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But where does the definition of ‘youngster’ start and end? For 25-year-old Peter Dooley and his 66 caps to date, he probably feels a little outside that group now. Nonetheless, he wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth and just like the Academy and younger senior players around him, he went after this first block of six games with all that he had.
“We all knew how important this block of games was for the club. So many lads away which is great for them and the club but it definitely tests your strength and clubs look at these games against Leinster as maybe ‘cup finals’ anyway given we are defending champions, now have an even greater edge as they feel they can target us even more.
“That’s how others see it I think but for us we were hugely excited by it. We knew that chances would come and we just had to take them.”
Dooley has started five of Leinster’s six games at loosehead and again makes the match-day squad for the visit of Benetton Rugby tomorrow in the RDS Arena. It’s a hugely competitive slot. Jack McGrath may be gone up the M1 but Cian Healy is back from Japan, Ed Byrne is also back from a neck injury and raring to go. And then you’ve young Michael Milne asking all sorts of questions of the hierarchy.
“It’s something that I’ve missed the last few years definitely. Those really big European occasions, pulling on a Leinster jersey in the Champions Cup. There is a different vibe to t
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