Alan Quinlan was surprisingly vocal in his comments last week following Munster’s humbling in Paris.
Embarrassing, humiliating and borderline disgraceful was how he described Munster’s defeat. Writing in his Independent.ie column Quinlan recalls the many offers he had in his career to move to England or France. Huge lucrative offers that he turned down because of the prestige of playing for his province, the fight to get into the Irish set-up and the fact that he knew his home province would be up there with the best fighting for European glory.
Yet you don’t care because you know you’ll stay. Munster are chasing a Heineken Cup, you are chasing a place in the Ireland team and the difference between home and abroad is never more than 20 or 30 thousand euros a year. Why move? What was there to be gained?
Quinlan writes that players are now more aware of the fact that their careers can be cut short on a whim. The players are now in complete control. The French and English market has become so strong that the Irish provinces simply cannot compete.
So from here on in, with more lucrative offers on the table from clubs in England and France, we could expect more tales like Marty Moore’s or Ian Madigan’s or JJ Hanrahan’s. We are back at another crossroads. There is a need to evolve. A new problem faces Irish rugby and it stems from the English and French markets. That is where the money is. We need to make sure that is not where our best players end up.
Read Quinlan’s full article in full here