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14th Nov 2016

WATCH: Irish rugby team are drawing inspiration from Conor McGregor’s ‘incredible’ heroics

Sean Cronin set his alarm

Mikey Stafford

Sleep is important to professional athletes, but then so is inspiration.

They made history of their own in Chicago a week ago on Saturday, but the Irish rugby team are quick to recognise excellence in others – even if it comes between them and their shut eye.

A week on from that win over the All Blacks at Soldier Field, another Irish sportsman was making his presence felt in the United States – Conor McGregor becoming the first man to simultaneously hold two UFC belts after his second round stoppage of Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Gardens.

The main event at UFC 205 did not start until well after 6am but for fans of ‘The Notorious’ getting up or staying up is non-negotiable.

He has some big fans among the Irish rugby team, who have previously enjoyed early morning get-togethers in the team hotel to watch McGregor fight.

On Sunday morning World Rugby Player of the Year nominee Jamie Heaslip sparked some debate by asking if the Dubliner’s achievements make him Ireland’s greatest current sportsman.

Heaslip, at least, had the weekend off to help him enjoy the awkwardly-timed events in New York, but hats off to Sean Cronin, who dragged his not inconsiderable frame out of bed at stupid o’clock to watch the fight – despite playing an hour of Test rugby against Canada the night before.

As the squad reconvened at their training base to prepare for Saturday’s rematch with the All Blacks in Aviva Stadium, the Leinster hooker explained why he is such a fan of the UFC featherweight and lightweight champion.

“I set the alarm to get up. It was incredible stuff He’s some man, he is some sportsman to have coming from this country. I was actually at home, so I watched it and went back to bed and got a few hours kip after.”

That is serious commitment from the Limerick native – McGregor no doubt would approve.
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