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Alan Quinlan training during the week in Clanwilliam RFC.
Dan Sheridan
It's Performance That Counts
12 December 2009, 8:37 am
They call it Clanwilliam Park where Munster spent two days training this week but it could easily be called Quinlan Park if all the team photographs on the wall of the clubhouse are anything to go by.
And on the right of the President's Room as you enter there's the framed international Youth jersey Tommy O'Donnell wore and it sits besides the first senior international jersey Quinlan wore back in 1999 although, like O'Donnell, he began his rise in the Youth international team he captained in 1993 (v Scotland).

The first team photograph Quinlan appears in is the Under 12s and there's ones that feature his brother John and cousin David and more of Alan himself as he got bigger and bolder. However, on this escorted tour, he's quick first to point out his father John in the scrum cap and his Uncle Andy who sadly passed away on a weekend when Alan was over in Bath on Heineken Cup duty.

"It's a great club, it really is. Great characters and they've been a great support to me and my family down the years. " he says. "It's nice to be able to come out here, back to my roots and train with the Munster squad."

Looking ahead to the weekend and the resumption of the Magners League, Quinlan's focus remains firmly on the Ospreys and nothing else. "The lay-off was good to get, though mind you I had been hoping I wouldn't be getting it." he says obviously with the international series just past in mind. "It would have been good to be involved," he admits, " but that's the way it goes.

"I am looking forward to the game tomorrow and it's a very important one the way this Magners League is going. There are a lot of contenders and I think we need to produce a performance against Ospreys on Saturday. Not in any sense to lay down a marker, just from our own point of view.

"We know we've been patchy up to now. There's reasons for that I think, fellas coming and going, injury and the like, but we wont dwell on that. We know it's in our own hands to improve on the pitch. The coaches, Tony, Laurie, Dutchy and Axel have been doing a great job and there have been times I think when we might have let them down a bit. So we've got to address that.

"And I don't necessarily think that it will happen all of a sudden. There will be times in games when things aren't going right for a team. Happens to them all. But I think we've got to be patient and I know we have the belief in ourselves and that's very important."

This weekend marks the start of a crucial period in Munster's season with this game tomorrow and then the back to back matches against Perpignan. But Quinlan has only one side in his mind right now.

"This weekend is all about Magners League and the game against Ospreys. Nothing else matters in the rugby sense.It's as simple as that. We'll deal with this one first and then shift our attention to the French matches."

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