Kilcoyne hails Munster overcoming a mental barrier
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’