Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby - Dave Kilcoyne on his big Munster break
"I think I was shouting at them, 'Don’t get that dirty. Don’t ruin my day!'"
Barry Murphy and Dave Kilcoyne go way back. Near the tail-end of his playing career, Murphy did some coaching with U.L Bohemians and encountered an eager loose-head that loved not more than carrying ball.
The pair bonded at some post-game functions and both fondly remember a trip to Galway on the week of Halloween when they went on a night out dressed as a bride-to-be and her faithful gorilla (more on that below!).
Nicknamed 'Greedy Ball', Kilcoyne would eventually graduate from All-Ireland League to the Munster academy, then the senior team and, in time, the Irish senior team. In terms of how rugby players now progress through the system, Kilcoyne almost missed his chance and has a passionate coach (not Barry!) to thank for his big break at Munster.
Week 13 of remote recording for Baz & Andrew's House of Rugby saw the Munster and Ireland prop join Barry Murphy and Andrew Trimble for a chat on lockdown weights sessions, World Cup reviews and stolen wedding dresses.
Kilcoyne first came into the Munster set-up aged 20, a couple of years later than the norm, and he was 23 by the time he finally made his senior debut. He was part of a Munster 'A' side that would go on to produce a host of senior stars - such as Peter O'Mahony, Conor Murray, Stephen Archer and JJ Hanrahan - but his early road to professional rugby was hard-taken.
"It was incredibly exciting and it was incredibly tough to break into the team," he recalls.
"When I broke into that pack... first of all, you had Marcus Horan, Wian du Preez and then below that you would have had Darragh Hurley, Dave Ryan, who were quite hotly tipped, at the time, to take over.
"On the other side (of the front row), you had BJ Botha, John Hayes, and the likes of Damien Varley at hooker. And you had Paulie, Donners, Mick O’ and you can keep going through all the names but that was the pack you were trying to break into. "
"I would have done two years, but I didn’t get into the academy until it was quite late. So I played those two years with the Bohs Under 20s and (Munster Academy manager) Ian Sherwin, he didn’t want to let me into the academy at the time. And Ian Costello fought my case. He went down with clips to him and got me in. So I owe Cozzy a big one for that. I did two years in the academy until I was 22, and then I went straight in to a full contract."
It seems odd to consider now that Kilcoyne - with 182 Munster caps and 39 Ireland caps - came so close to missing out on the rugby career he was chasing.
Ian Costello, who was Bohs' Director of Rugby at the time, went on to become assistant coach at Munster and is now doing the same role at Wasps. When it comes to spotting, and backing, talent, Costello picked a good one there.
Also discussed on the show:
- All the latest news from the world of rugby, including the first Super Rugby Aotearoa games
- Jerry Flannery returning to coaching at Harlequins
- Dave Kilcoyne on scraps in his early Munster training sessions
- Documentary-maker and much-loved penguin Sam Brown joins the lads for a chat
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Catch up on all our episodes from the past two seasons and our interviews with the likes of Conrad Smith, Victor Matfield, Simon Zebo, Sean O'Brien, Drew Mitchell, Jean De Villiers, Finn Russell, Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Brown, Brian O'Driscoll, Tana Umaga and much, much more.