Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Let The Schmidt Hit The Fan - Rd 10 (MUN)

Since the start of the season four bloggers, one representing each province, have taken turns selecting their ideal Irish matchday 23 for a test match to take place the following weekend (so current injury status must be taken into account).

This week it is the turn of Munster blogger Kate McEvoy to give her final selection.

Click this link for her last selection and these for the latest from Connacht, Ulster & Leinster.

LTSHTF avatar

This is my last hurrah as supreme overlord of the Irish rugby team, or at least a hastily appointed substitute for whoever dropped out in the first place. So we'll look forward to the first test in the rather splendidly-named Resistancia on June 7th. This is actually one of the easier squads to pull together as I have a definite pool to draw from from. Bar the intense emotion of it all of course.

  1. Jack McGrath

  2. Rory Best

  3. Marty Moore

I'm a bit baffled as to why Mike Ross is on the road again but I suppose he's like my friend's retro car, you have to turn the engine over on a regular basis or it won't start. He's probably bigger than Peanut but they're both distinctly limited on the speed front. I'm starting Rory Best as one would imagine he'll be fresher having recently returned from injury and alas, not to be taking to the field this weekend. Plus his leadership and level head will be important in between the young front row in the Estadio Centenario. Of course, this all depends on who comes through this weekend's clash with Glasgow unscathed.

  1. Iain Henderson

  2. Paul O'Connell

We're quite thin at lock, but one would imagine that's to fit in as many contenders for our competitive back row as possible. On the bench, my player of the season, Devin Toner, not a phrase I thought I'd use, despite not being quite as tough on him in the past as various denizens of the North Stand (you know who you are). I felt Henderson didn't kick on as much as I would like during the 6 Nations but was seldom less than competent and apparently put in a big shift in Ulster's semi final loss to Leinster. I say apparently not because I doubt the veracity of this, but because I was ploughing through prosecco at my school reunion at the time. He's paired with Paulie, who is no doubt looking forward to hunting some Pumas to take the frustration of two semi final losses out on.

  1. Robbie Diack

  2. Chris Henry

  3. Jamie Heaslip

There will be ballads written about the durability of Jamie Heaslip – my love is as deep as the ocean, as strong as the foundations of the earth and as consistent as Jetboot's fitness levels. I've probably doomed him now to come a cropper in short order but it has to be said that it really is extraordinary. After an impressive 6 Nations campaign Henry's back in harness alongside Ulster compatriot Robbie Diack. Even with some high profile absences, O'Mahony, O'Brien and wee Stephen Ferris, it's still a mighty scrap in Ireland's backrow with Munster pair O'Donnell and Dougall unlucky to miss out, on past glories and recent form respectively.

  1. Conor Murray

  2. Jonny Sexton

Despite a long and punishing season Jonny Sexton boards the plane to Argentina. After dragging Racing into the semi finals of the Top 14 only to be bested by Toulon, he should fit right in with the majority of the squad who have come up against a similar road block this season. He and Conor Murray form their established axis and what is currently our starting World Cup pairing. Expect Sexton to boss it even more than usual in BOD's absence and put any young pretenders through their paces.

  1. Simon Zebo

  2. Luke Marshall

  3. Darren Cave

  4. Andrew Trimble

  5. Robbie Henshaw

There will be tears of joy in the streets of Cork as Zebo dons the green once more. However all gazes will be centrewards as the auditions for a new centre pairing rapidly move towards opening night, with one of the more obvious choices first up. Payne has failed to convince at 13 and despite Cave's feeling his face doesn't fit in the Irish set up, a good tour could influence his subsequent season at Ulster as well as his national prospects. Henshaw and Trimble fill the remaining berths, bringing a plethora of seasonal decorations with them. Still would have gone for Jack McGrath for young player of the year but I can't be supreme overlord of everything.

  1. Damien Varley

  2. Dave Kilcoyne

  3. Mike Ross

  4. Devin Toner

  5. Jordi Murphy

  6. Kieran Marmion

  7. Ian Madigan

  8. Keith Earls

The bench consists of big boys in the forwards and hopefully a spark of magic in the backs. After a season of bad luck, some of his own making, Madigan shone in the last chance saloon and has been given another chance to show what he can do at test level. Much like Madigan, Resistancia is perched on the edge of the wilderness so hopefully it'll inspire something in him. Then onto the Argentinian rugby hotspot of Tucumán and hopefully further glory for all concerned.

Finally just a quick note to say thanks to Jeff for as ever being a gracious host and to everyone who read and commented on my flights of fancy across various portals, particularly to all my family members who stumbled across this by accident. Yes, this is what I do with my spare time. I doubt many of you were particularly surprised. It's been a pretty special season with this national side and it's been great to be a tiny part of all the chatter. Until next time, gracias pour todos. ¡Viva Resistancia!

Kate McEvoy : Munster fan in a sea of Leinster blue. Raised on a strict diet of Bective Rangers. Earliest childhood memory is stud marks in the muck. Former hooker for a father & a mother with an eye for a forward pass bordering on freakish . Best rugby memory, Toulouse main square, May 24, 2008. Epitaph will read “Knew a lot about rugby for a girl.” Can be found tweeting optimistically at @ImKateMc


MANY THANKS KATE!  NEXT WEEK ON LET THE SCHMIDT HIT THE FAN…

THE SERIES COMES TO A CONCLUSION AS OUR ULSTER BLOGGER LAURA JOHNSTON GIVES HER OWN FINAL SELECTION

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