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How Marty Moore's mother got to deliver the good news of his latest Ireland call-up

 

Pushing on: Ulster ace Marty Moore has been rewarded for his fine form with an Ireland call-up
Pushing on: Ulster ace Marty Moore has been rewarded for his fine form with an Ireland call-up
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

When most players receive an international call-up, the first port of call is to let their nearest and dearest know the good news. There was no need for Marty Moore to do so yesterday, though - it was his mother who told him.

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Named in the first gathering of Andy Farrell's regime, Moore will be back in the set-up for the first time since leaving Ireland to play for Wasps three-and-a-half years ago when a large group meet up for a get-together and some light training on Sunday.

"It was a bit of a surprise," he admitted of the news yesterday at an event on behalf of Raging Bull, Ulster Rugby's official clothing partner.

"I didn't realise there was anything being announced today and I was on the phone to family. They saw it before I did.

"It's exciting for a lot of guys to see what the mood will be and what sort of way things will be run now. I haven't worked with a lot of the guys but it's something to look forward to, having new people to impress.

"It's definitely great to be back in the mix a bit, and going forward I'll just be trying to continue the club form and push on that way with regards to international opportunities."

While naturally offering no guarantees when it comes to the Six Nations panel for next season, the involvement is just reward for a fine run of form since leaving Coventry for Ulster in the summer of 2018, even if his first season at the province was cut short by an ankle injury sustained against Edinburgh back in April.

"It was probably the longest lay-off I've had really with about seven months out," he said.

"It probably didn't seem like a long time to most people because I didn't miss that much rugby with it being split over the end of one season and the start of another, but it felt a long time to me for sure.

"To have five-and-a-half games under my belt now is good going and I'm lucky the way things worked out that four of them happened to be in Europe and the other two were Munster away and Scarlets at home, so all stiff tests and that gets you battle-hardened pretty quickly."

No amount of physical preparation could combat last week's issue, a strain of the norovirus laying him low. Despite vomiting during the warm-up before starting the Champions Cup win over Harlequins, he gamely tried to plough on before a missed tackle after half an hour left him with the conclusion that discretion was the better part of valour.

"It was a tough lead-up," he admitted. "I obviously wasn't the best but it's one that you don't want to pull out of either.

"I think it was probably right to make the call early, after about half an hour, to get me off the park before I did any damage to myself or someone else.

"Apart from that it's been a great few weeks of rugby and the club has been on the up too."

There is to be no let-up over the festive season with Ulster's five-game winning streak facing the ultimate test this weekend against Leinster at the RDS Arena, while Connacht and Munster come to Belfast soon after.

Moore seems sure to be given the week off against his old side after his recent run but knows this remains a key stretch of fixtures.

"It always sounds bad but Christmas becomes an afterthought as a rugby player," he said.

"We've come out of a run of European games and then it's three interpros and straight back to Europe, it's not really a time for kicking back and relaxing.

"There's some vital points and bragging rights as well for us to focus on."

  • Marty Moore was speaking to the Belfast Telegraph at Victoria Square Belfast's Raging Bull department

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