Interview with Eamonn Mulcahy - Ex LI player

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Interview with Eamonn Mulcahy - Ex LI player

by PaulHP on Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:55 pm

Eamonn Mulcahy played for various London Irish sides & the Irish Exiles in the 1990’s. He now lives in Australia. He kindly answered my questions:


What is your date of birth/place of birth?
20th July 1973, Randwick, Sydney, Australia

When/where did you start to play rugby?
South Sydney Juniors at the ripe old age of 4

What position did you play?
Originally hooker for the junior sides however majority of my playing career at scrum half

When did you join London Irish and how many games did you play?
I joined Irish around 1990

How many points did you score in your London Irish days?
Not too sure, plenty though I’m sure

What brought you to London Irish?
The want to improve my rugby and to see if I could play with the big boys in London and extend my knowledge and skills, in the days that I played was just before the turn of professionalism so the ability to mix and develop friendships in the Irish community in London was also a big factor

What was the training like?
Well as mentioned it was just prior to the big time so it involved a fair bit of hard work and development and consistently challenging your skills however I really could describe it as fun really, I would travel from the Worthing on the South Coast every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to go to training and play however I was lucky to be playing for Irish and the players made it very worthwhile

Who was the coach at London Irish?
The head coach’s at the time I was there were Hika Reid, Sir Clive and Willie Anderson. My coaches in the development and 21 sides varied as well, it started of with “Dublin Jim” and moved onto Bosco McAulliffe, the most successful and highest development for me personally came under Des Quaid and Dean Shelford

Who were the captain(s) of London Irish in your time there?
I can remember Jim Staples being the captain of the 1st team when I was first there, obviously there were many more however, not to sound disrespectful, I’m sorry to say my focus was not on the skipper of the club

Who was your most difficult opponent?
Wasps and Sarries were always well drilled and great games however playing Bath in those days was the game of the year and Cracker Jack games to play in. I was lucky to be in a team that beat them at Bath and that was and still is one of the very fondest memories

Where was your favourite away ground?
Oxford Uni

What was Sunbury like in your time playing there?
Well Sunbury is Sunbury. I never tired of driving into the avenue and going into the old changing rooms. Sunbury just had an aura around it and it was not just on the big game days that the banter and excitement flowed. The best memories are also on Sunday mornings seeing the ground full of young kids with Irish green on loving every minute playing for the mini sides, although I’m sure I was not the best sight at that time of the day after visiting The Red Lion the night before. To play on the 1st team pitch in front of a crowd (the biggest crowd I think I played in front of was probably 300 max) but it was a wonderful feeling

Who do you consider was the best player you played with for London Irish?
Well I have been fortunate to play with many players in the development sides at that time that have gone on to have a successful rugby career, the ones that played first grade with the club and international level and beyond are obvious ones however I always found that Dessie Nangle was one player that I always enjoyed playing with in my early years at the club, a player with plenty of skill at 10 that always lead the team well around the park and rugby knowledge second to none

Who where the characters at Sunbury in your time playing?
McCarthy as mentioned by so many previously, he was always someone who you could trust to keep your feet on the ground and give honest evaluations in any circumstance, I could never quite read him fully especially with a few “Shirley’s” in him. Des Quaid, Wally Stephens, Ken Cotter were great supporters of the development side and again had many evaluations of your game in the bar afterwards that I would be here quite a while describing those and of course Billy Murray who supported the team so much he was the man who made sure the Tour to Garryowen for the team went ahead

You were with the club at the start of professionalism, how did this affect you?
This was the time when my time with Irish stopped really, being in the development team at the right time I suppose and having not gone on with the club by not getting a contract and the beginning of this time was a major blow and then obviously the need to concentrate on a building a working career took the ability to find time for training etc to carry on. The time spent with the Geese side at this time was a fantastic experience and one that I really fondly remember and there was a time that the ‘what ifs” are in your head but all in all having played for Irish for a few years I realised that ultimately it is truly a great club with great traditions, I can only look back with pride and joy and thankful I was able to wear the jersey and be coached and developed by the people I did

Do you still keep in contact with any of your old team mates?
Yes I do on the web and e-mail

The professional London Irish team is no longer a team for Irish/ Irish descent players, what are your feelings about this?
It had to happen, the club has always grown and developed and ultimately the question is do we want the club to be successful? In my opinion the team are only one aspect of the club and a source and central point of this is the supporters and community. We can still go and watch a Irish amateur team running around the lower divisions at Sunbury and the mini’s are there so the heart is still beating strongly this is what it is all about and Sunbury is still some where for Irish society to meet, mingle and have a good time, that is what the club is about isn’t it?

Do you miss playing for London Irish?
Very much so, it not only gave me a chance to develop my game but it also gave me the chance to develop myself and character

Do you have any favourite stories from your Irish days?
Fitzy (Justin Fitzpatrick) and his glamour products after the game always but a smile on my face a brute of a man with his hand and face creams to ensure that skin was always perfect, he did take longer to get ready for after game than pre game!

How good was the London Irish side you played in?(or) Which season had the strongest team?
When Des Quaid and Dean Shelford took over we were very good, Des & Deans knowledge and experience was fundamental to this with breaking the game down and getting the team to gel and play in a open style that really had you enjoying the game and beating big name teams consistently, home and away. An example of the down time was travelling to Llanelli and being thoroughly thumped by 80+, this just meant the good times were appreciated more. I saw the pots many times that night and far too much of Scott Quinnell’s studs

Did you play for any other Irish/English clubs?
Worthing Rugby Football Club prior to Irish and Haywards Heath after Irish

Did you go on any over-sea's tours?
Irish tour of Ireland for the development side played Garryowen and Connaught Development side

Did you win any honours?
Unfortunately not and I might add it was not for the want of trying

Do you still watch rugby?
Very much so, I am living in Brisbane, Australia now and have been for 10+ years. So I am growing my knowledge of the Super 14 game and the club rugby over here

When was the last time you attended a London Irish match?
10+ years

Has your old position changed since you played?
Not really I do not think. There was quite a fashion in England that you need to be quite small to be a good scrum half (which I strongly disagreed with) however there a quite a few taller players now in this position however the technique and need of the position is still vital to link the team and to be balanced with all your skills was in my eyes always important, defence, running, kicking etc to keep the opposition thinking and create chances

Which modern day player would you have liked to play with?
Richie McCaw for obvious reasons, he is just class in a glass

Do you prefer the rugby of today or when you played?
With the new laws coming into play, the game I like to play with it being open and having to think your way through defences will be highlighted more and not so forward orientated. The game is still there for the forwards however they may need to develop a little more in open play which is not a bad thing, the scrummage area is still very important so it should keep some them happy? So yes I would love to play nowadays it would be great fun

Are there any rules that you would like to see changed?
Not really however would like to see more consistency when they are applied

What are you doing now?
Working for Macquarie Investment Bank in Brisbane, Queensland, this is my tenth year here

Are you still involved in Rugby?
No however I do want to get back into it after seeing some old faces doing well in the coaching arena, the Irish Association of Brisbane have a rugby team that knock about in the leagues over here so I may well join up with them

Can you give a brief resume of your career?
Sussex County Schools – U16, U17, U18
Sussex County – U19, 21’s
London Division U21 Development Squad
Irish Exiles U21 Squad
London Irish U21 & Geese
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by dom_pedro on Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:36 pm

Nice one Paul and thanks to Mr Mulcahy for taking the time (he's been added to our old boys list too).
This cruel country has driven me down, teased me and lied.
I've only sad stories to tell to this town
My dreams have withered and died.
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by gabriel on Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:34 pm

Very good. I do like these vignettes very much indeed.
Thank you.
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by Mrs Chicken on Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:30 pm

"Because there are so many chives all looking like each other,
it makes it even hard to tell a sister from a brother"
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