Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Gilroy helps to give Ireland sense of perspective

Craig Gilroy brings a can-do attitude to Irish squad
Craig Gilroy brings a can-do attitude to Irish squad

The capacity of these young Ulster players to both understate and surprise continued apace at Ireland's base in Carton House this week.

A fortnight ago, Ulster centre Luke Marshall caused a shock when he, in a rather matter-of-fact revelation on the eve of his debut against Scotland, revealed that he has been playing with a broken bone in his back since his pre-teen years.

Craig Gilroy was just as dismissive of his serious injury history.

"Och, apart from this groin niggle, I've been grand," said Gilroy.

"I broke my jaw once, but there hasn't been all that much."

The nervous laughter that filled the air on Gilroy's admission clearly took the 21-year-old by surprise and the puzzlement on his face clearly revealed the can-do attitude with which the likes of he and Marshall have infused into the Ireland camp.

It's proving to be an elixir of life after the disappointing nature of Ireland's results this season, with just one win over Wales to Ireland's credit.

They now have a chance to finish the season on a high with a win in Rome against Italy and Gilroy, who will be freshly restored to the team, is determined to make the most of it.

The winger missed the draw with France because of his groin niggle, but is in the full flush of health this week and will resume on the right wing.

"We really believed that we would do so much better in this championship and it is a shame that the results didn't go our way," he said.

"It's not for a lack of effort. The conditions, I think, haven't helped and we haven't been able to get the game we want going for the full 80 minutes.

"We have a chance this weekend. Everyone is still determined and staying positive.

"It's not like it's a dark place in the camp.

"Hopefully, with a few of the guys coming back in, we can help to lift it a bit more.

"Obviously, we can't win the championship or anything like that, but we just want to finish on a high, so the challenge is to go to Rome, get a win and enjoy our last game with Ireland for a while."

His impact on the international scene has been so immediate that he's being whispered about as a potential "bolter" selection for the Lions. It's a fanciful notion, but one that has crossed his mind.

He said: "It's the Lions, what player doesn't want to be involved?

"You never know what can happen. All you can do is your best and see where that takes you. It's not something that you think about too much, but it is there, of course."

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