Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Tyrone Howe: Thomond hat-trick a reminder that it is only a matter of time before Gilroy hits the top

I’ll give you an insight into a winger’s mind. There is no greater pleasure than reading a sports report and seeing your name mentioned scoring a try.

Even if you’ve simply fallen over the line it’s there, in ink, on the bottom of the page. It may only be one of several criteria for coaches and selectors, but it still remains the key premium for wingers themselves.

Therefore, Craig Gilroy will no doubt have sat in quiet satisfaction last Saturday night.

It may have been a facile Irish victory but the stats don’t lie. Three tries; a hat-trick in front of a predominantly Limerick crowd which catapults him right into the forefront of Declan Kidney’s thinking.

Clearly it was against a desperately poor Fiji side, and both Andrew Trimble and Tommy Bowe might have picked up a brace had they been on the pitch.

However, it was Gilroy’s opportunity and he grabbed it with both hands.

Many teams and players have nothing but nightmares about their experiences at Thomond Park.

For Gilroy, well, it must be his favourite venue, after Ravenhill of course.

This was the scene of his epic finish in the Heineken Cup against Munster which announced him on the European stage.

Now he has done it in a green jersey.

The question is will Declan Kidney react by including him in his starting XV this weekend?

The decision is a difficult one and also has implications for provincial selection: the question is not only who the best two wingers in Ireland are, but also who are the best two wingers in Ulster?

Andrew Trimble did not have his best game against South Africa, but the quality of opportunity he got was less forthcoming than it often is in his provincial jersey.

Three into two does not go, but if Gilroy does not make it this time, he should not worry, his star is in the ascendancy and it is only a matter of time.

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