Cian Hurley on life as a Munster Academy player 

Munster Rugby Squad Training Cian Hurley
9 April 2022; Cian Hurley during a Munster rugby squad training session at the University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The Munster starlet tells the Limerick Voice about his journey to Munster and how he balances all his responsibilities

By James Roulston Mooney

Munster academy member Cian Hurley is set to become a part of the senior squad on a one-year contract next season.

Hurley made his debut for the senior squad in 2021 against Benetton and climbed his way up the provincial ranks to earn the shot he will be given later this year.

Academy rugby can be an uncertain path. Without a long-term contract, players must push themselves to secure their spot. 

The 22-year-old notes that although he enjoys rugby, college gives him a chance to disconnect from the sport. 

Hurley’s debut match.

“There is a switch off when you leave here,” Hurley explained. “And college allows me to step away from rugby and focus on a different goal.” 

Sport was big in the family and rugby was part of that with his father being a big fan of Tommy O’Donnell, now one of Hurley’s Munster coaches. 

Hurley was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and moved to Clonakilty when he was 13.  

Rugby became a focus when he moved to the Christians Brothers College. Now in Limerick, he plays with Garryowen when he isn’t called up for Munster.  

“You can see how much the league means to them, especially when we talk about the Munster Cup in Garryowen, it’s more of a tradition.” 

Hurley lives with fellow Cork natives Shane Daly and John Hodnett in Limerick. He has not seen as much gametime as them though. 

“Sometimes it is tough when you might not be involved and you’re watching it from a distance.  

“You’re thrilled by the win, but you’re disappointed you couldn’t contribute.” 

This season has also created great moments for the lock as he took to the pitch when Munster played against South Africa A in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.  

He is eligible to play for both national sides but is focusing on making his mark at Munster before he gets international honours. 

“It was a real special occasion for me because I love playing for Munster and being able to represent them against my country of birth was incredible for me.” 

Hurley has gained experience across the back five of the scrum and believes that versatility is an important trait. 

“The ability to play both positions obviously opens up more opportunities to get into squads … roles is a good way of putting it because there is no ‘one size fits all’ anymore.” 

As the Six Nations continues, Hurley believes that this is a good chance for him to leave his mark in training. 

Players such as Tadhg Beirne and Peter O’Mahony have been away from the provincial camp for a few weeks but the intensity in training has not softened. 

“When they’re gone, the place still needs to operate like it always does. We can’t be thinking if lads aren’t here its acceptable to perform poorly.” 

With only a few months left in the season, Hurley is not getting ahead of himself and looking to get on the pitch as much as possible. 

“At the moment I’m just focused on playing for Munster, I’m still young. The biggest thing for me is breaking into the squad.” 

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