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Friday 18 August 2017

Matt hopes to Byrne brightly

4 September 2015; Matt Byrne, Leinster. U20 Interprovincial Rugby Championship, Round 1, Leinster v Connacht. Donnybrook Stadium, Donnybrook, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
4 September 2015; Matt Byrne, Leinster. U20 Interprovincial Rugby Championship, Round 1, Leinster v Connacht. Donnybrook Stadium, Donnybrook, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Matt Byrne is not quite living the dream just yet.

He is still working diligently towards entry into the Leinster Academy with players, like James Ryan and Andrew Porter, who are already there.

"Not being in The Academy, I'm still training as much as they would be.

"I don't feel they are a level above us. You don't feel that segregation."

When the former St Joseph's Cabinteely footballer returned from trials at Liverpool and Bury, he knuckled down to his rugby at Terenure College.

"You want to be pushing towards the Sub-Academy. That is what I've been building towards all year. That opportunity is still there. It's not gone."

He has made rugby his first professional aim and views the Under-20 Six Nations as his 'shop window'.

"There are a lot of people watching you," said the student of Architecture at Dublin Institute of Technology.

"You are being noticed on and off the field for your actions."

The wing's most recent actions could make all the difference to Ireland's championship.

The campaign was showing all the hallmarks of going off the rails from losses to Wales and France when England moved into a 20-6 lead in the 43rd minute at Kingston Park last Friday week.

Then James Ryan peeled away from a lineout for Ireland's first try and Byrne took to the corner for the second to narrow the deficit to two points.

"You could feel once James got his try that the momentum was starting to shift," said Byrne.

"When we got that second try, there was a feeling in the team that we could really go on and win it.

"I didn't really expect that it was going to come down to that."

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