Healy wants to leave Sarries pain in the past
FOUR times, Cian Healy had gone into Heineken Champions Cup finals and come out on the winning side. Earlier this month in Newcastle, he finally tasted the pain of defeat.
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You would think the collection of gold medals might ease the pain, but not so. The defeat to Saracens will go down as the one that got away for the loosehead prop, one of only three players to have featured in all five of Leinster's finals along with Johnny Sexton and Devin Toner.
Against Munster a week later, a number of senior men were either stood down or missed out through injury, but Healy was pressed back into service and he was again one of Leinster's best players, as he has been all season.
Healy is still processing from the defeat to Saracens.
"It was tough," he admitted.
"We turned the page quickly in here. It was creeping up on me during some basics stuff, cooking dinner thinking about the 'what ifs,' which you have to slap out of your head a bit and have to stay focused.
"It probably just showed to myself that it did hurt. I don't want it to happen again."
With the average age of the side lowered considerably by the changes in personnel, Healy looked around the dressing-room on Saturday and saw a vision of what Leinster will look like in the next decade.
This summer, another few of his generation will either retire or move on but, rather than dwell on the passing of time, the 31-year-old has decided to get among it.
"You have two ways of taking it, you sit there as the old boy or you shape up and go in and be one of the young lads," he said.
"And I love that, I love the craic you have with the lads and pretending that I'm 21 and living off them a bit."
Although they are well able to handle themselves on the pitch, Healy has been impressed by how the young guns have come into the Leinster set-up.
"A lot of them came in like that, they're coming in now as full professionals from the school system or the academy system," he said.
And although he's a relative of former Ireland kitman Charlie O'Leary, the football bug never bit with Healy and so Celtic Park is just another stadium to the prop against Glasgow.
But he's intent on beating the locals on Saturday so he can add it to the collection of stadiums in which he's picked up silverware against a Warriors side backed by a big local crowd.
"I don't follow football, I don't have time to follow football," he said. "I've heard about Celtic Park and I've heard about Celtic but I've no major interest.
"Glasgow's support will be big enough but the travelling support we've had in the last while has been incredible. Not the last while, always. At the moment we get huge numbers.
"Going into that Champions Cup final was one of the greatest things I've ever seen, that's something I'll never forget. If we have any sort of support like that, it should nullify that."