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08th Dec 2014

Six Irish players that were bloody awesome in Europe this weekend

We're going for native Irishmen and those qualified to play in green

Patrick McCarry

A mixed bag for the provinces this weekend but this half dozen can hold their heads high

There were wins for Ulster in the Champions Cup and Connacht in the Challenge Cup but Leinster and Munster suffered respective defeats to Harlequins and Clermont. Here are the players that impressed us at SportsJOE:

Tommy Bowe

A form player in tremendous form this season. Left Scarlets in his wake on a few occasions and set up Darren Cave for the opening try with a great pass. Failed to connect with a couple of tackles in his defensive shift but was electric in attack. Inspired the drive for a bonus point by diving over in the corner and touching down despite hefty hits from two Welshmen.

Rhys Ruddock

Rhys Ruddock is tackled by Matt Hopper and George Lowe 7/12/2014

Leinster were drawn into a dogfight at The Stoop and Ruddock never backed down for a moment. He took up the ball-carrying mantle and got his team on the front-foot with a couple of good breaks. The likes of Sam Wallace and Chris Robshaw found him impossible to shift at the breakdown and he never missed with a tackle.

Tommy O’Donnell

Tommy O'Donnell tackled by Wesley Fofana 6/12/2014

One of the few Munster players to emerge with credit from a chastening night at Thomond Park. Gained 44 metres on 10 carries, with one clean break that got his team on the front foot. Pitched into rucks with Peter O’Mahony and Paul O’Connell while connecting with 10 of his 11 tackle attempts. An industrious outing and more of the same will be required in France next Sunday.

Darren Cave

Darren Cave scores their first try 21/11/2014

Guilty of trying too hard, and often falling short, for Ireland but rarely puts a foot wrong in Ulster white. Finished off a sweeping move for Ulster’s first try and his line-break and offload set up Ruan Pienaar for the second. Made 50 metres for his team on seven carries and chipped in with six tackles although he did fall off a couple.

Dave McSharry

Dave McSharry celebrates his try with Bundee Aki 6/12/2014

The Connacht centre has developed a good understanding alongside Bundee Aki and was instrumental in his side’s second-half surge that delivered a bonus point win. Scored a nice try and played a key part in scores for Danie Poolman and Aki.

James Hart

The Irish scrum-half was at the heart of some of Grenoble’s best attacking moves as they destroyed Rovigio 68-10 in the Challenge Cup. Kicked seven conversions as Bernard Jackman’s men recorded their biggest ever European victory.

*Honourable mention for Dan Tuohy  – 11 carries, 11 line-out claims and a bustling performance – Felix Jones, Rory Best and Ian Madigan.

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