Ireland's fastest player Carr looking to get his career out of the slow lane
Fionn Carr: "I didn't look any further than Connacht or Leinster."
Fionn Carr has the same problem this week he has had for the past two years.
Three into two will not go and Carr has been the odd man out more often than not. This Friday Leinster face the Dragons at Rodney Parade with Luke Fitzgerald and Fergus McFadden expected to come into the back three.
The Munster-bound Andrew Conway is another road block but Dave Kearney will probably shift from fullback to accommodate Fitzgerald.
Isa Nacewa has to come back at some stage too.
Also, Leinster have form for not picking a player who has already decided to leave so Kearney, in all likelihood, will be championed over Conway and Carr as the season enters the home stretch.
Carr has made the decision to sign once more for Connacht next season on a two-year deal with his initial replacement, Mark McCrea, shipped on to Jersey RFC.
Multiple permutations have consistently worked against the fastest man in Irish rugby since he returned from Galway in the summer of 2011.
“It was a really difficult decision,” said Carr before training in UCD on Monday afternoon about his imminent second stint in Galway . “I was undecided about what I was going to do but when it came down to it I decided that Connacht was the place for me.”
In statistical terms, it makes perfect sense. Carr ran in a record 34 tries in 73 appearances for Connacht over three seasons.
Since returning to the Leinster environment that nurtured him through their Academy not long after leaving Newbridge College, Carr has made no Heineken Cup starts with just 25 run outs in the Pro12 yielding seven tries.
This situation didn’t look set to change next season either, with the younger Kearney ahead of him in the pecking order. Alas, he was probably unaware Conway was about to sign for Munster when opting to link up with Pat Lam’s new regime in Connacht.
“Every player wants to play week in, week out. It does get frustrating sometimes when you don’t get the nod and I just based my decision on that.”
Was there an offer to stay at Leinster? “Yes, there was. I didn’t look any further than Connacht or Leinster.
“When I made the decision I spoke to Joe (Schmidt) at great length,” Carr explained. “At the end of the day I am professional. I want to play week in, week out no matter where I am.”
It’s a shame he never got the opportunity to show his unquestioned try-scoring abilities for Leinster, especially considering the relationship developed with Ian Madigan in their early years playing for Blackrock club. Carr was a sensational All-Ireland League player, devastating from anywhere on the field when afforded space.
“I’ve played with Mads since last year but also a little bit in Blackrock after we both finished school. He is a fantastic player, definitely one for the future if not now.
“Mads has got a fantastic running game, kicking game and passing game as well. He opens up space by being a threat to the line himself, and it opens up space for me on the outside.
“When I see him doing something like that I just trail him on the inside or outside as he might get a half break and an offload. I don’t really mind that.”
Blackrock never made the play-offs during this period, despite the wealth of young talent in their backline.
“Yeah, there were quite a few. Niall Morris, Dave Moore, who is in Connacht. Finished fifth plenty of times, put it down to inexperience as the backs were all about 19. Good coach there in Emmie Farrell.”
Farrell, who doubles up as Leinster’s performance analyst and assistant coach to Mike Ruddock at Lansdowne, finally looks set to be part of an AIL-winning backroom team.
The future for Carr remains clouded, however, but this second of second comings, this time out west, does at least promise greater exposure.
And that’s all any player craves.