The first game of the season is nearly upon us and the end of preseason is within touching distance. As I write the final edition of my preseason diary I can't help but feel excited and optimistic about what lies ahead for us this year.
Once again we have put down a highly demanding but highly beneficial summer of training. We hope to reap the rewards of this annual passage through hell by putting ourselves in a position to challenge for silverware in May of next year.
Everyone has bought into the approach that has been implemented by our new coaching team. They have invigorated the squad in a very short space of time. Players and supporters alike are looking forward to seeing this approach in action next Saturday against Gloucester and the following Friday against London Irish.
Last week we welcomed another new recruit to the squad for the coming season. Sydney native Andrew Smith joins us from the Brumbies after several successful seasons in the Southern Hemisphere. We also welcomed our new head physiotherapist Shea McAleer who arrives from Exeter Chiefs. Shea formerly represented the Monaghan footballers at intercounty level and is the latest Munster physio to come with a strong GAA pedigree. We look forward to helping them both settle into life in Munster. Hopefully it will be a rewarding time for them on and off the pitch.
On a personal level, I feel like a drag racer at the start line waiting for the light to go green. Everything feels like it is in working condition and all that remains is for me to get the thumbs up from the physio department before I can return to play. I hope to resume full contact in the coming days and be available for selection for our game against London Irish, provided I stay out of harm's way (touch wood!).
This means that despite the fact that matches resume next week, it will be preseason business as usual for me, as well as for the considerable number of international tourists who are not quite out of the woods yet. The feedback from the S&C department has been very positive this preseason, which gives us another reason to start the season brimming with confidence. Everything has been put in place for us, the players, to hit the ground running on the 5th of September and kick-start a successful campaign. All that remains is for us to do just that.
I'd like to thank everyone who joined me for my analysis of preseason 2014 for the past seven weeks. I have thoroughly enjoyed sitting down to put Duncan's Diary together every Sunday and hope to contribute to the website again in the near future. I'll see you all in Thomond Park and Musgrave Park throughout the season.