Ulster’s Craig Gilroy gets his Irish breakthrough

READY: Craig Gilroy
READY: Craig Gilroy

It really is a case of third time lucky for Ulster man of the moment, Craig Gilroy, this weekend.

The flying winger will cap a huge week for himself when he makes his official competitive debut for Ireland in the third and final Guinness Autumn International Test series on Saturday.

The 21-year-old, who agreed a new three year deal with Ulster this week, has already pulled the senior green jersey on twice previously, but he remains uncapped as they were non-Test games.

Gilroy featured in the Ireland XV against the Barbarians earlier this year.

Last week he scored a hat-trick of tries as an Ireland select defeated Fiji 53-0 at Thomond Park, Limerick, and he was also named as the RTE man of the match.

Ireland coach, Declan Kidney, could not ignore the performance of the Ulster winger and it came as no surprise on Thursday when he named Gilroy in the side to face the Pumas at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, tomorrow – it was the only change to the side which lost 16-12 against South Africa.

Gilroy’s gain was another Ulsterman’s loss. He took the left wing place of team mate, Andrew Trimble in the starting side and there was not even a spot on the bench for the Irish international who would have made his 50th appearance this weekend if involved.

Gilroy said: “I’m delighted to be involved. Obviously Argentina will be a different kettle of fish to Fiji.

“I want to do well and take my opportunity. It’s all happened pretty fast.

“I have to keep my feet on the ground and enjoy it,” added Gilroy.

Ulster’s Chris Henry retained his place in the side on the backrow of the scrum and Tommy Bowe, who made his 50th appearance against the Springboks, will start on the opposite wing from Gilroy.

It also came as no real surprise that Kidney stuck by his guns in relation to the rest of his selection, but the already under pressure coach is desperate for a win against Argentina, not just to ensure a Tier Two seeding for the 2015 Rugby World Cup or to end a five-Test match losing streak, but to have any chance of another term as Irish coach when his contract comes up for renewal next June.