's the way it should be. Everyone I train with, the young guys included, are all trying to get on the team so I don't see myself as any different from them other than the fact I've played for a few more years. There are things you pick up with experience but pre-season is as tough for me as it is for them."
For a full list of this year's Munster Rugby Summer Camps and to book places online please click here.
Was it something Ivan said??
See more pictures from the Munster Rugby Highfield Summer Camp by clicking here.