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Tyrone Howe: Gilroy a bright ray of hope for future

Like Ireland last Saturday, the odds would have been long on an Ulster away victory against the Cardiff Blues.

Nothing really pointed to an enormously confident trip to the Welsh capital, but the Ulster players deserve enormous credit for their performance and bonus point victory.

It is always exciting to hear a new name on the scene and to wonder and look forward to how things might progress.

The impact of Craig Gilroy was nothing short of meteoric.

As the young Dungannon winger observed, it is hard not to go into the match thinking that the main thing is not to “mess up”. I remember exactly those same emotions myself. With time and experience, these thoughts will change and you suddenly start to think more confidently. While Gilroy still has plenty to learn, his debut suggested that the journey to this latter position may not be all that long.

His first try contained an invaluable weapon — a physical and well-timed handoff, while the finish for his second was as good as you will see in a long time. I expect young wingers to have pace and hunger in abundance, but Gilroy’s balance and footwork just made me sit up in admiration, wonder and envy!

A special word also for scrumhalf Paul Marshall. It cannot be easy sitting in the wings watching a big signing occupy your position. All you can do is compete as best you can, and Marshall made a significant contribution to Ulster’s success.

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