Maurice Hartery – Limerick Man and Northampton Saints Team Manager

Maurice Hartery

Hi Maurice, It’s great to get the opportunity to speak to you about your recent move to take up the Team Manager role with Northampton Saints.

How did the move to Northampton come about ?

I saw the post advertised on Twitter said I would chance handing in my CV. Got called for an interview and got the job. It came as a surprise really but it was something I was actively looking at.

 

What role’s did you fulfil with the clubs you were involved with here at home ?

I had been manager of Thomond RFC for 4 seasons as well as Ireland clubs for 3 seasons. I also managed Munster U18 for a season and was Manager of SCT in Castletroy for 2 years.

 

When did Northampton approach you about taking on the Manager role ?

As mentioned above they didn’t approach me, I put in my CV and got called for an interview, which I did in South Africa when I was on honeymoon. When I arrived back from South Africa, they flew me over to Franklin’s Gardens to meet the relevant people.

 

Do you work closely with the coaching team including head coach Chris Boyd ?

I would work very closely with Chris, more so than the coaching team. He is an unbelievably nice man and is very laid back and easy to get on with.

 

Can you explain your role on match day ?

Most of my work is done before matchday to be honest. I’ll come in maybe 3 hours before Kick Off, make sure the dressing room is correct and everything is in order. The players will start to arrive about 1pm and from then on it’s helping them in anyway I can. The main one is ensuring that their tickets are available for collect by their family members so they aren’t receiving calls taking their focus. Once the match starts I am in charge of the technical area and making substitutions and ensuring all rules are followed.

What sort of qualifications would a professional team like Northampton look for when recruiting a member of their staff ?

Like all businesses they would be looking for the most suitable person available. There is a young staff in place right across the club which is excellent.

How have your family settled in to your new surroundings ?

I have moved over on my own for the time being. My wife flies over for all the home games or close away games. It is a massive burden on her but I will try to get back to limerick when I can later on in the year.

 

During the week, what do your day’s look like ?

During the off-season it was crazy. You could be pulled left, right and centre with small issues but now that the season has started it is more structured. I try to get in for 7.30am and from there it depends on the daily schedule. I try to get on the field for training every day if possible.

What has the reaction been like here at home when people heard you were taking up the position of Northampton Saints Team Manager ?

Shock was the main reaction. But in fairness people have been unbelievably nice with congratulations etc. castletroy college were fantastic and allowed me take the opportunity by granting me a career break.

 

What do you hope to achieve in your time with Northampton ?

Enjoy it. I can’t control any results on the pitch but working in an environment like Pro Rugby is a privilege and I am learning new things every day.

 

Lastly Maurice, For anyone who may read this and think they may want to follow in your footsteps. Have you any advice ?

Be yourself. I have had this question a lot since people heard the news but if you are doing this job you are more than likely organised and outgoing anyway. The key is just be yourself and enjoy it.

Thank you for taking the time out to chat to me Maurice. All the very best for season 2019/2020….

 

 

Ireland vs Russia WC Match 3

Ireland managed to beat Russia 35-0 after stumbling for well over 60 minutes. This win will do nothing to convince the masses of Ireland true credentials to finally make a Semi Final or even for the bravest of Irish fans a place in the World Cup Final.

The late withdrawal of Joey Carbery will also have people concerned although Jack Carty’s cameo in the 2nd 40 minutes will ease concerns over both Sexton and Carbery as Sexton was replaced at half time although kicking coach Richie Murphy has said it was a tactical change rather than an enforced change.

The hope that this game would lift the gloom after the loss to Japan was mistaken as this performance will have done little to help the squad. The lack of a Plan B was missing again today as on a few occasions when keeping the ball in hand looked to be the better option players like Andrew Conway, Rob Kearney and late on Jordan Larmour all needlessly kicked away possession when holding onto the ball and trying to attack Russia with width looked to be an easier option.

Russia for their part played very well although being niled would say it wasn’t the best day at the office but twice they had a man in the sin bin and only conceded one try over the 20 minutes they were down to 14 men.

The most concerning aspect was the real lack of imagination in attack, numerous times the ball was knocked on or lost in contact which will disappoint Joe Schmidt and the lack of imagination is again a issue there is a real sense of de ja vu with this aspect of play and we are now in a situation where there is no more time to fix this before the competition as we are 3 games into the Pool.

On the plus side Ireland did get the required 5 points to push clear at the top of the Pool and are now on 11 points with a +52 points difference and now the focus will be back on Japan when they play Samoa on Saturday morning. Japan will look to regain control of the Pool with a bonus point win that will push them onto either 13 or 14 points heading into the final round of games where Ireland face Samoa on Saturday week with Japan facing Scotland both games will be extremely interesting as to the outcome of the Pool.

For Ireland, it will be a extended break of 9 days before they play Samoa where a few players will hope that there knocks clear up with Robbie Henshaw the only member of the travelling 31 still looking for match minutes and it may also see others players join up as recently arrived Jordi Murphy may yet be on his way home depending on the severity of his rib injury. Men like Tommy O Donnell or Sean Reidy may look to dust off the passport as they may yet receive the call to head for Japan.

Here is the XV I would select to play Samoa in 9 days time. I realise players may not make it due to injury or something else cropping up over the next week and a half.

15 Andrew Conway

14 Keith Earls

13 Gary Ringrose

12 Robbie Henshaw

11 Jacob Stockdale

10 Jonathan Sexton

9 Conor Murray

8 CJ Stander

7 Josh Van Der Flier

6 Peter O Mahony

5 James Ryan

4 Iain Henderson

3 Tadgh Furlong

2 Niall Scannell

1 Cian Healy

16 Sean Cronin

17 Dave Kilcoyne

18 Andrew Porter

19 Tadgh Beirne

20 Rhys Ruddock

21 Luke Mc Grath

22 Jack Carty

23 Chris Farrell

Ireland vs Japan 2019 WC

Ireland had it all after winning against Scotland last weekend but the 19-12 loss to hosts Japan has put the cat among the pigeons for the rest of the Pool with Ireland facing two games against Russia next Thursday and then Samoa the following Saturday to see can they qualify for the quarter finals of Japan 2019.

They will need at least the full 10 points from the two games to get to 16 points and then they will have to wait and see where that will leave them as Japan will now fancy their chances of winning this Pool after their composed 19-12 win.

Japan played this game at 100 miles an hour but they always play that way so the game plan would not have been a shock to Joe Schmidt and his squad. This result was not expected but let’s be honest it just shows what will happen if you don’t perform to the required levels each time you go onto the field. The result shows the romance that is sadly lacking in modern sport is still there how even if it only happens once in a blue moon.

Ireland  played the game on their terms after the opening 25 minutes and then Ireland failed to score in the final 60 minutes and no matter the opposition you will not win most games by failing to score in 60 minutes of play.

Ireland will need two absolutely massive victories over Russia and Samoa to make certain they will not be coming home early from Japan. It is up to this squad to prove the doubters wrong and show us they can perform consistently for the final two Pool games. This result is not the end of the road but one more slip means it curtains for this World Cup.

The lack of a Plan B was again a glaring issue in this game. When Ireland needed to come up with a match saving move late on they failed to convert pressure into points.

People again pointed to a lack of leadership in the crucial final 20 minutes when Japan lead by 7.

Over the last 6 years under Joe Schmidt when the game plan has gone wrong his teams have struggled to come up with a Plan B in pressure situations and throughout 2019 Ireland have been physically matched by England, Wales and in some respects by Scotland but in only one of those games against Scotland did Ireland manage to wrestle back control. Ireland beat Scotland back in March 2019, 22-10 and last week in match one of the World Cup 27-3.

Unfortunately for Ireland it still seems that when teams match Ireland physically no matter the team they will beat Ireland as Ireland struggle to change tact and play what’s in front of them. After the disappointment of 2015, we were told that injuries would not impact on the Ireland squad again and that may turn out to be the case but the unnerving thing is that this campaign may go the same way as the previous World Cups if they don’t put in two clinical performances against both Russia and Samoa. The time for action is now and no amount of excuses will cut it this time.

This squad has had its set back and now it is time to react to the defeat because all the other sides in the Pool will feel they can capitalise on Ireland’s loss yesterday. It’s Russia next up at 11.15am on Thursday morning.

Here is the XV I would select for the Russia game :

15 Andrew Conway

14 Keith Earls

13 Gary Ringrose

12 Bundee Aki

11 Jordan Larmour

10 Jonathan Sexton

9 Luke Mc Grath

8 Jordi Murphy

7 Rhys Ruddock

6 Tadgh Beirne

5 Jean Kleyn

4 Iain Henderson

3 John Ryan

2 Niall Scannell

1 Dave Kilcoyne

16 Sean Cronin

17 Cian Healy

18 Andrew Porter

19 CJ Stander

20 Josh Van Der Flier

21 Joey Carbery

22 Jack Carty

23 Rob Kearney

 

Ireland Vs Scotland WC 2019

Ireland today started there 2019 World Cup campaign with a comprehensive 27-3 win over a Scotland side that will truly wonder did they even get off the bus before the game. Ireland went into this game after winning three of four warm up games only coming a cropper against England losing heavily 57-15. England today started their campaign with a comfortable 35-3 win over Tonga.

Back to the International Stadium in Yokohama where Ireland faced the supposed stiffest test of the group against a Scotland side looking to make it to a 2nd Semi Final after 1991. Ireland started both Andrew Conway and Jordan Larmour in the back three alongside Jacob Stockdale.

Both men started off being very shaky with Larmour off loading a ball in a tackle early on that was turned over by John Barclay and then Conway knocked on a catch but as the game wore on these two grew into the task at hand. Men like Conor Murray and his sparring partner at half back Jonathan Sexton did very well early on bringing the centre combination of Bundee Aki and Garry Ringrose into play in attack and both of these men were strong in defence.

Ireland came into to today’s game with a few questions over the set piece and the non selection of Devin Toner but as has so often been the case under Joe Schmidt, Ireland had some cleaver moves lined up that saw Peter O Mahony go up for the first few line outs and then Iain Henderson took a few but they were shrewd that James Ryan only was called upon a few times as it looked likely that Scotland were set to target James Ryan as they may have felt he was the main target at line out time.

This failed to happen on so many occasions over the 80 minutes. That show’s that Ireland are being very cleaver in the video analysis room and making small tweaks to their game plans throughout the week. The performance this morning is far removed from the England game back in early August.

Some will say, it was cleaver thinking and planning in the team room and training pitch. All 23 played very well with Chris Farrell and Jack Conan being drafted in early on to replace Peter O Mahony and Bundee Aki who both failed Head Injury Assessments and will be touch and go whether they will be involved in match 2 against Japan next Saturday at 8.15am Irish time.

The Irish team will see a number of changes just to freshen things up and reintroduce a few men like Keith Earls, Rob Kearney and Robbie Henshaw if they are deemed fit to join in over the next few days. The show moves onto to face hosts Japan. The World Cup has started in strong winning fashion and they will hope to continue that winning form next week against Japan.

Here is the XV I would select to face Japan next week….

15 Andrew Conway

14 Keith Earls

13 Garry Ringrose

12 Chris Farrell

11 Jacob Stockdale

10 Jonathan Sexton

9 Conor Murray

8 Jack Conan

7 Josh Van Der Flier

6 CJ Stander

5 James Ryan

4 Iain Henderson

3 Tadgh Furlong

2 Rory Best

1 Cian Healy

16 Sean Cronin

17 Dave Kilcoyne

18 Andrew Porter

19 Tadgh Beirne

20 Rhys Ruddock

21 Luke Mc Grath

22 Jack Carty

23 Robbie Henshaw

2019 World Cup Match Day 1

Here is my XV for Ireland’s opening game of the 2019 World Cup against Scotland. I am taking into account the fact that a few of the Irish squad may not be available through injury.

15 Andrew Conway

14 Jordan Larmour

13 Gary Ringrose

12 Bundee Aki

11 Jacob Stockdale

10 Jonathan Sexton

9 Conor Murray

8 Jack Conan

7 Josh Van Der Flier

6 Peter O Mahony

5 James Ryan

4 Iain Henderson

3 Tadgh Furlong

2 Rory Best

1 Cian Healy

16 Sean Cronin

17 Dave Kilcoyne

18 Andrew Porter

19 Rhys Ruddock

20 Tadgh Beirne

21 Luke Mc Grath

22 Jack Carty

23 Chris Farrell

Here is the 23 I would select for the opening game of the 2019 World Cup for Ireland at 8.45am on Sunday morning.

5 In A Row Achieved

The mythical “5 in a row” has been achieved after Dublin beat Kerry in yesterday’s All Ireland Final replay with a 1-18 to 0-15 win at the second time of asking after a draw two weeks ago. Kilkenny and Kerry both tried to reach this magical milestone in the early 80’s for Kerry and in the late 2000’s for Kilkenny who were beaten by Liam Sheedy’s Tipperary in 2010.

What Dublin have managed to achieve is special and this group will now go down in the annals of GAA history as the first team to win the “5 in a row”.  This loss will sting in the Kingdom for a few months but when they look back on making the All Ireland Final they will realise how well the year went. It is tough to look back at this point but give it a few weeks and you will then realise how well Peter Keane and this young group did to reach the Final.

There is always next year although that won’t be any consolation at this stage, Kerry showed how well they are capable of competing but like most sides since Kerry last won the All Ireland in 2014 this Dublin team has proven to be a class apart from all contenders since 2015.

The 2nd half yesterday was very reminiscent of another team sponsored by AIG, Dublin were extremely clinical in everything they did after Eoin Murchan stroke in the opening minute of the 2nd half. The work done by Dublin in possession was a sight to behold and even though it upset the Kerry support it won’t matter to Dublin this morning as they are the All Ireland champions for a record 5th time in a row. Like Donegal in 2012 the way in which the win was achieved will only concern the beaten team.

Dublin will be thankful to key men like Stephen Cluxton, Jack Mc Caffrey, Ciaran Kilkenny, Con O Callaghan and Dean Rock all hit the right notes yesterday where in the drawn game they failed to make a telling mark in the contest. Yesterday was a different story as the much famed possession game was in full view in the 2nd half of the contest.

Jim Gavin has done very well to continue to work that was started by Pat Gilroy and Paul Caffrey. He and his management team have moulded a team with a huge work rate and appetite for success. The 5 in a row has been reached and now the clamour for the “surge for 6” will begin. Jim Gavin has said he will speak to the Dublin County Board in the near future about his own future and his management team will surely all speak to him about their own futures.

The “5 in a row” has been achieved, I am lucking to have live through a period where many sporting records have been broken, Ireland beating New Zealand, the grand slam being won and now the mythical 5 in a row has been achieved. Not since 1982 was this close to being done but now Dublin have managed it and will want to continue their impressive record into the 2020 season. For now though they can bask in the glow of their win yesterday.

For Kerry, it will take time to recover from this set back but with time they will be back to challenge again in 2020….

Life Changes 2019

It is amazing how quickly life changes, relationships and people change beyond all recognition when a big moment happens in life. You try extremely hard to return to your own self but your head and other factors stop you from doing things as you had hoped.

It has amazed me in particular how quick you lose touch with people. I have trusted more people in the last 5 years than I ever trusted in the previous 24 years. I have always been the guy to make others laugh and try to crack a joke.

Yes I seem to be Mr Serious and the look on my face seems to always suggest to people that I am in foul humour but that is so far removed from the truth in recent times. To some I may not have changed or moved on, to more I may seem like I haven’t a clue what to do with life or in life but as I have said so often before I will get there wherever there is in my own time. Again as my 29th birthday looms next week I am taking stock of where I am and where people expect you to be to keep up with the social norms of being in such and such a spot by 21, 30 and so on.

I have always done things stuff at a certain pace and in a certain way. I have given up listening to people who seem to be passing on pearls of wisdom because they feel it will benefit you in some way. I have heard so much “friendly” advice whether I wanted it or not in the last 2 and a bit years. Some decent advice but some utter crap from people who feel it is there right to fill in the void my Mam left.

I take advice from only a small number of people who have some idea of the situation I have been in since late 2016. It may also just be in my head but that is for me to figure out in time. I have spoken to so many and kept in touch with so many. I am at peace at last.

That plan of a few years ago to end my life at 30 has gone by the way side but I still think about what would happen if it did happen. Would I be missed, very doubtful from my perspective at this point but such is life.

I enjoy writing and recording but I will seriously have to think about what is really next on the agenda as I will turn 30 in 2020. I have time on my side and to use the skills already at my disposal and maybe add one or two more.

I still need time to process things in my own way and not just to suit others. I honestly feel like I make a choice and then I get advice helpful or not straight off the bat. Time to take full control of my life and drive on and not be sitting here in April 2020 writing a similar piece……

Ireland Vs England Warm Up Match 2

Ireland were dismantled by England in the 2nd World Cup warm up fixture for Joe Schmidt’s men after a 29-10 win over Italy in Dublin 2 weeks ago. This was meant to be the game where Ireland stepped up preparations after the tough weeks of pre season in Carton House and at the National Sport Campus in Abbotstown.

They certainly didn’t seem to get the memo as they were ruthlessly beaten by an England side that seems hell bent on winning the big prize in Japan in early November. Yes Ireland may be slightly behind England in match terms but they have done similar amounts of training over the past few months.

Being beaten yesterday was one thing but to be dismantled and not really come up with any real answers even when the game was lost will be the most alarming problem for the playing squad and the coaches as they return to base to review and try and pick up the pieces after such an abject showing.

From an England perspective I go back almost 4 years to when Eddie Jones took on the England job and his stated aim was to win the World Cup in Japan he also said he would use the first 2 years to work on forward play and getting his forwards comfortable on the ball that stated aim has been achieved along with his hope to do similar with the backs over the final 2 years of his 4 year deal. This whole approach was scoffed at in some quarters but does now seem to be coming to fruition just as the World Cup comes into sharp focus.

Jones has Manu Tuilagi playing well after so many periods on the sidelines his decision not to put him on the scrap heap is reaping the reward of patience. With other men like Henry Slade and Jonathan Joseph also in good form at the minute in time things do seem to be rosy in the garden for all in the England camp. He got his wish of having Sam Underhill and Tom Curry on the field of play and this combination worked a treat and nullified the trio of O Mahony, Van Der Flier and Stander.

Only 4 members of the Ireland extended squad has yet to see game time and will see game time in two games vs Wales in Cardiff and Dublin. After the defeat yesterday this squad will be shaken and will be looking for reasons for the manner of the defeat, it wasn’t just a defeat it was like a lamb being led to slaughter and can’t be good for confidence or put down as “one of those things”.

We are less than a month out from the opening World Cup game vs Scotland and time is running out for this squad to build up the confidence that is surely waning. The positive attitude that Joe Schmidt usually can muster after a loss was missing in the aftermath yesterday and he will know it is down to his players and coaches to make sure his final few weeks as Ireland head coach don’t end in a whimper.

As I have said several times when writing about this squad time again to circle the wagons and go again but I will honestly say the manner of the loss yesterday has me worried for the first time in Joe Schmidt’s 6 year tenure. I hope I am proven wrong but the signs really don’t look good 4 weeks out.

I will select the side I feel will try and restore lost confidence

15 Andrew Conway

14 Keith Earls

13 Gary Ringrose

12 Chris Farrell

11 Will Addison

10 Ross Byrne

9 Conor Murray

8 Jack Conan

7 Josh Van Der Flier

6 Peter O Mahony

5 James Ryan

4 Tadgh Beirne

3 John Ryan

2 Niall Scannell

1 Dave Kilcoyne

16 Sean Cronin

17 Jack Mc Grath

18 Tadgh Furlong

19 Devin Toner

20 Rhys Ruddock

21 Kieran Marmion

22 Jonathan Sexton

23 Robbie Henshaw

Mam 3 Years On

Hard to believe I am writing my 3rd one of these but here goes. Mam passed away almost 3 years ago and since that day September 7th 2016 through to September 10th 2016 when the decision was made as a family to switch off the life support machine I haven’t stopped think about you on a daily basis.

Life has been strange, funny, agonising, terrifying and terrific in equal measure in the 3 years since you left the three of us to pick up the pieces. I hope the three of us have done a decent job in living together and done even better in not killing each other.

With each passing year Mam I can feel myself taking on your well known traits of talking straight and not taking a backward step from any situation, It has been said to me in recent months that I stand like you, make similar gestures, speak like you and so forth. I can listen to those around me speak about you and how much I remind you of them.

I am in a strong place mentally and you will be delighted to know I am working now, shock horror…. I am out and about and finally doing the thing you always wanted me to do, go out and live a decent life. I know you’d be thrilled to know I am working. It’s a real shame I didn’t do this while you were here on earth but you are looking after me still 3 years on.

It is still strange when I write these pieces as the years slowly move on as I say this will be your 3rd anniversary. I am doing very well, thankfully much better with each passing year and again I think about you every morning I wake up and you’re always in my thoughts every single day.

I hope that my new job would has shown you that I will make out fine in life as I know you were worried if anything ever happened to you that I would not make out too well but I hope that the last few months have proven to you that I am making out fine…

Your decision to be an organ donor still baffles me as I had no clue you wanted to be an organ donor but in equal measure your decision also proves to type of person you were, you always thought about everyone else before yourself and thanks to you 4 people were given the gift of life….

That’s enough from me, say hello to all up there for me and keep an eye on me even though quite a few people have taken on the “mammy” role and had a few words in my ear when they felt I needed a kick in the backside…. Rest assured I will always have a large group of people to give me that kick up the arse when needed….

Mam’s Anniversary Mass is on Saturday September 7th at 6pm in Tarbert….

Ireland World Cup Prep Match 1 vs Italy

Earlier today Ireland kicked off there playing preparations after 6 weeks of pre season training that took in numerous venues like Galway, Limerick and also the new training facility in Abbotstown where the IRFU, FAI and GAA have dedicated training facilities. Looking at those weeks Ireland have put in some hard graft in preparation for the upcoming World Cup.

Italy came to town with a much changed side from last season’s 6 Nations where Conor O Shea wanted a performance and for some of his charges to step up to the mark and put a hand up for team selection heading into the 2019 campaign.

For Joe Schmidt it was a opportunity to test out some new players like Jean Kleyn, Mike Haley and give guys like Dave Kearney a chance to stake a claim for selection for Japan 2019.  The game itself was scrappy from the 1st minute to 80 minutes and will more than likely be just remembered for the injury to Joey Carbery that saw him leave the field after 49 minutes to be replaced by Jack Carty. Here’s hoping the news of Carbery’s injury will be positive when Ireland gather again in the middle of next week.

Although the performance won’t have any sides quaking it still threw up a number of decent performances from Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell and Joey Carbery before injury forced him to depart to let Jack Carty take his chance for the final 30 minutes. Carty for his part played well in the final 30 minutes even if the game dropped in intensity in that final quarter, he still found touch with two wonderful kicks to push Ireland up field.

Other stand out performers were Tadgh Beirne, Kieran Marmion and Devin Toner who rolled his ankle but should be in contention to face England in two weeks time. The work will need to be put in to see can the level of performance improve before they face England in match two of four.

Ireland will know the performance levels will need to get much better and the supposed heavy hitters will need to hit the ground running when they get back in harness whether that is against England or the two fixtures against Wales home and away. It’s two weeks until England in Twickenham and let’s hope the news on Joey Carbery will be positive later in the week.

Here is the side I would select to face England :

15 Will Addison

14 Keith Earls

13 Chris Farrell

12 Robbie Henshaw

11 Andrew Conway

10 Ross Byrne

9 John Cooney

8 Jack Conan

7 Peter O Mahony

6 CJ Stander

5 Iain Henderson

4 Tadgh Beirne

3 John Ryan

2 Sean Cronin

1 Dave Kilcoyne

16 Niall Scannell

17 Jack Mc Grath

18 Andrew Porter

19 Devin Toner

20 Jordi Murphy

21 Kieran Marmion

22 Jonathan Sexton

23 Jacob Stockdale