Gilsenan enjoying life with London Irish

Gilsenan enjoying life with London Irish

It was a brave and daring decision, but Conor Gilsenan feels vindicated for joining London Irish.

Sampling top level sporting action is the challenge Gilsenan craved- the Exiles, who face Bath in the Aviva Premiership at the Recreation Ground on Friday, are unleashing a player with pedigree and promise.

Gilsenan is happy to be embarking on an adventure with London Irish, where the future appears bright and brimful of possibilities.  “As a team we’ve been playing particularly well during the past three months,” Gilsenan admits.

“We’ve won our last two Premiership games, but it was a real pity we lost to Edinburgh in the Challenge Cup.  It is difficult to see Edinburgh now facing into a European final at the Stoop in a couple of weeks.

“We have generated some momentum.  From a personal point of view too it has been great to get lots of game time.

“Obviously the goal I set myself coming over here was to put myself in a position to get as much game time and exposure as possible.

“I had come from a very demanding and professional environment at Leinster, but being realistic when I looked around there wasn’t much space for me so I had to look elsewhere.

“I feel that in the last three months especially that things have gone very well and I’m beginning to do what I came over here to do.

“For me I was really just looking at somewhere to play.  I wanted to play first team games at a top level.  I want to continue to improve; to cement my place in the London Irish first team.”

Since Christmas London Irish’s performances and statistics have improved significantly and with summer additions to follow Gilsenan is adamant that the club can prosper.

“There is so much potential here.  Definitely I think the club can have a good future.  In so many games we have been only beaten by one score-silly errors and indiscipline has cost us dearly.

“By tweaking and improving a few little things this year we could have finished a good bit higher up the table.  For some people on the outside the table might be misleading, but we really feel that we are developing.

“We will only get better with the new guys coming in.  Adding to the group is important for competition for places and we are going in the right direction.”

Gilsenan’s burning desire is to represent Ireland at senior level and hopes that the IRFU will include players not representing the four home provinces soon.

“If you speak to anyone in a similar situation to me the ultimate goal is always to play at senior international level for your country.

“It isn’t ideal the way the policy has been in that there doesn’t seem to be too much scope for people not contracted to the IRFU - Johnny Sexton being the obvious exception.  It will be interesting to see how it pans out in the future.

“I’ve no control over that, but London Irish are keen to have a good relationship with the IRFU so that guys are in a position to wear the green shirt in the future.”  Recent evidence suggests Gilsenan has the class, commitment, and craft to eventually reach his intended destination.