Winger Craig Gilroy is looking forward to the three big Irish derbies in the Guinness PRO14 over the festive period when he can also push his case to be involved with Ireland in the Six Nations Championship.
Ulster have taken 12 points from a possible 15 in their last three PRO14 games and nine points in the back to back European fixtures has reignited quarter final hopes.
Gilroy missed the start of the season due to injury but he is now back scoring tries and is enjoying the fell good factor in the squad.
“It’s great, it started after the break at home against Treviso and then Dragons away was obviously a draw, we had the beating of them but we left it out there, we worked on a few things going into Quins back to back and we got them right, so it’s been a great two weeks,” said Gilroy.
“We’re in a great place at the minute, obviously it’s important not to dwell on that or rely on that as it’s a different competition now and a different opposition.
“We’re away again, which is something this season we haven’t been as good as we’d like to be. It’s another big challenge, it’s an interpro.”
“I don’t want to be too dramatic, it was good for us, it was a good two weeks, but it’s very easy to pat yourself on the back and say the job’s done when there’s still a lot more of the season to be played in both competitions.”
“I feel great, I feel 100%, obviously I missed the start of the season and it was tough doing a lot of lonely rehab and training, and maybe even the Kings game, I was back healthy but I hadn’t played in ages so that was a tester.
“Once it came after the break, Treviso here, Dragons, and I got my hands on the ball I felt really good, really sharp. I’m really enjoying it at the minute.”
“Someone like Dwayne Peel fills me with so much confidence, he’s always telling me to get the ball in my hands.”
“He says ‘with your speed, get your hands on the ball and just go’, I don’t think he realises just how much he fills me with confidence and gives me that licence to get my hands on the ball and just go.”
Gilroy has scored three tries in his last three Ulster appearances and he is hoping for good weather in Galway to utilise his running game.
“As long as I’m not running into an 100mph wind, I’m hoping the weather’s good.”
“Notoriously down there it can be quite bad, like up here sometimes, so it’ll be good to get some decent weather but, if not, we can adapt like over at the Stoop.”
“You’ll not see much worse conditions than that, but we stuck together, we didn’t actually get through much of the playbook we’d prepared for that week, but our want to win that game was more and I think that was evident.”
Connacht also enjoyed back to back wins in Europe over the last fortnight.
I” think they’ve won six of their last eight games, so they’re doing quite well.”
“I’d expect a lot of running from them, I would know guys like Tiernan O’Halloran, I’d be quite friendly with Tiernan, Niyi Adeolokun and Matt Healy.”
“I’ve also seen Cian Kelleher at the odd Irish camp and they’re all boys who aren’t really going to kick the ball back to you.”
“They like to run and we can expect a lot like that from them but hopefully we can use that to our advantage.”
“We know they’ll run a lot and hopefully we can pre-empt that and shut it down, but they’re strong runners and have a lot of Ireland internationals in their team.”