Kil­coyne hails Mun­ster over­com­ing a men­tal bar­rier

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Sports - GERRY THORN­LEY

Amid the eu­pho­ria in the home dress­ing room af­ter end­ing a hurt­ful four-game los­ing run to their near­est and, of late, bet­ters, there was also a pal­pa­ble sense of re­lief.

As David Kil­coyne ad­mit­ted, as much as any­thing Mun­ster over­came “a men­tal bar­rier” when Le­in­ster clipped their lead from 16-3 to 16-10 and came knock­ing in search of an im­prob­a­ble 14-man win.

“If they win that game 17-16, it’s like, ‘okay, they’ve done it, we got this close.’ But I think we’ve shown we can beat a full-strength Le­in­ster with a full-strength Mun­ster and it builds be­lief in the squad.”

“But at the same time, as Jo­hann [Van Graan] also men­tioned, we didn’t take chances there tonight. So that’s where we are at the mo­ment, de­lighted with the win but lots to work on for next week.”

Kil­coyne also in­ter­preted Le­in­ster’s ill-dis­ci­pline, as well as their se­lec­tion, as a re­flec­tion of their de­sire.

“I think it is un­fair to say that Le­in­ster’s at­ti­tude wasn’t there tonight. They picked a real qual­ity side and I would know a lot of the lads quite well. You could see the frus­tra­tion in Johnny and how much this game meant to them.”

“This game is mas­sive to ev­ery­one in Ir­ish rugby. There is no point in but­ter­ing it up. The at­ti­tude was there from Le­in­ster and you could see that in the col­li­sions, the maul and the scrum.”

“It mightn’t have been the pret­ti­est to watch. A dog­fight is ex­actly what it was. We had a home crowd, a sell-out crowd, and we re­ally wanted to de­liver for the fans. Thank­fully, we did that tonight.”

Nor was the com­po­si­tion of Ire­land’s 31-man World Cup squad on Kil­coyne’s agenda, or, in his opin­ion, on any­one else’s. “I think you lose your World Cup place when you start think­ing like that.”

“There’s so much rugby to be played be­tween now and then. You look at how Con­nacht played last night [against Ul­ster]. I thought they had an ex­cel­lent for­ward per­for­mance. Even the re­place­ments when they came on, they’re show­ing a real strength in depth, so we have a mas­sive chal­lenge this week. So the World Cup isn’t re­ally a chat down here.”

David Kil­coyne: ‘It mightn’t have been the pret­ti­est to watch’

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