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Malone Calls For Better Start From Ireland

Malone Calls For Better Start From Ireland

Peter Malone, Ireland’s captain for Friday night’s Club International against Scotland, is determined that the visitors will get off to a good start at Meggetland.

The cream of Ireland’s AIB League talent take on their Scottish counterparts at the home of Boroughmuir RFC in Edinburgh (kick-off 7pm), and Garryowen flanker Malone is hoping the Irish can make it two wins out of two in this season’s games.

Geoff Moylan’s Irish side made a poor enough start in their 20-17 win over England Counties last month. Despite going 7-0 in front thanks to hooker Matt Crockett’s seventh-minute try, the hosts failed to hit the heights in the first quarter at Donnybrook.


“In our win over England we were a bit loose in the opening 20 minutes and we must try and make a better start this time in Scotland,” Malone admitted.


Taking over the captaincy reins from the injured David Quinlan, the 26-year-old Limerick said he knows “not a great deal” about the Scotland Club XV who lost 30-13 in last year’s inaugural AIB Club International.


“It is unfortunate from his own point of view and from the team’s that Dave is injured but I’m hugely honoured to be chosen as captain.


“The AIB League is a very tough competition and runs from October to May. It is great to be chosen in the side but doubly so to be captain of a team whose members you play wih, and against, over the course of the season,” he said.


“I don’t know much about Friday’s opposition, but last year Scotland played a very fast game (against us).”


This will be the third time Malone has lined out for the Ireland Club side and he cannot wait for the kick-off.


“We travelled over (to Edinburgh) after a training session at the Aer Lingus ground in Dublin on Wednesday and we trained again today,” he said.


Being skipper is nothing new to Malone.


“I was captain of Garryowen for three seasons and the highlight would have been last season when we topped the Division One table by beating Shannon but they went on to be crowned champions at Lansdowne Road so, in effect, we won nothing.”


A native of Bruff, Malone’s family have strong connections with the Limerick town’s rugby club who play in Division Three of the AIB League.


His father Ger is a prominent official with Bruff and his two brothers, John and Simon both play for the club.


“I learned my rugby at St. Enda’s School under Martin Wallace and Billy Maloney and then moved to St. Munchin’s as a boarder to concentrate my mind on the Leaving Certificate. Rugby was a pleasant sideline,” he added wryly.


“In my final year, in 1999, we reached the Munster Schools Cup final and lost to CBC. In their back row that day was Frank Cogan who joins me in the team on Friday.


“In our team beside me in the back row as Conor Hartigan who is also in Friday’s side so we know each other’s play pretty well and he was with Garryowen before leaving for Buccaneers.”


Malone admits one of his career highlights was “being a member of the Bruff team that won the All-Ireland Under-20 title. I also won Under-18 titles with them before moving to Garryowen in 2001.”


On the international scene, beating South Africa in the Under-21 World Championship was “another special member” for the tough-tackling flanker who has also represented his country at U-19 level.