Munster star Andrew Conway hails Ian Madigan’s Irish heroics

Munster’s Andrew Conway has endorsed Ian Madigan’s World Cup challenge to follow one great performance with another.

Conway, who lined out with Madigan at Leinster, was delighted to see his old colleague step up to the mark after Johnny Sexton’s enforced withdrawal in last week’s victory over France and says he can do it again on Sunday – if needed.

“I wasn’t surprised at all, I was watching the match with my father and I said, with all due respect to Jonathan, who is one of the best fly halves in the world, it wouldn’t be a hugely bad thing to see a guy like Ian coming on and all the confidence he brings to the game, what he has as a player and person.

“He is probably one of the best people in the world you could think about to have to come on and he did just that, remarkable, exceptional.

“It was an emotional day all round, to see Paul O’Connell get stretched off having to take oxygen; it was hard for the whole country to see, but I’m sure a lot of people were emotional and not just Ian.

“Just seeing a leader like that being reduced to going off on a stretcher wasn’t nice, I’m not sure I’ve seen him ever go off like that, and the likes of Pete (O’Mahony) following him, two inspirational characters that you lose and then going through the whole hype. But for Ian to come on so early and then be such a key component to the winning of the game was very emotional.”

Conway will play at his favoured position of 15 for Munster at Musgrave Park on Saturday against Cardiff Blues and he is looking forward to the opportunity.

“I would say the game against London Irish was probably my best game. As a full back, you might have space but as a wing you are more like a striker although I need to vary my game, bring what the coaches want, being sound under the high ball, I need to be a kicking option, a strike option, so I am looking forward to getting out there at 15 at the weekend.”

Munster have had three wins from three to date, although Conway acknowledges two of those wins could have gone either way.

“Yeah, it has been a good start, points on the table wise, but it probably hasn’t been the best start because it could have been one from three.

“At the end of the day we got 12 points and we’re up on or near the top of the table, which is what we want, but we’re going into a 16-week block where performance is going to be king and we’re going to be on the wrong end of results if we perform as we have in the last while.

“In saying that, we have done some really good things, a few lads have fitted into the system really well, you’re looking at Tyler (Bleyendaal) who has fitted in really well and mixes and matches with Keats (Ian Keatley) a lot.

“We haven’t seen so much of Francis (Saili) but you can tell he is an exceptional player, Mark Chisholm has come into the pack, beefed it up and brought a lot of experience.

“So if we can mix the good things we have done over the last while and the stuff we’re working on and get more consistent on what we’re doing on the Friday, Saturday or Sunday, then hopefully we will be on the right end of most results.”

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