Given the number of headlines sent to print and the variety of plaudits doled out for Ireland’s performances in November, it has been telling that very few of those made a hero of Devin Toner, one of only two Irish players to have gone the full 80 minutes in the three games against Southern Hemisphere opposition. Continue reading
The Mole is back, three weeks into the domestic season, just like an international. Is the player management program of any benefit? We’re not sure either, so let’s just ease back into things and see how we get on. Continue reading
Connacht is the runt of the litter of Irish rugby. While there’s various dynamics at play between Leinster, Munster and Ulster, the attitude towards Connacht is that they’re everyone’s favourite underdog and that it’s a bitch of an away trip, to mix canine metaphors.
Connacht have confirmed a couple of really intelligent signings in former Bristol and Leinster hooker Jason Harris-Wright and Galwegians centre/fullback Brian Murphy. Continue reading
Munster hooker Denis Fogarty is off to Aurillac at the end of the season. Aurillac currently play in the Pro D2 [France’s professional second division] and are coached by former Ulster, Ireland and Lions second row Jeremy Davidson. They’re not doing too well at the moment and are currently stuck in eleventh place of a sixteen team league, having won less than half their matches. Continue reading
“Be careful what you wish for: you just might get it.”
What a terrible, hack-ish way to start off. Don’t worry, it’s all straight downhill from here.
Connacht went into the game against Harlequins, the last game of their inaugural Heineken Cup campaign, with nothing to play for but pride. That seemed to do it for them, however, as they put in a monumental effort to deny the high-flying leaders of the Aviva Premiership both the win and the chance to go to the quarter-finals. Continue reading
Almost with a sense of perversity, it must be pointed out that the Irish run cannot continue forever. Perhaps Ulster have not yet had the proverbial “rub of the green” in the Heineken Cup this season – and Connacht certainly haven’t – but neither Munster nor Leinster can claim that to be the case. Continue reading
On the strength of the weekend’s games, James Downey is Ireland’s best number 12 at the moment. This Mole has long rejected calls for Downey to be included in squads, never mind teams, but his displays over the last year have not only been impressive, they’ve shown improvement. Continue reading
While they ended up on the wrong side of an eight-point margin, and thus in practice got nothing from the game, Connacht’s performance against high-flying Harlequins was worth all the praise that comes its way. As the old saw goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression: in their debut in the Heineken Cup, the Westies showed that they belong in the competition. Continue reading