NEXT STEP FOR KIDNEY
Just as one door is about to close, another one opens. And the good news for Declan Kidney is that his next gig may be a 10 minute spin from his gaff in Ballincollig.
UCC, where he picked up an Alumni Award in 2008, are in the market for a director of sport, and who would do the job better than one of their own?
He would actually be pretty good at it. Media was never Deccie’s thing but he would have learned enough from his years in the hot seats of Munster and Ireland about how to raise profile, and the college want to do just that for their sports programme.
I guess he’d be well able for the political manoeuvring as well. To have survived the shark pool in Lansdowne Road for as long as he did took a bit of effort.
The wedge is in the region of €80-100k, so, unlike a lot of players he would have coached, going back to the real world doesn’t mean falling off a cliff financially. And having been a high earner since Munster’s first Heineken Cup final, in 2000, the recession is not something that is about to tear the backside out of Kidney’s modest lifestyle.
The only question is how he would fill the void left by coaching. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t fetch up on a green field again before too long.
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GATLAND AND HIS LITTLE SHOP WINDOW
“I’ll guarantee everyone a start in the first three games so they’ll get an opportunity to put themselves in the shop window, and for us then it’s about trying to prepare and get ourselves right for that first Test.”
So says Warren Gatland http://vimeo.com/62690445 in one of about a hundred interviews he’ll be doing between now and departure for Australia. Given that the first of those three games is against the Barbarians, in Hong Kong, you could conceivably be out of the running before you even land in Perth.
He says he doesn’t mind suffering a few setbacks along the way if it means having the combinations right by the time they arrive in Brisbane for the first Test. That neatly illustrates the scale of the climb on these trips: three games to satisfy all concerned that they’re getting a fair shake; followed by another three, and suddenly you’re already at the business end.
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SEXTON SEEING RED
Leinster hooker Tom Sexton could well find himself featuring against the Lions when the tourists play the Rebels in Melbourne in between the first and second Tests. Sexton was originally due to link up with his new club in August, but things might have to shift forward a bit.
“They’re keen to put out an Aussie qualified team against the Lions and neither of the hookers are in that category so they may need me earlier,” he says. “I’ll know in a couple of weeks.”
Sexton is Aussie born (Irish father, Australian mother) and was four when the family upped sticks to come to Ireland. He won a senior schools medal with Belvedere in 2008 and Leinster picked him up thereafter, but opportunities have been few and far between.
“There haven’t been as many as I’d hoped (seven games) but there’s absolutely no bitterness – just time to move on as I’m ambitious. I could have stuck around but I want to take a chance and make something of myself.”
It’s hardly that big of a risk. With Richardt Strauss, Sean Cronin and Aaron Dundon blocking out all the sunlight in the RDS, a two year deal in Melbourne where he will have a family support network is a great opportunity. Getting a run against the Lions would be a phenomenal way to start.
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LONG GOOD FRIDAY
Time was when Good Friday would be spent looking forward to Holy Saturday when saloon bars would swing open their doors again. And then sport got in on the act – driven by the need to get punters in the gate – and gradually little chinks began to appear in the legislation.
So instead of checking into a hotel, or taking a train or boat trip, or slipping into the bar in the Abbey Theatre, or National Concert Hall, you might get yourself an exemption from the courts to run your match with some swill thrown in.
Munster led the charge for their league game with Leinster two seasons ago when they succeeded in having the Good Friday drinking laws relaxed so that the weary travellers could wet their whistles. Other clubs have followed suit. So if you’re in the region of Musgrave Park on Friday, and you feel the need for a local derby followed by a glass of shandy, then Dolphin and Cons are for you. The shandy mind will be available only to members and their guests…