Conor Murray: Joey Carbery could be the key for Munster

International contingent join the province's squad for pre-season camp at Fota Island

 CJ Stander, Conor Murray and  Peter O’Mahony   at the launch of the 2018/19 Munster Rugby alternate and European jersey at Fota Island Resort in Cork. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

CJ Stander, Conor Murray and Peter O’Mahony at the launch of the 2018/19 Munster Rugby alternate and European jersey at Fota Island Resort in Cork. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Conor Murray believes the arrival of half-back partner Joey Carbery could be the key to pushing Munster one step closer to silverware.

Carbery has joined up with his new province this week with the internationals returning to take part in Munster’s pre-season training camp at Fota Island Resort in Cork.

Munster have not won a trophy since their Celtic League triumph in 2011 and have lost six Champions Cup semi-finals in ten years. But Murray thinks the 24-year-old former Leinster outhalf will have no problem slotting in after the duo started together for the first time in Ireland’s 18-9 defeat to Australia on June 9th.

“He controlled things really well in that first Test. That game started ferociously, particularly me and him got a few heavy hits and Australia seemed to be putting a lot of pressure on us,” said Murray.

“He kept his composure and grew into the game, eventually did really well. I’ve trained with him an awful lot, played with him a bit, that’ll hopefully help him settle in. The lads know how good he is, and can be, so there’s a bit of a buzz around about him coming down.

“Joey’s very confident in his own ability, he’ll have no issues settling in or telling people what to do. I don’t have any fears for him, being in this week is very important to get to know everyone and we’re living down here for the week, so he’ll take a few steps forward.

“All of the other 10s have their own motivation about what they want to do, and Ian Keatley has been there for a long time, JJ Hanrahan had a strong finish to the season and he’ll be looking to continue that.

“Those lads have an awful lot to play for, and you need that – a competitive squad. That’s what’s probably let us down – we didn’t have the depth we need, that if someone takes a bang someone else can step in and do a really good job. They’ll be fighting it out.”

Munster captain Peter O’Mahony was another key figure this summer in Ireland’s first tour victory in Australia since 1979. The former British & Irish Lions captain was also back training with Munster, and is excited about the prospect of Carbery lining out in red.

Much more

“For a guy who is 22, he certainly plays like a guy who is in his late 20s. Doesn’t get flustered, he’s well able to lead a team and the beauty of it all is that he is only 22, he’s got so much more in him, so much more to go,” said O’Mahony.

“He’s had a huge amount to learn, obviously, he’s been under Sexton, he’s had a great mentor in him and will continue to do so for a long time hopefully.

“He’s come around other guys in our squad now who have a lot of experience and who can share a lot of ideas and work well with each other and kick us in the one direction.”

Murray was in Dublin last weekend as he watched Limerick secure a stunning 3-32 to 2-31 All-Ireland SHC semi-final win over Cork.

And he said Munster and Ireland team-mate and fellow Limerick native Keith Earls gave an inspirational speech to the Limerick hurlers beforehand.

“Earlsy was out chatting to them actually. They have linked into that a little bit,” said Murray. “They look like a team that are completely comfortable. They look like a team that didn’t get bogged down by the occasion last week and that was the fear with Limerick going to Croke Park for years. They seem to have a grasp on that. Earlsy is doing a good job with that.”

Murray and O’Mahony were speaking at their training bases this week at Fota Island at the unveiling of the new Munster European and alternate jerseys which are available from this (FRI) morning from Life Style Sports outlets.

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