Rugby View: Will JJ Hanrahan Stay Or Will He Go?

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Our rugby analyst, Mike O’Halloran, on the speculation that Kerryman, JJ Hanrahan, could be leaving Munster…


JJ Hanrahan and Mike O’Halloran pictured at last year’s Kerry Hurling All-Stars Awards.

IT is all over print, broadcast and digital media that Currow man and Munster Rugby star J J Hanrahan has been offered a contract with Nothampton Saints – figures of €190,000 contract are being quoted.

J J Hanrahan is a former nominee for IRB junior player of the year, he has also toured with Emerging Ireland along with Ian Keatley.

He is winner of The Rhino Golden Boot award 2013/14 with an average kicking success rate of 78.95%.

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Munster Rugby are reported as saying, “we are doing our level best to keep the lad” and have offered him a contract.

Munster fans are reacting on social media with a mixture of disbelief and anger at the news.

The question has to be asked how a world class number ten would be allowed to leave the club given his obvious talent, borne out by his exploits on the field, where in February 2014 against Cardiff Blues he kicked ten kicks out of ten scoring a total of 24 points, and in October 2013 he scored all Munsters points in the game versus Glasgow Warriors.

JJ has been referred to as a utility player in some media, meaning he can play in the centre or at number ten. In any discussion I ever had with the great man, he always said he preferred to play at number ten.

What would prompt such a move to the English Premeriership?

Firstly there is the fact that he has been given very little game time at ten with Munster.

He played at fullback against Ulster in The Guinness Pro Twelve, but did not feature in the meltdown last Saturday against Clermont,.

Munster management seem to cite his recovery from a groin injury as a reason for his lack of game time.

Secondly, Tyler Bleyendaal is on his way to Munster and can play at either ten or in the centre.

Thirdly, there is the thirst and the ambition to be on the field and be the number one out half in your club.

The fourth reason might be to play with the likes of Ben Foden, Courtney Laws, Dylan Hartly and the world class winger George North.

Finally there is the financial incentive of what looks like a decent wage packet for a young man attempting to make it in a game that can have perhaps a ten or twelve year career span provided you remain injury free.

What awaits JJ in Northampton, well there are two number tens there already, will he be the number one No.10?

Perhaps he might dislodge Stephen Myler who is now 30 years old and has been in Franklin Gardens for nine years.

Myler who comes from a family steeped in Rugby League has a kicking average of eighty percent, he has played 239 times for The Saints and has amassed 1952 points.

His understudy at ten is Will Hooley who is twenty-one years old and has played thirteen games and scored 74 points.

JJ might feel at home in the one-time shoe making capital of the world as their colours include green and gold.

Will we in the Kingdom be cheering on J J when he lines out for the 134 year old club or will he stay in Munster?

Whatever the Kerry man decides, I’m sure all sports fans and especially Kerry folk will wish him well.

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