herald

Sunday 21 October 2018

Healy bulling to butt heads with Connacht

Cian Healy
Cian Healy

It seems that one man's reason to celebrate is another's reason to store up resentment.

While John Muldoon took the plaudits from the conversion of Connacht's seventh try in their 47-10 rout of Leinster last season, there were those who didn't quite like what they saw.

Now Muldoon is the defence coach at Bristol Bears and Cian Healy is committed to a day of redemption in Galway on Saturday.

"I suppose, on a personal note, that was nice for him to finish off his career," said the loosehead.

"But it is something you have to take a bit of offence to, when you're not taken seriously."

There is nothing like a local squabble to get the blood boiling and Connacht have proved a real pest to Leinster at The Sportsgrounds.

The Westerners have won four of their last six there in tussles between the two rivals.

"You need a response from those sorts of things and a good team gives a response. We went well for the rest of it (the season)," Healy added.

"It's a big blow to what you're doing and what you're working towards. If you don't fight back from it, you're not going to go too far."

Ultimately, it was exactly what Leinster needed ahead of their last three matches of last season as they went on to complete the double.

That campaign set an improbable standard in terms of what was captured at the end of it, but there were reminders of Leinster's vulnerability against Cheetahs in South Africa, Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland, Ospreys in Wales, Connacht closer to home and Treviso at home.

The commitment to excellence has to be there every day, not just every Saturday.

"It was the same last year," Healy said.

"We've just got to nail down our focus, take our strategy, our intensity - everything has to go up one gear from last year.

"There's no point in doing that and then dropping down a couple of gears to go back up again.

"We will pick up where we left off and keep trucking, keep improving."

Usually, it is the older heads that have to steer the younger ones in the right direction.

This is where Leinster are different to most other clubs in Europe.

"I don't think we need to," said Healy.

"The young lads have a passion and a drive to win that you don't really see a lot of and the squad wants to continue to win.

"We got the taste of what it's like and it tastes too good to leave it.

"There will be a lot going into this season. It's a long way away.

"The roots that you put down now are the ones that come to fruition at the end of it."

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