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Dooley Anticipating ‘Tough Battle’ With Ospreys

Dooley Anticipating ‘Tough Battle’ With Ospreys

With six appearances and 118 minutes played for Leinster, 2015 will be a year Peter Dooley will look back on fondly. A debut off the bench against Edinburgh back in October 2014 and game-time with Leinster ‘A’ have helped him to prepare for taking that step up.

However, it was last year’s Ulster Bank League final victory with Lansdowne against Clontarf which he references as being a particularly important game in his development.

“It is a big jump,” admitted Peter Dooley, speaking about the step up from the domestic league to the GUINNESS PRO12. “The quickness of the game is the biggest thing, the fitness, the step up in physicality.

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“I suppose playing the AIL final last year that would be the benchmark of the AIL and that was a pretty high standard. It is a fair jump in physicality, but I think I’ve gotten a bit more physical myself. The training has done me wonders.”

With Cian Healy and Jack McGrath away at the Rugby World Cup last year, that period provided Dooley with the opportunity to show that he could take the next step and perform in the PRO12. Appearances against Connacht, Ulster and PRO12 champions Glasgow Warriors followed.

Leo (Cullen) is bringing me on and he has the trust in me. I feel capable enough to play. I came on in the 50th minute against Glasgow, I remember, that was tough. The Ulster match was probably one of the toughest. I came on with 30 minutes left and I was fairly blowing after that,” said the 21-year-old Academy prop.

The Six Nations is just around the corner and with several players expected to be away again, Dooley is confident the Leinster squad can perform to the same level that they did during the World Cup without those senior internationals.

“Going into another period without the boys – there’ will be a good few missing with the Six Nations again – we kind of have to gel as the squad we were back in September. That will be easy enough – we all get on fierce well together. Hopefully I’ll get a good bit of game-time and hopefully I’ll get that first start.”

The next chance to add some more minutes on the field for Leinster comes this weekend when the squad travel to face the Ospreys at Liberty Stadium.

“I was lucky enough to be on the bench for the Ospreys (game) last year when we drew nine-all. It was a tough encounter. I just remember the week building up to it – it was like a derby match. We’ve had so many close battles. We haven’t won there since ’09 in the PRO12. It’s going to be a tough battle and I think everyone knows that.”

With the Ospreys game this Friday, Dooley has not taken much time to stop at look at what he has achieved so far this season. There is still plenty more to do.

The Offaly youngster added: “It’s been great. On the pitch with the players you play with here and train with every day, it’s unreal. People say to you, ‘you must be proud’, but when you’re in there you just want to stay driving on. In 10, 20 years, then I’ll look back on it.”