Schmidt Commits

Schmidt Commits

Joe Schmidt has committed to Ireland until after the 2019 World Cup in Japan. His original deal runs until June 2017 and his commitment to Ireland has to be commended as I am sure they were plenty of offers for his services all over Europe and south of the equator also.

He is the most successful Irish coach of all time that has masterminded two Six Nations wins in 2014 and 2015, beating South Africa on home soil for the first time. His next big mission as Ireland coach will be to try and topple the mighty All Blacks who are currently on an 18 Test winning streak that has seen them beat all before them with consummate ease.

Joe Schmidt has been cleaver in his recruitment to replace Les Kiss bringing in Andy Farrell whose work with the Irish defence can easily be seen and was such a key element in defeating South Africa in the opening Test back in June.

The big question for the immediate future will be can his help his team come up with a gameplan cute enough to out fox The All Blacks in either Chicago or Dublin because uniquely Ireland get two shots at taking down the All Blacks and while they still await their maiden victory over New Zealand they have two chances so I am sure Schmidt and his coaching team have a game plan to expose whatever weakness New Zealand may have.

Easier said than done I realise but this hoodoo has to end at some stage and I am sure the players in the Ireland squad that faced New Zealand back in 2013 know what that sickening feeling at full time felt like and will be hell bent on securing a much needed win to end well over 100 years of hard ship.

Steve Hansen for his part since that narrow win in 2013 has masterminded another World Cup win and a few Rugby Championships to boot. He has also coached his players to reach another level of intensity and the quality of the players in New Zealand has not shown any signing of slowing down not to mind stopping, everyone asked the question who will replace Carter and Mc Caw??

They have been replaced by guys who are hungry to keep up the tradition and even surpass what Mc Caw and Carter achieved in the New Zealand shirt both men are double World Cup winners and have lead the All Blacks to even greater heights than even most people in New Zealand could have imagined.

Ireland will have two shots at immortality in Irish rugby terms by beating an New Zealand team in either Chicago or Dublin , they have the players of that there is no doubt and now they have the man to lead them for another couple of years.

The time is now to topple the mighty All Blacks and here is the team I feel could do just that…….

15 Jared Payne

14 Tommy Bowe

13 Garry Ringrose

12 Robbie Henshaw

11 Cian Kelleher

10 Jonathan Sexton

9 Conor Murray

8 CJ Stander

7 Josh Van Der Flier

6 Sean O Brien

5 Ultan Dillane

4 Ian Henderson

3 Tadgh Furlong

2 Rory Best

1 Jack Mc Grath

16 Sean Cronin

17 Dave Kilcoyne

18 John Ryan

19 Donnacha Ryan

20 Jamie Heaslip

21 Kieran Marmion

22 Paddy Jackson

23 Craig Gilroy


Cian Mc Gibney




I found myself in Thomond Park on Saturday last for Munster vs Glasgow in round 2 of The Champions Cup. It was also a chance for the whole of Munster to say goodbye to Anthony Foley in the perfect way. They were comfortable 38-17 winners with a performance that “Axel” would have been proud of.

The performance was full of pride , passion , hunger and desire , it also had three key ingredients that have been missing and they were Boot , Bite and Bollock. Munster were led from the front by skipper Peter O Mahony , CJ Stander and Tyler Bleyendaal who is now beginning to show the quality that Rob Penney saw in him to sign him on a three year deal while in charge at Munster.

The day was littered with tributes to “Axel” with supporters spelling out his nickname just before kick-off while the MRSC Supporters Club Choir along with Sinead O Brien belted out There is an Isle , The Fields Of Athenry and Stand Up and Fight before kick-off arrived.

Munster started the game at a frantic pace and Glasgow couldn’t live with the pace at which Munster were doing everything. They were the first to each break down and the scrum was rock solid with John Ryan putting his hand up for national selection with such a composed performance. He had huge help from Niall Scannell and Dave Kilcoyne. Donnacha Ryan rediscovered the old spark and hard edge that saw him stand out at times alongside Paul O Connell and other second row partners.

This was a day when the new Munster under Rassie Erasmus met the old Munster that Anthony Foley helped create. The performance on Saturday both on the field and in the stands was something very special and I just hope last Saturday is the lightbulb moment for all involved with Munster and the manner of the win can galvanise Munster for the rest of the year starting next weekend against Ulster.

The crowd on Saturday can be extremely proud of the part they played and as Gregor Townsend eluded to afterward it felt like they were playing 16 men with the passion and sometimes anger with which the support got behind Munster.

Let’s hope that any team that plays Munster in the coming months gets the same reception in Thomond Park and in Irish Independent Park and Munster can rediscover the fire and passion that made them so successful throughout the noughties.

To see the players and Anthony’s two boys Tony and Dan come together for a special rendition of Stand Up and Fight in the middle of the field was very special and I think it also sealed the reconnection between pitch and stand and long may it continue into the future….. God Bless and Sleep well Axel…


Cian Mc Gibney


Sincere Thank You

Hi All ,

Just a short note of thanks to everybody from myself to say how eternally grateful I am for all the love and support in the past few weeks since my life changed forever. I know I put this message into a couple of posts but I just feel one final message of thanks in warranted.

Since the 10th of September , myself , Dad and Fionn have had so much support  from all angles both from home and abroad and for that we are so thankful and grateful. I hope we have done my Mom proud over the past few weeks. We are doing all we can to get on with life as best we can.

I have to thank a number of people who I won’t name on this page because I would only embarrass them and I don’t want to do that. They know who they are and I can only say from the bottom of my heart thank you all so much , I’ll never be able to say thank you enough or truly be able to pay you all back for the love , care and support you have all shown me.

To my 4 Guardian Angels , who I again won’t name but they again know who they are , Thank You All so much for being there over the last few  years when I needed to be picked up from off the canvass and given a kick in the right direction.

I am beginning to return to normal , whatever normal is after a blow like that , I am back writing and recording interviews with hopefully some big names over the coming months.

To Mom , I’ll do what I can to make you proud throughout my life , knowing the way you were you’ll be looking after me no matter where I end up. That’s enough soppy talk from me , Simply Thank You everyone for everything.

Mom’s months mind is this Monday at half 7 in Tarbert.

PS , I’ll replace all the coffee I have drank in certain places in the near future I promise……



European Preview 2016/2017

European Preview 2016/2017

This weekend sees the return of the European Champions Cup and also the Challenge Cup. For the first time all 4 Irish provinces will play in the Champions Cup a first in the competition’s history.

Leinster will take Castres , Montpeillier and Northampton Saints in Pool 4 of this year’s Champions Cup. Leinster will be boosted by the return to form of a host of Irish International’s including Robbie Henshaw , Jonathan Sexton and Rob Kearney. In the forwards they have added to their locking options with Ian Nagle signing for the rest of the season. He will give them another Irish option.

Looking at what they have done so far this season with new adventure in attack and a real resolve in defence that saw them squeeze the life out of a number of sides and that resolute defence will be needed in Europe.

 I feel Leinster will catch fire this season and have probably the best Irish centre partnership since O Driscoll and D’arcy with the early signs for Henshaw and Ringrose being very positive. Although they face some tough tests in Pool 4 Leinster are beginning to find that spark that saw them win 3 Heineken Cups and they could go a long way this year and a Semi Final isn’t out of the question for Leinster.

For Ulster , this year will be huge for them after investing heavily in there playing squad with the capture of both Marcel Coetzee and Charles Piutau they have very little wriggle room and will be expected to challenge Clermont Auvergne , Exeter and Bordeaux Begles  for top spot in Pool 5. Les Kiss has Ulster playing an open expansive brand of rugby and they have the artillery to fire and cause trouble in the Champions Cup. They along with Leinster I expect to be playing European Rugby next April and a Semi Final spot is not a farfetched goal for Les Kiss and his squad.

Connacht will be a marked team this year in the Champions Cup , they face Toulouse , Wasps and Zebre. No disrespect to Zebre but this Pool could see two teams coming from Pool 2 , I expect Wasps , Connacht and Toulouse to take the full quota of points from Zebre and this will make it even trickier for other sides to come out of very tough Pools. Pat Lam will want his team to express themselves in the same way that saw them light up the Pro 12 last season and win a first ever trophy in the Provinces history.

They made history last season and they are well placed again this year after two positive results in the past few weeks they will lick their lips at the prospect of taking Toulouse on this weekend. They face stiff competition from both France and England for top spot but they have the players and the game plan to cause a few shocks and could sneak into the last 8 and take their chances then.

For Munster, it’s a case of de ja vu , with Leicester Tigers coming to Limerick again along with Racing 92 and Glasgow Warriors. All quality teams in their own right. Rassie Erasmus will have his work cut out to out think and out muscle these sides paired with Munster this year.

Munster will have a tough start going to Paris to face last season’s Top 14 Champions Racing 92 who have Dan Carter in there armoury along with some other real quality. Leicester for their part will want to inflict more pain on Munster after defeating them home and away last season.

Munster have the opportunity this season to right the wrongs of the last few years in Europe and put themselves in a position to fight for top spot in Pool 1. Erasmus has seen what the Pro 12 is all about in the opening weeks of the season and will get first-hand experience of what Europe’s top club competition is all about.

Can Munster recapture the spirit of 06 and 08 , only time will tell and a good start to the Pool is vital this weekend.



Cian Mc Gibney