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Monday 20 August 2018

Time to step up: Kearney

David says onus is on young guns to carry Blues forward while senior stars are away

There's not a lot that fazes David Kearney. A shrug of the shoulders deflects praise directed at him as he knows there's still plenty for him and his team-mates to prove.

There was plenty of determination evident last weekend in defeating the Newport Gwent Dragons but Dave and the team know there's a lot more to be done.

"At this time of the year we are a young side, relatively speaking, compared to when all of the senior guys are around," Kearney explains.

"And I know from experience that even when you have a core group of less experienced players, there's still an onus on us all to carry through what playing for the jersey is all about.

Memory

"Our performance against the Ospreys in the opening week was one of our worst performances in recent memory, but last week was a little bit better.

"That was pleasing because we needed a reaction after what had happened against the Ospreys.

"So when you look at it broadly, age shouldn't come into it, simple mistakes or sloppy play are not what we're about, regardless of who is wearing the Leinster jersey.

"I think that we're moving in the right direction, but we also know that we have to step it up another gear against Glasgow.

"Joe (Schmidt) says that the more experienced players have to step up at this time of year and with a bit more experience under my belt compared to others in the squad it's nice to have that extra pressure and responsibility."

Straight talk and the kind of refreshing insight which tells you a lot about a young man determined to define a new legacy rather than dwell on past successes.

A keen sportsman, he will spend a lot of this weekend assessing the fortunes of his beloved Manchester United against Chelsea, while his love of Gaelic football means that he will have more than a passing interest in Dublin's bid to upset the odds against Kerry in the All-Ireland football final.

"Even though Louth are obviously out of the running I'll be an interested spectator for the All-Ireland, like the rest of the country I suppose. I was a midfielder in my younger days playing football with Cooley and we won a few minor championships.

"I was then selected for Louth Under-16s but then when I turned 16 I was selected for Leinster Under-18 Schools and that put paid to playing Gaelic because of the demands to be competitive in both sports.

"Once you're selected to join the Academy you have to channel all of your focus on that, but there are times when you do miss playing other sports.

"Obviously the World Cup is getting the lion's share of the coverage and hopefully Ireland can build on their win against the USA against what is a very strong Wallabies side.

Unfairly

"The Dubs will have it tough this weekend, but they have been unfairly labelled as 'bottlers' and this year they seem to have put that to bed. So it would be nice for them to go on and win Sam (Maguire). Kerry have won enough (titles) at this stage!"

Sunday afternoon is for thinking about on Sunday, he points out. Right here, right now he's all about Saturday evening in the RDS. And he believes that having played Irish provinces on each of their opening two rounds, Glasgow will be keen to get their first win of the season.

"Glasgow are coming off two losses which makes them dangerous opponents because they will be gunning to get their first win.

"They have a real unity in their team and defensively they come up quite quickly so we'll need to be aware of that threat.

"Our preparation has been good and it has had to be because we're down a few numbers between injuries and World Cup duty.

"Even though they're second from bottom there's no way that we're going to underestimate them. Remember, we were bottom (of the league) this time last week! We seem to play better in front of the bigger crowds and we're lucky that we can count on such fantastic support.

"As the weeks go on we will hopefully begin to gel a bit more and that should mean more consistent performances, and games at this time of the year are a great opportunity for us all to stake a claim. We're all conscious of our strong record at home which has been built up over a long period and we don't want that run to end."

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