‘Player Profile’ is the name that we’ve stuck to player analysis pieces that feature up and coming youngsters playing for Munster.
Unfortunately, with the exception of Jack O’Donoghue, our player profiles have been a kiss of death to every single player that has featured, with Brian Haugh, Luke O’Dea, Darren Moroney and Paddy Butler all being released from the Munster set up within the same season as our articles. However, we’ve decided to make a return with the profile pieces anyway due to popular demand so hopefully that trend comes to an end!
To kick off our player profiles on the website, we’ve decided to feature the latest exciting Munster prospect John Madigan.
Player Profile and Analysis of John Madigan
Position: Second Row
Weight: 18 st 10 lbs
Club: Dolphin RFC
John Madigan has been the name on Munster fan’s lips this summer as the 20 year old bruiser looks to try and break into the senior set up upon his return from injury in 2015/2016. The Dolphin twenty year old made his Munster first XV debut against Grenoble earlier this week to further spark interest in his potential to succeed at the province, so we have therefore decided to share some strong aspects of his game that will particularly interest you about the new kid on the block.
Munster excelled at the breakdown and at set-pieces at the weekend and much of that success was down to the tireless workload of Dave Foley, Niall Scannell and John Madigan himself.
To commence this analysis we will look into the former, the rucking element of his game.
Madigan went about his business quietly but efficiently for the most part of the game as he was ever-present at the breakdown, making an utter nuisance of himself to the frustration of Bernard Jackman’s pack. With his giant frame, the CBS Charleville man cleared out the French opponents aggressively time and time again which became a real feature of his performance. His dogged effort and attitude was key to this efficiency all night, reminding us of a young Donncha O’Callaghan.
This spirit not only spread through Madigan’s ability to supply clean ruck ball but was also evident at scrum and maul scenarios with the big man always keen to add his weight to the drive of the Munster forwards.
If he can keep this effort up to go along with his natural ability, there is no doubt that big things lie ahead of the Limerick born second row.
One thing that comes naturally with a frame like Madigan’s is obviously physicality but while he worked like Donncha O’Callaghan without the ball, with the ball, he was much more of a modern-day lock. Munster used him as a carrier to make the hard yards in the tight channels effectively and he made one particularly memorable break.
In the second half, Madigan broke through the tackles of Grenoble in the defensive 10/12 axis by the ten-metre line and charged down field to the 22 before passing on to the back in support as he was brought to the deck. The strength shown and the burst of pace was exciting to see in the arsenal of a Munster tight five member as this time the man making his debut reflected the style of someone like Australia’s Will Skelton rather than your traditional Irish second row.
To see this other huge asset of Madigan’s to compliment his attitude and efficiency at the breakdown was enough to assure us that this young man is definitely well worth getting excited about. Furthermore, even though this is a very early analysis of a raw Irish talent, we now think that we have seen enough to predict that only if Madigan keeps up his work-rate, retains his shape and continues to progress & learn while keeping level headed, then there is no reason why he cannot play at least a starting role for Munster in future seasons to come.
One thing that may stand in his way is a worrying injury record that Donnacha Ryan and Dave Foley are all too familiar with but without applying pressure to John, those men of similar attitude and intelligence still managed to earn an international status for the second best rugby nation in the world.
There is certainly a lot that can change in the rugby career of a young man in Munster but the past has shown with the likes of Donnacha Ryan, James Coughlan and perhaps Dave Foley that those who keep focused, reap the awards in later years even if things looked to have been going nowhere at first.
John Madigan certainly looks like he’s going places, but if he secures that precious development contract at the end of the season then I’m sure advice will never be far away when he has his ups and downs.
Do you think John Madigan will join Jack O’Donoghue as our second player profile success story?