Galway man Eoin McKeon marked his 70th game for Connacht last week by touching down for one of five tries scored in the bonus point win over Zebre at the Sportsground. This week, the 24-year-old faces a different challenge in making the trip to Wales to face Ospreys – a fixture he is yet to be on the winning side of.

The last time Connacht were victorious over Ospreys in Wales was in November 2004 at the Gnoll, with John Muldoon, the only player still playing today, making an appearance from the bench.

“I’ve been over there the last three seasons and we’ve yet to get a win”, said McKeon.  “I played when we beat them at the Sportsground but that was back in February 2013 so yes, a win is well overdue.”

“I think in the past few seasons, particularly, we have been unlucky over there. But looking at those games, it was through our own play and the leaking of soft tries the cost us. We’ve definitely come home from there feeling like we’ve underachieved. So I’m hoping this time we can stay within the structure and the game plan to get the win.”

The Connacht Academy graduate, who made his debut away to Scarlets over five years ago, revealed that the squad, despite the age profile, is a more mature one than in years passed:

“Every year we’re maturing and gelling that bit more. Even though we’re a young group, it’s pretty much the same core group of players since Pat came in. From year one to year two under Pat we’ve made massive strides. And then again from year two to now, we’ve made a good start to the season and everyone feels we’re going in the right direction.”

The Ospreys are likely to have some of their international contingent back for the PRO12 round 5 fixture but McKeon maintains that regardless of the names on the team sheet, the Welsh side still pose the same challenge:

“Every team in the league now is going to be physical, that’s a given. You have to able to match it. But with the Ospreys, what we also find is that they are so sharp and they can pull a try out of anywhere. They have a very high skill level and a lot of sharp backs that can penetrate even the best defence.”

The versatile back row said the early kick off of 1:30pm won’t affect preparations too much:

“Personally I like the early starts. If you’re hanging around all day away from home, the anxiety can start to build. We’ll have our breakfast early and then a top up meal before we head to the stadium. I actually like getting up early, eating and going straight to the game. It sort of reminds me of the schoolboy days when you’d get up, warm up and play and you have the rest of the day to unwind. It’s a bit different, and we’ll obviously have to make a few tweaks as a team but we’re looking forward to it.”

Ospreys v Connacht, 1:30pm on Saturday October 24th, will be broadcast on S4C.


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