Cork Con's Shane Daly directing all his attention on final

Centre is hoping they’ll retain their crown against Lansdowne at the Aviva on Sunday

Cork Constitution’s Shane Daly at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday: “It was great to win here last year and it’s an unbelievable feeling winning a league because it’s so hard to win.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Cork Constitution’s Shane Daly at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday: “It was great to win here last year and it’s an unbelievable feeling winning a league because it’s so hard to win.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Shane Daly doesn’t have much on his plate really. The 21-year-old centre is in his second year with the Munster academy and, as well as playing for their A side, is a core figure in the Irish Sevens team, and is back readjusting to the 15-a-side game with Cork Con for this Sunday’s Ulster Bank League final against Lansdowne at the Aviva Stadium.

He missed last week’s semi-final win over Terenure as he was an unused sub in Munster’s Guinness Pro14 draw with Ulster; and, having studied finance in UCC, all the while he is also working in corporate tax in Ernest and Young in Dublin.

“It takes a lot of organisation, to be honest. Every week for me is different. At the start of every week, I have to tell work what days I’m in and tell training what days I can make it. To be honest, work have been very good to me. I’m only in three days a week. I get two days off every week so it’s grand.”

He is contracted with the Irish Sevens until the end of this season, which culminates with the Sevens World Cup in San Francisco at the end of July. Apart from having another year in the Munster academy, his future is “all a bit up in the air at the moment.”

Biggest task

Time management is his biggest task.

“It’s very stressful, to be honest. Every week is so different. It’s tough to manage. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t. But I have very good people around me. Even the sevens manager and my boss inside in work, they have been so good to me. If I hadn’t people on my case, I would be an absolute disaster.”

The Irish Sevens missed out on qualifying for next season’s World Series thanks to what Daly describes as a “heartbreaking” 12-7 defeat to Japan in Hong Kong a month ago when set to go ahead 12 seconds from time only to turn over possession and concede a length-of-the-pitch try with the last play of the game.

Lansdowne are always up there, we have played against them three times in each of the last few seasons

There’s a qualifying tournament in Moscow in a few weeks’ time to compete in Hong Kong again next year, as well as an invitation to the World Series leg in Paris before the World Cup. Daly, a star of the Irish Under-20s team in 2016 when scoring two tries in the Six Nations as well as the semi-finals and final of the Under-20 World Cup, is following the sevens development path trod by Alex Wootton, Dan Goggin, Rory O’Loughlin and Adam Byrne amongst others.

‘Much easier’

He confesses that he finds it “much easier to go from sevens to 15s rather than the other way around. Even just coming back in with the sevens this week, I was training today, everything is just a bit different.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s final, when Con are seeking to retain the crown they won by beating Clontarf in last season’s final, Daly says: “I have good memories of the Aviva. It was great to win here last year and it’s an unbelievable feeling winning a league because it’s so hard to win. It goes on all season and the best team normally does come out on top, so hopefully that’s us this weekend.

“Lansdowne are always up there, we have played against them three times in each of the last few seasons. We know their threats and they do have a lot, but we would like to think we have a lot too. It’s a big stage, but one of the best things of playing with Con is that we have been in league and cup finals. There’s nobody in the team new to that set-up.”

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