Leinster Hookers in 2019

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Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby mildlyinterested » January 9th, 2019, 4:03 pm

Hooker is probably the biggest question mark in the leinster pack going forward. Who will replace Cronin when the time comes?
Age as of the start of next season:

Senior
Sean Cronin(33) - has been an excellent signing and a very good player for leinster during his career, amassing 164 caps and scoring 35 tries. At 33 after the next world cup, he is nearing the end of his professional rugby career.
James Tracy(28) - has been a solid player since making his leinster debut, reaching 81 caps and scoring 7 tries in that time. But I don't know many leinster fans who would be comfortable with him being 1st choice for leinster post-nugget.
Bryan Byrne(26) - has been an effective Pro 14 player, scoring 11 tries in 34 appearances since his leinster debut, but he has rarely threatened to push for a place on the bench in europe. He has improved over the past year, gaining more consistency but worries about his throwing remain as well as his size at the top level.

Academy
Ronan Kelleher(21/Lansdowne) - has stayed healthy this season and appears to be pushing for his debut cap, after impressing for Leinster A in the Celtic Cup.
Dan Sheehan(20/DUFC) - a late addition to the academy this season, reports are that he is having a strong season for DUFC in the AIL. Uncommonly big for a hooker at 6'3+

Sub-Academy
Declan Adamson(U20/Clontarf) - made his AIL debut for Clontarf at the start of the season, taking advantage of injury to make an impression. Could make initial under-20 6 nations squad but looks unlikely.
Sean Molony(U20/UCD) - injured for the start of the AIL season, eventually made his debut in Decemeber, looks very unlikely to make the initial under-20 6 nations squad.
John McKee(U19/Old Belvedere) - the former ulster and ireland schools captain join leinster last summer, looks like he is contention for an Ireland u20 squad place, appearing for the 20's over christmas. Could he be tempted back north after their falling out?

Leinster hookers elsewhere
Shane Delahunt(25/Connacht) - the ex-leinster sub academy hooker has built a strong 18 or so months out west, appearing 55 times to date for the province with 5 tries scored.
Tadgh McElroy(22/Saracens-Bedford) - the ex-leinster sub academy hooker, has been on loan all season at bedford, appearing 6 times and scoring twice. Had a falling out with leinster and irfu over different matters, has enough time passed for him to return?
Eoghan Clarke(21/Munster) - the ex-leinster sub academy hooker, joined the munster academy last season.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby backrower8 » January 9th, 2019, 4:48 pm

mildlyinterested wrote:Hooker is probably the biggest question mark in the leinster pack going forward. Who will replace Cronin when the time comes?
Age as of the start of next season:

Senior
Sean Cronin(33) - has been an excellent signing and a very good player for leinster during his career, amassing 164 caps and scoring 35 tries. At 33 after the next world cup, he is nearing the end of his professional rugby career.
James Tracy(28) - has been a solid player since making his leinster debut, reaching 81 caps and scoring 7 tries in that time. But I don't know many leinster fans who would be comfortable with him being 1st choice for leinster post-nugget.
Bryan Byrne(26) - has been an effective Pro 14 player, scoring 11 tries in 34 appearances since his leinster debut, but he has rarely threatened to push for a place on the bench in europe. He has improved over the past year, gaining more consistency but worries about his throwing remain as well as his size at the top level.

Academy
Ronan Kelleher(21/Lansdowne) - has stayed healthy this season and appears to be pushing for his debut cap, after impressing for Leinster A in the Celtic Cup.
Dan Sheehan(20/DUFC) - a late addition to the academy this season, reports are that he is having a strong season for DUFC in the AIL. Uncommonly big for a hooker at 6'3+

Sub-Academy
Declan Adamson(U20/Clontarf) - made his AIL debut for Clontarf at the start of the season, taking advantage of injury to make an impression. Could make initial under-20 6 nations squad but looks unlikely.
Sean Molony(U20/UCD) - injured for the start of the AIL season, eventually made his debut in Decemeber, looks very unlikely to make the initial under-20 6 nations squad.
John McKee(U19/Old Belvedere) - the former ulster and ireland schools captain join leinster last summer, looks like he is contention for an Ireland u20 squad place, appearing for the 20's over christmas. Could he be tempted back north after their falling out?

Leinster hookers elsewhere
Shane Delahunt(25/Connacht) - the ex-leinster sub academy hooker has built a strong 18 or so months out west, appearing 55 times to date for the province with 5 tries scored.
Tadgh McElroy(22/Saracens-Bedford) - the ex-leinster sub academy hooker, has been on loan all season at bedford, appearing 6 times and scoring twice. Had a falling out with leinster and irfu over different matters, has enough time passed for him to return?
Eoghan Clarke(21/Munster) - the ex-leinster sub academy hooker, joined the munster academy last season.


A timely and informative post/thread. This position is already a hole in our armoury. I love the footballing nous of the Byrne twins.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby leinster23 » January 9th, 2019, 5:54 pm

I'm a fan of the Byrne twins, they're always excellent in the Pro14 and they bring a lot to the game. I doubt there's a huge amount between Tracy and Byrne right now, but Byrne's throwing probably isn't of the standard that he's be trusted to come off the bench in a big game.

With Cronin likely to slow down over the next few seasons there isn't an obvious candidate to fill into his shoes. Kelleher is talented but will probably need a few years to develop (he'll almost definitely make his debut during the Six Nations though), Tracy isn't good enough. If Byrne continues in his current trajectory in terms of improvement then maybe, but overall I wouldn't be surprised to see some recruitment in the position.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby ronk » January 9th, 2019, 6:54 pm

Cronin hasnt shoen signs of slowing to my mind and I'd expect him to still be an impact sub as he starts to fade.

Byrne and Tracy are developing at a decent rate and Kelleher is a promising talent who could do with gametime.

My take is that we should continue as is. If it becomes a weakness then we can sign someone strong. We aren't projected to have major needs in other many other positions so we should be good for a big name.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby Ruckedtobits » January 9th, 2019, 7:26 pm

Delahunt is the guy who looks like he could slot straight into European competition if we could get him back from Connacht. He's 25 and thus 8 Seasons younger than Cronin and has the physique to complement our strength in Props. His throwing has improved and he's an excellent ball-carrier. Doesn't score as many tries as Byrne but doesn't get as many chances in Connacht thus far.

Put him and Kelleher together and Leinster add to their scrum, add to their carrying and don't lose anything on line-out work.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby mildlyinterested » January 9th, 2019, 7:28 pm

Yeah I'd agree, don't think it be easy to get him back for whatever reason, seems very settled in Connacht, fair play to him.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby neiliog93 » January 9th, 2019, 8:40 pm

Heffernan could be another option. Got a deserved Ireland call-up at the end of 2017.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby mildlyinterested » January 10th, 2019, 9:18 am

neiliog93 wrote:Heffernan could be another option. Got a deserved Ireland call-up at the end of 2017.


would seem very unlikely given he is regularly captaining Connacht these days. I'd rather Delahunt, if we had the option of picking between them both.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby curates_egg » January 10th, 2019, 9:30 am

On what basis is Cronin coming to the end of his career?
Certainly not on the basis of his performances and his pace.
Why is everybody over thirty ready for the knackers' yard in your view?
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby Gearzbox2 » January 10th, 2019, 9:34 am

curates_egg wrote:On what basis is Cronin coming to the end of his career?
Certainly not on the basis of his performances and his pace.
Why is everybody over thirty ready for the knackers' yard in your view?


30 seems to be the new 50!!!!!....have to agree with you on cronin, his pace/explosiveness isn’t dropping. As long as he maintains his work on set piece and strives to get better he has a few years left in the tank
Lots of other 30 somethings going really well for us along with him....Big Dev, J10, Fardy, Church and to a lesser extent RK
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby johng » January 10th, 2019, 9:43 am

4 years younger than Rory Best who looks like captaining the 2nd best team in the world currently into the world's top tournament.

Think we might Knock another few seasons out of him on that basis
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby mildlyinterested » January 10th, 2019, 9:48 am

curates_egg wrote:On what basis is Cronin coming to the end of his career?
Certainly not on the basis of his performances and his pace.
Why is everybody over thirty ready for the knackers' yard in your view?


Age, incase you didn't know players in their 30's are closer to the end of their career than players who aren't.

He is 33 after the world cup and leinster rugby would be foolish to not be planning for how they will replace him.
Last edited by mildlyinterested on January 10th, 2019, 9:51 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby mildlyinterested » January 10th, 2019, 9:49 am

johng wrote:4 years younger than Rory Best who looks like captaining the 2nd best team in the world currently into the world's top tournament.

Think we might Knock another few seasons out of him on that basis


who said we wouldn't? Not I.

But looking ahead at this position is hardly without merit.
Last edited by mildlyinterested on January 10th, 2019, 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby ronk » January 10th, 2019, 9:50 am

In fairness, there are threads about every position and hooker is an attritional position known for early retirements through injury.

Cronin is both highly regarded and underrated. I'm happy with our current hookers.

Hooker is one of our main positions where we haven't had a big name star in a long time, which is why it regularly comes up as somewhere that could be strengthened. But strengthening requires an exceptional player and they are expensive enough that it's not worth the price to improve our current situation.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby curates_egg » January 10th, 2019, 10:03 am

mildlyinterested wrote:
johng wrote:4 years younger than Rory Best who looks like captaining the 2nd best team in the world currently into the world's top tournament.

Think we might Knock another few seasons out of him on that basis


who said we wouldn't? Not I.

But looking ahead at this position is hardly without merit.


That is the same for every position.

I just don't see anything in his performances to suggest he is coming to the end of his career.
If we get another 3 seasons of performances at - or close to - his current level, that is a long time. Plenty of rugby careers don't even last 3 years (for different reasons).
I wonder if the short shrift he gets from Joe has double benefits for us. It means he doesn't play as much for Ireland as much as he should so (a) his availability to us is less affected (by Ireland camp or potential Ireland injury) and (b) he is always super motivated to prove himself, so performs at a high level for us all the time.

Don't get me wrong, I think this thread - like all your threads - is brilliant and already hugely informative.
But, for me, it is more about who is next line in case we need them, not about writing the epitaph of a player playing on the top of his game because he has reached the age where famous people commit suicide.
I don't see anybody on your list who I would be very comfortable with assuming that role right now, but I am sure a few them would be up to it.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby Oldschool » January 10th, 2019, 12:29 pm

curates_egg wrote:On what basis is Cronin coming to the end of his career?
Certainly not on the basis of his performances and his pace.
Why is everybody over thirty ready for the knackers' yard in your view?

That's usually the viewpoint of our Southern brethren who want our players to disembark the national team bus asap so that some of their own dinosaurs can get on board.
Rob and Heaslip have been getting that kind of treatment for years and it's started with Toner this season.
I'm sure I've forgotten a few others.
Yeah there have been a few whispers about Sexton too.
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby mildlyinterested » January 10th, 2019, 12:53 pm

Project Hooker at underage rugby has some interesting prospects:

Leinster U19
Luke Thompson(Wicklow/Lansdowne) - converted backrow
Mark Nicholson(Wicklow)
Bobby Sheehan(Clongowes/UCD)
Ethan Baxter(St. Gerards/Old Belvedere) - converted backrow

Leinster U18
Lee Barron(St. Michaels)
Levi Vaughan(Terenure) - converted prop
Hugo Fitzgerald(Gonzaga)
Scott Barron(Blackrock) - converted prop
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby arsebiscuits1 » January 10th, 2019, 1:30 pm

mildlyinterested wrote:Bryan Byrne(26) - has been an effective Pro 14 player, scoring 11 tries in 34 appearances since his leinster debut, but he has rarely threatened to push for a place on the bench in europe. He has improved over the past year, gaining more consistency but worries about his throwing remain as well as his size at the top level.


With regards to Byrnes size Leinster are in a unique situation in that they have a genetically identical template in his twin brother :lol:

Ed is currently 111kgs and moves pretty well given he's hard 2 severe knee injuries.

Brian currently 103kgs which is heavier than Cronin and they're both roughly the same height. But Cronin probably in a unique situation of how light he is.

I would back Brian to be able to pack on another 4kgs or so without it affecting his overall game given how Ed copes moving about the park
He's gotten awfully fond of that brick
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby flustered » January 10th, 2019, 2:05 pm

mildlyinterested wrote:Project Hooker at underage rugby has some interesting prospects:

Leinster U19
Luke Thompson(Wicklow/Lansdowne) - converted backrow
Mark Nicholson(Wicklow)
Bobby Sheehan(Clongowes/UCD)
Ethan Baxter(St. Gerards/Old Belvedere) - converted backrow

Leinster U18
Lee Barron(St. Michaels)
Levi Vaughan(Terenure) - converted prop
Hugo Fitzgerald(Gonzaga)
Scott Barron(Blackrock) - converted prop


Oh those mildly who would you think has good prspects? How is Thompson getting on in Lansdowne do you know?
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Re: Leinster Hookers in 2019

Postby mildlyinterested » January 10th, 2019, 2:23 pm

arsebiscuits1 wrote:
mildlyinterested wrote:Bryan Byrne(26) - has been an effective Pro 14 player, scoring 11 tries in 34 appearances since his leinster debut, but he has rarely threatened to push for a place on the bench in europe. He has improved over the past year, gaining more consistency but worries about his throwing remain as well as his size at the top level.


With regards to Byrnes size Leinster are in a unique situation in that they have a genetically identical template in his twin brother :lol:

Ed is currently 111kgs and moves pretty well given he's hard 2 severe knee injuries.

Brian currently 103kgs which is heavier than Cronin and they're both roughly the same height. But Cronin probably in a unique situation of how light he is.

I would back Brian to be able to pack on another 4kgs or so without it affecting his overall game given how Ed copes moving about the park


Ed is taller than Bryan. And I think Bryan is fairly maxed out physically.
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