John Muldoon reveals all on Connacht team bonding nights at Galway Races
The first blow-out of every new season.
John Muldoon is heading into his 15th season of professional rugby with his home province.
The Connacht captain has seen some changes in his day but, he is pleased to report, one thing has not changed - a day/night out at The Galway Races.
It is currently Week Five of Connacht's preseason - just over halfway through preparations for 2017/18 - and the pressure valve is being released. For Muldoon and his teammates, it is very much welcome. The past few weeks have been a slog.
Back at the Sportsground after two days of recovery over the weekend #PreSeason #Day8 pic.twitter.com/R0EVfF2zhz
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) July 10, 2017
Muldoon was at Galway's Halo nightclub on Wednesday for SportsJOE Live and he came clean on his side's first big "team bonding" night of each season. He said:
"We're back five weeks now and after about the second week you're getting cabin fever and looking for that first night out as a team. Lo and behold, you have the Galway Races around the corner. It's always a good excuse to get a night out.
"Team bonding is a big thing, and everything that goes with it, but the Friday of the races is usually our first night out as a squad.
"It's a great week for us as we're usually training and whatever else. In the morning, the first question when you get into the dressing room is how many walks of shame have you seen on the way in!
"We'd be in around half seven or eight o'clock so you see quite a few lads and birds carrying the aul' high heels. That's usually the hot topic."
"It's obviously a great festival," Muldoon added, "and it's more of the occasion and how the city gets behind it. It's a great day, great fun and if you can back an aul' winner along the way and help you do it, it's even better."
The Connacht lads enjoyed a few of these team bonding sessions, starting with the races, in 2015/16 and it didn't do their exhilarating run to the Guinness PRO12 title any harm.
It's good to see some of rugby's old-school traditions are still ticking along... in moderation, of course.
Check out the full SportsJOE Live episode with Muldoon and champion jockey Ruby Walsh: