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

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.

Drinking at Sports Events

Last weekend I was at Ireland vs. France in the Aviva Stadium, I made my way to my seat around an hour before kickoff nothing strange with that but as kick off approached and everybody made it in time for the 3pm kickoff, and then it began the constant in and out to the bar and then in and out to the toilet.

I realise that a sports event is much more than the duration of a match or whatever the event is, people want to be entertained for the admission price alone. But if you’re going to dispatch someone out to the bar every 15 or 20 minutes to refill your glass, either stay outside or leave the Stadium altogether. There is nothing worse than having to move out of the way to let a patron in and out on multiple occasions to go and refill a glass or empty themselves of the excesses of the afternoon.

Yes I am a non drinker so will never have to wonder what it’s like to want a drink during a game. I am not for one minute complaining about parents who may need a child to the toilet but the majority over the age of 18, It is a constant stream of people and that can annoy people no end not just myself but having asked a few people this week about this situation they have all said it can be a major distraction to the given event.

I realise that people will want a drink while they watch the match but how you can enjoy anything when you’re constantly wondering when will I get my next pint, I think it is then time to decide to go to the game or just stay in the Bar. Not a big decision to make but the majority of punters would appreciate not having to nearly sit on a swivel chair and having to constantly move in and out.

I appeal to everyone to please be on time to the games and please oh please keep the movements to an absolute minimum and come and enjoy the sporting event. If you can’t keep away from the bar, just stay at home……

Ireland Vs France Review 2019

Last night Ireland tasted defeat for the 3rd time in this year’s 6 Nations campaign and off the back of the 47-17 loss, Ireland will now need to beat Wales away from home to stand any hope of finishing in 3rd place in the Championship. The game started well with Ireland replying to an early French try but Ireland got back into the game with an unconverted Ciara Griffin try. It was tit for tat for the opening 30 minutes with Ireland showing up well in close quarters and putting in a strong shift up front.

Unfortunately for Ireland they could not keep playing the game at the same pace as the French whose ball handling skills were a sight to behold when they got into the open spaces with 2018 World Player of the year nominee Jessy Tremouliere playing a key role in keeping France moving forward and moving the Irish defence around and then in turn the French scrum was rock solid and put Ireland on the back foot from the start.

For Ireland, players like captain Ciara Griffin, Claire Molloy, Sene Naoupu and Enya Breen who made her first Six Nations start at outside centre all stood up and were counted even when things were beginning to get away from Ireland in the 2nd half.

The tough questions will again be asked about the basics of taking out the player and then pass but there can be no disputing how strong France were throughout the field and even with the heavy hitting pair of Lena Corsin and Safie N’diaye not in the 23, France still had plenty to spare and they will do everything in their final home fixture and finish in 2nd spot behind England who may now go on and complete the Grand Slam against Scotland away next weekend.

For Ireland, focus will now turn to Wales away next week and the players will have a final chance to find a performance to end the Championship on a positive note.

This Championship has been mixed but one final chance at picking up a morale boosting win is still there and this week although it will be hard to keep up the positive feeling around the squad but that is just what Adam Griggs, Jeff Carter and Mike Ross will need to do and let’s hope they can take out the frustrations of the last two performances out on Wales who beat Ireland in the World Cup in 2017……

Katie Taylor – Childhood Dreams Fulfilled…

Katie – Childhood Dreams Fulfilled….

Having watched the Ross Whitaker directed film on Katie Taylor last night, I think the film did an adequate job revealing all about her life and times and yes it may not have made any new revelations about her career or personal life but it did give us an indication of the thought process with which she made the decision to go from the amateur game which yielded many World and European titles along with Olympic Gold in London in 2012 to the pro game in late 2016.

It examines the strength of her relationship both personal and professional with her father and long time coach Peter Taylor. It shows us the strong faith that she and her Mam have in God. The film reveals that it was a tweet to boxing promoter Eddie Hearn that started the ball rolling to get Katie into the pro game.

Brian Peters who is her manager, took on that job as a favour to her mother Bridget and to look after an aspect of the game that she was never comfortable dealing with and also the amateur game would not prepare you for the rigours of the professional game.

Ross Enamait, who is based in the US is her trainer and their relationship has strengthened in the few years that they have been together. We also see that Katie has re located to the US in a bid to dominate the professional fight game like she dominated the amateur ranks for well over a decade.

Since she has turned pro she has boxed in the USA in Madison Square Garden to name one venue ,Cardiff at the Principality Stadium , in London at Wembley and so on. We in Ireland may be waiting to see Katie box on home soil due to circumstances outside of the boxing world. While Ray Moylette made a return to box on home soil before Christmas although this return wasn’t successful it did herald the return of Pro boxing to these shores.

While boxing did return, the hope of Katie headlining a show on home soil does seem to be a bit of a pipe dream in the current climate. England will be the closet destination to see her live one feels. She is a legend of Irish sport with all she has achieved so far and this may continue into 2019.

A word on film maker Ross Whitaker who took on this project, he also brought the documentary on Anthony Foley to our screens. It will be interesting to see what he has planned for next time….




The Honey Spike

The Honey Spike

So another hugely play was staged by the Tarbert Theatre Players over two dates in Tarbert Community Centre and then over four dates in St Johns Theatre from last Thursday to last night ( Sunday) to packed houses each evening.

This play was penned by Bryan Mc Mahon and tells the story of the Claffey family from who travel from Kenmare in the South to the Giants Causeway in the North of Ireland and back to Kerry so Breda Claffey can give birth in her favoured Honey Spike ( Hospital ).

The play was directed by Mary Lavery Carrig and had a big support crew with people like Trish Griffin on lighting , Helen Enright took on the Sound department with the help of Jack Mulvihill , Eithne Griffin was in charge back stage with Maura Mc Dermott taking up a new role this year as Costume and Make up manager , the set management was controlled by Johnny Block Mulvihill and Danielle Considine. Maureen Considine played the part of MC and this author played a small role as Front Of House.

What the last few months have shown is that hard work and team work do make a winning combination and those two aspects have helped bring this play back to life. This play follows on from the staging of Diarmy a few years back.

The Cast had some new faces this year with people like James Enright , Sean Carrig and Les Pledge coming on board alongside some more familiar faces like PJ Normile , Yvonne O Keeffe Fox and Tom Stack. The Cast numbered 18 in total and that is tough to marry all the different personalities but they managed it perfectly and delivered 6 wonderful nights of entertainment to full houses.

The Tarbert Theatre Players will take a well earned break for a few months and who knows they may be back in 2019, We will just have to wait and see……

The Full Cast was :

Narrator/ Sergeant O Brien : John Dowling

Breda Claffey : Yvonne O Keeffe Fox

Martin Claffey : PJ Normile

Mickle Sherlock : Tom Stack

Poll Poll Sherlock : Priscilla Donovan

Meg Mc Cutcheon/ Traveller Women 3 : Trish Healy

Horan IRA Man : Padraig O Connor

IRA Man 1/ DickeyBird : Shane Wall

IRA Man 2 / Shone Mc Queen : Cormac Wall

British Army Officer : Les Pledge

British Army Sergeant : Sean Carrig

British Army Private : James Enright

Midland Housewife : Niamh Wall

Franciscan Monk : Gerry O Connell

Winifred Mc Queen : Noelle Mc Gibney

Michael Anthony Mollumby : Thomas Mulvihill

Traveller Women 1 : Helen Enright

Traveller Woman 2 : Angela O Connor

Support Crew :

Front Of House : Cian Mc Gibney

Set Manager : Johnny Block Mulvihill , Danielle Considine

Costume / Make Up : Maura Mc Dermott

Back Stage Manager : Eithne Griffin

Sound Manager’s: Helen Enright / Jack Mulvihill

Lighting Manager : Trish Griffin

Director/Producer : Mary Lavery Carrig

MC : Maureen Considine

Liam Miller Tribute Game

Liam Miller Tribute Game

I found myself in Pairc Ui Chaoimh yesterday for the Liam Miller Tribute game which saw some of the finest football talent grace the field in Pairc Ui Chaoimh all in honour of the late Liam Miller who represented Celtic, Manchester United and the Republic Of Ireland on 21 occasions.

The great and good of the game came out to support the Miller family with men like Roy Keane, Denis Irwin and also a few of his underage team mates as well namely Andy Reid and John O Shea. Some of the best players to play under Sir Alex Ferguson and Martin O Neill at Celtic and latterly with Ireland took to the pitch yesterday.

For so many children and a few adults I might add it was a chance to see the likes of Keane , Scholes , Neville , Irwin and Giggs, a number of key cogs in successful United sides over the last 25 years. It was also testament to the popularity of Liam Miller throughout the three teams he will be mostly associated with Manchester United, Celtic and Ireland that so many men made the trip to Cork to take part and show support for Liam’s family.

To everyone who worked tirelessly for the last few months to make sure the game went off without a hitch much take huge credit, the work that went into moving the game from Turners Cross to Pairc Ui Chaoimh this move of course caused a few headaches but once all issues were solved it let the organisers get to the job of putting on a day that people would remember and the Miller family could be proud of.

They did that and more and of course as has been mentioned the 90 minutes was secondary but the day as a whole was terrific and the decision to move the game certainly did not affect the atmosphere in any way.

It is also fair to say that Roy Keane is still idolised on Leeside, because as soon as he entered the game yesterday the roar that greeted his introduction put you in no doubt that he is still “Keano” the man that led United through a glorious period in the club’s history.

I was privileged to be part of the 42,000 souls that descended onto Leeside yesterday afternoon to pay tribute to Liam Miller footballer, son, husband, father, team mate and friend to many. Rest Easy Liam, it was an honour to get the opportunity to pay tribute to you yesterday in the presence of your family…

World Cup 2018

Sporting Rivalry

Over the past week I have been surprised by the animosity toward the England football team, moving from the usual banter to the more spiteful. Every few years this continuing talk of what sport is the best on the Planet bring everyone out of the woodwork. Everybody has an opinion about what sport is the best.

England had no real pressure on them in this tournament and although you can be sure there was internal pressure from within the squad. Most pundits were surprised by how far England managed to get by getting to a first Semi Final since 1990. This squad didn’t have as much collective talent as the squads since 1990.

We have seen many people across social media channels giving there opinions on the England performance , many people saying that they wouldn’t follow England because they are Irish  , although if you took a poll , most of those “ Fans “ would follow an English club side. I myself am an Arsenal supporter. It was good to see England finally throw off the shackles and get as far as they did, although they were beaten by a terrific Croatian team that will give France plenty to think about in Moscow.

Back to sporting rivalry, we in this country have no issue playing up to the gallery saying we have the greatest fans in the world in any sport be that Football followers , rugby supporters and any other followers of the numerous sports we participate in.

It is very easy to sit back and scoff at the achievements of England in the 2018 World Cup but we in this country should use it as a motivational tool to see can we put in the same type of performances in try to qualify for Euro 2020 which will of course be held across many cities including Dublin.

It is time we stopped all  the one up man ship and get behind every team that is involved in competition. It seems to be very easy for people to have a pop at certain sports. Rugby is the prime example and although some pundits claim that rugby is now the sport of the people in Ireland which isn’t true at all and never will be the case given that the GAA and Football still hold sway over other minority sports.

Rugby is played in only a small number of countries whereas, Football is played all over the world. Rugby has done plenty of work through the shortened version of the game in 7s, it still will need time to get places. It will never have the same appeal as Football has in a worldwide context.

Let’s hope that the achievements of the past few weeks by the England team will not be lost and from the FA’s position they will give Gareth Southgate more time to continue his work trying to change the way his squad do things.

A World Cup Semi Final was achieved with no expectations , now the challenge will be to try and better that achievement starting with Nations League starting this September in place of Friendlies and hopefully culminating in a place at the 2020 European Championships….


Cian Mc Gibney


Ireland Squad -2018 Oz Tour

Ireland Squad – Trip To Oz

Ireland head for Australia in June for three Test Matches against a Michael Cheika coached Aussies side who will want to bounce back from a poor Rugby Championship campaign. Australia will know what awaits them having faced England back in 2016 and they were Grand Slam winners also.

Joe Schmidt will realise that this is an ideal opportunity for his squad to really put out a statement of intent ahead of November 2018 where the World Champions will come to town for one final time before the World Cup in Japan in late 2019.

Ireland are now 2nd in the World and this a real fill up to supporters but you can be sure that all the players will want to drive forward and this Tour will give them the chance to win a Series in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time since 1979.

The squad has two additions in the form of Tadgh Beirne and Ross Byrne, both men will hope to earn a first cap down South. In Beirne’s case he had to head to Wales to get regular game time and in the two years he has spent with the Scarlets he has developed into a really good quality back row and has also played in the second row. He has turned into a master of the turnover and is also quite adept at the “Choke Tackle” that Les Kiss introduced to the Irish set up during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

Ross Byrne has had to bide his time to gain International recognition in the Green jersey having played alongside Luke Mc Grath and Garry Ringrose at 20s level. Both men have graduated to senior level and have been capped on multiple occasions.

Now Ross Byrne will have at least one shot at nailing down the third out half position in the Irish squad. This Tour will be very beneficial to this squad who will want to show the World that they can kick on from winning a Grand Slam and with the way Joe Schmidt has worked his magic since the failure of the 2015 World Cup and build real strength in depth with real quality in each position.

Yes out half is still an issue but we will see the quality of Ross Byrne who has been selected ahead of Joey Carbery many times this year for Leinster. Byrne’s younger brother Harry will steer the Under 20s ship as first choice out half in France this summer. The quality in that family isn’t just confined to one family member.

Micheal Cheika has gotten in early saying it is the ideal chance at lowering the Irish colours since the Grand Slam win in March. Joe Schmidt will have his side well guarded against compliancy and they will go after three wins to seal a very special achievement that hasn’t been done in 39 years.

The time is now for this squad to show that last March wasn’t just a one off and consistency can be achieved until the World Cup in late 2019 where Ireland will try and get to a first ever Semi Final since the first World Cup in 1987……


Cian Mc Gibney