ALAN QUINLAN last night expressed his shock at his inclusion in the Lions squad to tour South Africa this summer.
The Munster back-row, who’ll turn 35 in July, spent Monday night glued to his computer, booking his summer holidays for June. Little did he know that would have to be put on hold.
Not too many would have categorised Quinlan as a likely Lions tourist, especially at 34. And having missed out on Declan Kidney’s 22-man squads during Ireland’s successful Six Nations campaign, it didn’t look a runner, a point he makes himself.
“I was shocked to be honest, really really shocked,” said a thrilled Quinlan last night. “I didn’t feel I was anywhere in contention. I know I was mentioned a bit in the last week or two by certain pundits and press — there were small mentions in dispatches.
“I was at home and I watched it on the news — I watched it more to see how many Irish players would get in. There was a curiosity there to see how many of the lads were in, particularly Munster players. I was just amazed and shocked — I got such a fright.
“I just don’t know what to think really because I suppose when I didn’t play in the Six Nations, I didn’t feel I had a chance, but I’m really proud and honoured to be selected. It certainly feels good.”
The Tipperary man spared a thought for some of his Munster colleagues, who failed to make the cut.
“I feel sorry for Denis Leamy in particular, and John Hayes and Marcus Horan — those guys played really well in the Six Nations.”
Quinlan said he has always held a deep desire to be as successful as he can, but felt he was out of the reckoning.
“I suppose at the start of every year you set yourself goals — you want to play for Ireland, you want to do well with Munster. However, I didn’t think it was possible to tour with the Lions.
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