Interview with Ulster's Kieran Campbell

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Interview with Ulster's Kieran Campbell

by PaulHP on Mon Oct 09, 2006 7:44 pm

Kieran Patrick Thomas Campbell, was a member of the London Irish side that beat Leicester 47-7 in the Tetley Bitter Cup Quarter Final on the 29th January 2000 (scoring 2 tries). He worked his way up from the London Irish Mini’s to become an Ireland International. He left London Irish after playing 68 First team matches to join Ulster in 2001. This December he hopes to be in the Ulster side that faces London Irish in the European Cup. He kindly answered my questions:

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What is your date of birth/place of birth? 06/07/1979 Hillingdon

When/where did you start to play rugby? London Irish

What is your favourite position winger or scrum half? Scrum half

When did join London Irish and how many games did you play? I first joined London Irish at the age of 6 and played at every age group for the club until getting in to the senior squad in 1998/1999 season

How many points did you score in your London Irish days? Unfortunately I can not remember (50 points/10 tries)

What brought you to London Irish? My father brought me to London Irish at the age of 6

Who was your most difficult opponent whilst at Irish? The hardest opposition nine was Robert Howley and the team I least liked playing against was Bath, because we never had much luck against them and as Kevin Maggs keeps reminding me we got a few hammerings at home and at the Rec

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Which ground did you prefer to play on Sunbury, The Stoop or The Madjeski? Which had the best atmosphere? I used to love playing at Sunbury but the Stoop has a great surface and there was always a good atmosphere there

What was your most memorable game for Irish? Playing against Newcastle away in the 1999/2000 season in one of the first games after they had won the title the year before we won with the last kick of the game by Conor O’ Shea and I had scored in my second game for the first team. The other was against Leicester in the quarter final of the powergen cup I scored two and we absolutely thumped them and that does not happen very often!

What was your favourite away ground? Welford Road there is always a good atmosphere

Who do you consider was the best player you played with for London Irish? I would not like to highlight one player as there were so many good players, however I had some of my most enjoyable games playing on the wing with Jarrod Cunningham and Justin Bishop

Who where the characters at London Irish in your time playing? There were quite a few, I caught the end of Gary Halpins tenure and he was quite a character, there were big personalities like Jeremy Davidson, and Jarrod was always good fun

Do you still keep in contact with any of your old team mates? Obviously I am playing again with Kieron Dawson and that’s great! I also met a lot of the lads recently at Adrian Flavin’s wedding

How good was the London Irish side you played in?(or)which season had the strongest team? It is difficult to identify the strongest team but certainly one of our most successful campaigns was the year we got to the Powergen cup semi final.(2001/2002 I think)

Who was your biggest influence on your rugby playing career? My father, he coached me at London Irish and is always on hand with advice

When was the last time you attended a London Irish match? The last match I attended was Jarrod Cunningham's testimonial at the Stoop

How did it feel to win the Celtic League last season? It was a tremendous achievement and very satisfying after consistently playing well all year, and not to mention very exciting with David Humphrey’s dropping a goal to win the league in the dying minutes of our last match of the season against the Osprey’s

How did you think Ulster will do this year? It is very early in the season to predict how we will do, but we have a strong squad this year and so far we are competing very well in the Celtic League again, so the omens are good for another successful season

How did you feel when you heard that Ulster had been drawn against Irish in the European Cup? I was delighted! Games between London Irish and any Irish province attract a lot of attention and both teams are also very strong so it should make for a great contest. On top of that my affinity with London Irish makes the games extra special for me

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How did it feel to win your first international caps on Ireland's summer tour of Japan in 2005? It’s certainly the highlight of my career to date, it was what I had dreamt about growing up, something I am very proud to have achieved and I will always cherish
Last edited by PaulHP on Wed Oct 25, 2006 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by dom_pedro on Tue Oct 10, 2006 2:00 pm

Great stuff Paul. Did KB leave Irish to go to Ulster specifically to get a look in at an international all-up? I notice you ask what brought the players to Irish, but perhaps asking what made them leave wouldn't be the right kind of question.
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 PaulHP on Tue Oct 10, 2006 10:28 pm

Dom

I wanted to ask but thought better of it!

Around the time Kieran left Irish were only offering 1 year contracts, we lost a lot of good players. Also the IRFU seemed to be ignoring our Irish qualified players leading the likes of Dec Danaher declaring for England.

Personally I think that if Kieran had stayed he would have been our first choice scrum half the following season, especially as Junior Tonuu had moved on. It wasn't that long after Kieran had signed for Ulster that Dick was sent let go, and the Doc returned.
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