6 Dec, 21:27
Munster A tasted defeat for the first time this season as they went down 17-7 to Plymouth Albion in the British and Irish Cup on Friday night.
I think it’s an intake of great promise; there are guys there who have had excellent performances for Munster and Irish age-grade teams over the last two years. We’ve targeted a few positions where we might see needs for further down the line in one or two years.
Prop wise, we’re bringing in one prop, Shannon's Niall Horan, but there’s always the potential to bring in more based on performances. We’re very slow to contract academy players straight out of school, especially in the front row as we would like to see how they perform first at an age-grade level or in senior rugby.
There’s no fixed date with academy contracts and we offer contracts post Interpros if performances are good enough and we’ll be considering that again this year so that’s an important factor. We are constantly looking for players who are performing well and if those performances are good we will certainly look to bring guys in, so there are always opportunities there.
Looking at the guys coming in from school level, it’s a great achievement for them to come straight into the academy. Greg O'Shea has two years of Irish Schools down at this stage and has previously been an Irish Schools sprinter so he has that asset that we’re looking for, which is top line speed.
Gearoid Lyons has done really well with Irish Schools last year and certainly had an outstanding Senior Cup campaign. They’re young guys but they have a good attitude and have previously showed their mental strength so we’ve very happy bringing them into the academy programme.
It also helps that a number of the guys coming in have gone through a year in the sub academy and played at Irish U20s level, and we’ll be looking for those guys to lead the way. The academy is a tough, tough place to be sometimes with college, academy work and a lot of additional pressures for a young guy.
Over the summer most of the guys in the academy will be playing age-grade rugby so there will be a crossover with guys who will be at the Munster talent camps in Rockwell with their age-grade teams, and there’ll be guys with the seniors for two to three weeks, so there are number of opportunities for them.”