Jack O’Donoghue focused on job at hand for Munster

Waterford-born back hoping add to solitary Ireland cap in forthcoming Six Nations

Jack O’Donoghue made his senior Ireland debut in the 52-21 defeat of Canada last November. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho.

Jack O’Donoghue made his senior Ireland debut in the 52-21 defeat of Canada last November. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho.

 

Jack O’Donoghue is hopeful that impressive form for Munster will lead to further appearances in an Irish shirt and the Waterford native is aiming to lay down a mark on Saturday against Racing 92.

For a lad who missed watching Munster’s historic Heineken Cup success in 2006 because he was making his communion, O’Donoghue is determined not to miss out on anything.

O’Donoghue, who will be 23 in a few weeks, got a taste of the big time when he made his Irish debut against Canada in November and that has left him with an appetite for more.

The former Irish under-20 captain knows that the battle for places in the national backrow is intense but he has already chalked up 52 appearances for Munster and can handle a big stage.

“It was massive to get the first cap but once you get the first you want the second and I’m trying to push on and be with the Six Nations squad this season.

“I got nod last year to go in as cover but to be named in the initial Six Nations squad for this year would be massive. But I’m focused on Munster and the job at hand and if any of that comes now or in the future, so be it.

“I was full of energy coming back to Munster with the things that I learned in Ireland camp and I was able to come here, showcase them and try to get a spot here. You learned more as season went on.”

Opposition dugout

First up, of course, is Racing 92 when Ronan O’Gara returns to Thomond Park in the opposition dugout for the first time.

O’Donoghue said he was only in sixth class in national school when Munster won the Heineken Cup in 2006 but he grew up like most young lads in the province dreaming about one day playing in the red shirt on a big European day.

“It did happen very fast for me and that’s a credit, I have to go back to Axel (Anthony Foley) and thank him for that he was the one who brought me through and gave me opportunities when you look back. It’s something special to be involved this is new generation coming through and are trying to create our own history now.

“I remember in 2008 I was that lad in the stand watching those sell out games – this one is going to be massive.

“I remember 2006 too: I was in sixth class and I was making my First Holy Communion on the same day as the final and I was not allowed to go to the final. I was furious with my mother.

‘It’s a strange for ROG coming back but we are focused on ourselves and we are focused on our job at hand and we have not spoken about that. We are much too focused on doing what we have to do to win and get that home quarter-final,” he added.

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