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O'Halloran eager to erase bad memories

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Tiernan O'Halloran

Tiernan O'Halloran

SPORTSFILE

Tiernan O'Halloran

To say that Tiernan O'Halloran doesn't have happy memories of his only previous visit to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth would be an understatement.

After all, his first international start was cruelly ended there after just 10 minutes of Ireland's decisive third Test defeat to South Africa on the 2016 summer tour.

A clash in the air with his opposite number Wille le Roux saw O'Halloran land very awkwardly on his back/neck area as his afternoon was brutally cut short.

Le Roux was sent to the bin for his troubles, which wasn't much use to O'Halloran, who missed out on the chance to further stake his claim in an Ireland jersey.

Tougher

It's even tougher for the Clifden native to look back on it now, considering he has only made two starts in the four years since.

O'Halloran's last appearance for his country came off the bench in the second Test against Japan on the 2017 tour.

Injury problems haven't helped his cause and while he hasn't given up hope of winning a seventh cap, the 29-year-old knows that won't happen unless he hits some serious from now until the end of the season.

Going back to South Africa with Connacht this weekend not only provides a chance to right some of the wrongs from his last visit, but it is also an opportunity to build on his recent impressive performances.

"This is my first time back in that stadium since I had my big fall for Ireland that time when I got taken out in the air against South Africa," O'Halloran recalled.

"It will be interesting going back again. It was a massive occasion for me and to get it cut short like that was pretty tough. It wasn't the best feeling and then we ended up losing that game to lose the series. It will be good to go back and hopefully change the result.

"Port Elizabeth is similar to Salthill in the summer with the prom and that, it's quite a nice spot. It's a big stadium. We probably won't get the biggest crowd but again that's in a challenge in itself."