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09th May 2023

Terenure star’s memorable post-match interview sparks brilliant ‘second chance’ idea

Patrick McCarry


“I might just say something in English, if it is possibly heard out there… “

Colm de Buitléar seamlessly switched from a post-match interview, as Gaeilge, to English as he had a point and wanted to get it thrumming in as many ear-drums as possible.

The Terenure centre, who previously played professional rugby with Connacht, was revved up after helping his side win their first ever Energia All-Ireland League title, at Aviva Stadium. With Limerick lad Caolan Dooley kicking 30 points from the tee, Terenure added four tries to blow out a much-fancied Clontarf side 50-25.

Clontarf’s starting XV contained current Leinster back-row Alex Soroka and their match-day 23 had a few other players with provincial caps to their name. Eager to stress the high quality on show in the AIL, de Buitléar told TG4:

“The whole year, there are lads going up against [provincial] academy and pro players… they haven’t just done it tonight; they’ve been doing it every single Saturday. There is so much talent, still, out there in the AIL.

“They may not get [a look-in] when they are in the schools systems but if those provinces aren’t looking at them, they might want to start looking. They’re going out every single Saturday and, no offence to these academy and pro players, but they are smoking them. Some boys deserve a second chance.”

Those comments from Colm de Buitléar resonated with the House of Rugby panel, and sparked a lively debate.

During the latest episode [LISTEN from 13:50 below] Greg O’Shea, Jason Hennessy and Lindsay Peat spoke about club rugby, twilight zones and a second chance idea that we would love to see.


Terenure star’s comments spark great idea

During a discussion on how Connacht have done well by recruiting talented young players that may have been overlooked, or underplayed, by Australian and New Zealand franchises, talked turned to the talent available much, much closer to home. At home, in fact!

“There’s some really great guys sitting there in the AIL,” said Greg O’Shea. “Even Connall Boomer, who came off the bench for Terenure. He had an assist, were he sprinted off the side of the scrum, got away from Alex Soroka and popped it off for a try in the corner. He scored his own try, after that.

“These kind of guys that – just give them the opportunity… there would be lots of young fellas in Ireland that would take a development contract with a province for 20 grand – just to get that chance. Your man Shamus Hurley-Langton isn’t coming up [to Connacht from New Zealand] for 20 grand.”

Jason Hennessy spoke about how the Mitre 10 Cup in New Zealand has been brought up, in terms of investment, resources, infrastructure and media coverage, that it is ‘now just a leap, rather than a ladder, up to Super Rugby’.

“You know [Greg] that if guys are in the provinces then get released and go playing AIL at 19 or 20, there’s no coming back from that,” said Hennessy. “You’re off into the twilight zone. That’s the end of it. Over in New Zealand, you could be with the Chiefs for a season, go back to play Mitre 10 for a season or two, then get brought back up at 23 or 24.”

O’Shea highlighted Chiefs and All Blacks star Damien McKenzie as a prime example of such a player – that needed time in club rugby to develop – before Lindsay Peat struck upon a brilliant idea.

“We have to look after our own lads,” she noted, “so how do we bridge it all together?

“We could look at an AIL All Stars team taking on one or two of the provinces, even in pre-season. Give these lads another shop window to impress in and to go up against the top provincial guys, and prospects.”

IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora has been keen to get more game-time into provincial players – hence Emerging Ireland heading to South Africa last autumn to play Currie Cup sides.

A club XV against a couple of the provinces, alternating each year, would be a great test and could offer up those second chances that could yet produce players that could progress all the way to Test level.


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