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5 Irish Players With Something Different To Prove In 2023

5 Irish Players With Something Different To Prove In 2023
By Colman Stanley Updated
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With two Six Nations campaigns around the corner, a World Cup on the horizon, and the ever present Champions Cup, it could be a defining year for a whole host of Irish rugby players.

We have take a look at five men - each at different stages of their careers and playing at different levels - who have something to prove this year.

Tom Farrell - The Forgotten Man

7 January 2023; Irish rugby : Tom Farrell of Connacht is tackled by Yaw Penze of Cell C Sharks during the United Rugby Championship match between Connacht and Cell C Sharks at the Sportsground in Galway. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

A few seasons back, Farrell looked destined for a few Irish caps, before injuries curtailed his international dreams.

To break into the Irish midfield, with its world class depth, one has to truly stand out. When fit and on form, Farrell's multi-faceted attacking game has the potential to break into conversations for Ireland, should injuries strike down any of  Andy Farrell's main boys.

This season has seen the Dubliner manage a run of games in the Connacht midfield, and if this upward curve continues, international appearances - post World Cup - if even for the 'A' side, may be a realistic goal once more.

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READ HERE: Bernard Jackman 'Perplexed' By Contradictions In Andy Farrell's Six Nations Squad

Harry Byrne - The Fallen Prodigy

10 July 2021; Irish rugby ; Harry Byrne of Ireland during the International Rugby Friendly match between Ireland and USA at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

There was a time not so long ago when it seemed as if Byrne had been anointed, not just by the fans, but by Andy Farrell as well,  as Johnny Sexton's successor.

He is now, at best, fifth choice in the pecking order and struggling for Leinster game time. This is, of course, not helped by his luck with injuries.

Having begun his Leinster career with such aplomb, he has failed to take the most recent chances he has been given. A trip to the World Cup is looking vastly unlikely, but post-France the 23-year-old will be pining to get back into international consideration.

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Caelan Doris - The Elite Performer

19 November 2022; Irish rugby ; Caelan Doris of Ireland during the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match between Ireland and Australia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
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The Leinster back rower will be looking to propel himself into the echelons which are often frequented by no. 8s such as Ardie Savea, Gregory Aldritt, Duane Vermeulen, and Toby Faletau.

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The 2021 Player of The Autumn Nations is arguably already as good as those aforementioned titans, but his name does not yet command the same reverence throughout the world.

What better time than a World Cup year to prove without doubt that you deserve to me grouped among the world's best.

Rónán Kelleher - The Man Making Up For Lost Time

12 February 2022; Irish rugby ; Rónan Kelleher of Ireland in action against Cyril Baille of France during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between France and Ireland at Stade de France in Paris, France. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Up until the recent November internationals, there was still a fair argument that a fit Kelleher should start for Ireland and Leinster, given his specific qualities in the tight.

However, Dan Sheehan cemented his stature as the no. 1 hooker in the nation with superb showings against South Africa and Australia, backing what was a sensational Summer tour.

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Kelleher will be given the opportunities to stake his claim ahead of the World Cup, but it will take a momentous effort to take them.

Ruadhán Quinn - The Young Groundbreaker

6 January 2023; Irish rugby ; Ruadhan Quinn of Ireland on his way to scoring his side's third try during a friendly match between Ireland U20 and Leinster Development at Energia Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Munster's youngest ever player, playing in one of the most physically demanding positions on the park, and looking every part the professional back rower for his province.

In his two caps earlier in the season he was taking names on the field, so when he runs out for the U20s in the upcoming Six Nations, a lot will be expected of him at that level.

One of the great joys of being an Irish rugby fan is seeing a young man make his bones for the U20s, and hopefully Quinn will live up to the hype and more.

SEE ALSO: Watch: Munster Score Absurdly Good Try In Champions Cup Clash Against Toulouse

 

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