Connacht captain John Muldoon fills us in on the trip Down Under and how the Ireland squad are getting on as they prepare for Saturday’s Test against New Zealand, which will mark his first game against the All Blacks.
We didn’t have any time to dwell on the outcome of the Barbarians match last Friday night as we had to get ourselves into travel mode for the long journey to New Zealand.
With an early wake-up call of 4.30am, there were some tired heads on the bus.
Three flights later we arrived in Auckland at midnight on Sunday. Needless to say, there were some very grouchy and odour-fuelled bodies.
As usual, Fogs (John Fogarty) was the worst but as we know from his time in Connacht, it doesn’t require three long flights halfway round the world for him to make an impact in this regard.
My room-mate is Niall Ronan from Munster. I’ve known Niall for a long time as we played for the Ireland Under-18s together, which now seems like a very long time ago.
We trained twice on Monday which I must admit was tough going. The legs and mind were still suffering a lot from jetlag.
While in the gym I met an Irishman, his family were from Connemara, with a good west Galway name, Joyce.
The rest of Monday was a write-off. The biggest battle was trying not to sleep after dinner. I managed to stay awake until bed time and I woke up Tuesday morning feeling like a new person after a great night’s sleep.
Niall had to go for a walk around 3.30am as he didn’t fight the urge to sleep at 9 o’clock and he spent a while ceiling-watching during the night.
The Tuesday morning of a match week is always strange as you are really trying to avoid Deccie (Declan Kidney) like the plague. If Deccie comes talkin’ to ya, that means bad news!
I’m not quick over the ground by any means but I made sure to stay well away. Thankfully when the team was named in our meeting, both Sean (Cronin) and myself managed to get starting places.
Obviously it’s going be a special occasion and it’s also very nice to have a fellow Connacht player there stuck in it too.
At this stage Saturday can’t come quick enough. But our travel isn’t done yet as we fly on Thursday to New Plymouth.
It’s been fairly hectic since we arrived here and we haven’t had much time to see the place or get up to much.
But Gavin (Duffy), Sean and myself are to meet up with a familiar face from home in Troy Nathan and his lovely girlfriend Eimear.
No pressure Troy but you never stop talking about how good it is, so you better have a good day planned! We’ve a lot to see in a couple of hours!
I’ll let you know later whether or not Troy has a future as a travel guide…
John Muldoon’s diary is reproduced with kind permission from Connacht Rugby.