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Gloucester Rugby: Holm Truths with Shane Monahan

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 17, 2014

Comments (11)

After failing to make the cut in Ireland, Shane Monahan was forced to contemplate life outside rugby.

But having been given a blank canvas in England he is determined to express himself on the biggest stage.

The powerful wing grew up dreaming of playing professional rugby and came through the Leinster ranks playing alongside some of Ireland’s biggest stars.

But being part of such a galactic outfit meant opportunities were limited and the Drogheda Town-product was released by his home province.

He endured an ultimately unsuccessful year at Connacht before being shown the door once again and was quizzed about his plans outside the game he loved.

That’s when Rotherham came calling and Monahan hasn’t looked back.

He said: “I started playing rugby at six or seven-years old. My Dad was captain of the local rugby team, Drogheda town, and brought myself and brother along.

“They’ve since amalgamated to become Boyne RFC and the likes of Shane Horgan and Niall Ronan have both come from the club.

“I came through the Leinster and Ireland age-groups and spent three years in the province’s academy with guys like Ian Keatley, Sean O’Brien, Felix Jones, Ian Madigan, Rhys Ruddock, Jamie Hagan, Andrew Browne and loads of others.

“I was very lucky to play with those lads. But due to a mixture of injuries and being behind the best back-line in the world opportunities were very slim.

“ I spent a year at Connacht which wasn’t much better and it was make or break for me in Ireland.

“When I was let go people were asking ‘what are you going to do now, you’re retiring?’.

“But I had the opportunity to join Rotherham. Thank God I had a very good season in a great team there and got a contract at Gloucester as a result.”

Monahan made 20 appearances in his first season with the Cherry and Whites, touching down seven times.

He was rewarded with a long-term contract and was determined to build upon the foundations he put in place but dislocated his shoulder in the pre-season friendly against Toulon.

It was yet another set-back for the unshakeable wing but he fought his way back into contention and last week’s 20-7 defeat proved somewhat of a seminal moment for the 26-year-old.

Monahan thought he would never reach the heights of Heineken Cup rugby but here he was - the native Dubliner lining-up on the wing against Leinster’s greatest rivals and his former Ireland under-20s teammate Keith Earls.

He certainly rose to the occasion and ran riot in a bruising performance. Now he is determined to cement his place in the Gloucester side and stay in the sights of those across the Irish Sea.

He said: “Growing up in Ireland, you don’t see a lot of the English clubs but there are a few teams you always know about and Gloucester is one of them.

“When my agent said they were interested I couldn’t believe it. It’s a huge honour and privilege and having worked so hard to get here it’s fantastic.

“It was a foot in the door and I was very happy with how last season went. It was not the best pre-season, dislocating my shoulder in the first gam but thankfully I’m back out on the park.

“I was worried I would miss out on the Heineken Cup but it couldn’t have worked out better to get my first taste of it against Munster, in such a big game.

“It was huge for me, the biggest game I’ve been involved in. To achieve goals like that now is huge after such a long, tough road is amazing.

“When I was a kid my ultimate goal was to play for my country and pull on that emerald green jersey.

“You have to take it one step at a time but if I can get a starting spot in this exceptional squad maybe I will get attention at home.

“It’s always in the back of my mind that I’m not in their sights and they have said they prefer players to be based in Ireland. But if you’re playing well enough that they can’t ignore you.

“I’m still a bit rusty and will have to get back and then play at my best to get a look in - that’s what I aim to do.”

While there is nothing delicate about the 6ft 2ins, 16 stone flyer on the pitch but Monahan certainly has an artistic touch.

The former product design student has always possessed a passion for painting and he has already taken to a palette and brush to encapsulate his teammates.

For Monahan it is simply an escape from the pressures of modern day sport but if it can raise money for charity or lead to opportunities in the future all the better.

He said: “I’ve always had an interest and passion for drawing and painting. Whenever I’m at home watching TV I will get out the pad and draw.

“I hadn’t done much since studying product design in Dublin but the year before last I typically left ‘Secret Santa to the last minute, I had Mike Tindall so I just painted him.

“It had a good response from the lads so thought I would get back into it. I’ve started doing paintings and have had a massive response from the fans.

“A Gloucester player painting his teammates gives me a unique selling point. It’s something I enjoy and lets me escape from the game and relax, and if it’s something I can have a bit of a career from then great.

“The first one I did of Billy Twelvetrees went for £500 in the Wooden Sppon event at Kingsholm. It’s fantastic to be able to help out such fantastic charities.

“I’m so lucky to do what I love on and off the pitch, playing rugby and painting as an artist.

“It’s so important for lads to plan for after rugby and have something as a back-up plan because this career doesn’t last forever.

“I try to get around the galleries in Cheltenham, who knows maybe they will be exhibiting some of my work one day. But I have to say I’m the number two artist because Henry Trinder counts himself as the best on and off the field.”

Monahan’s immediate focus however will be on Sunday’s Heineken Cup clash in Perpignan – a city with a close affinity to Salvador Dali.

And while Monahan counts Marvel comic book illustrations and Pop Artists such as Roy Litchenstein among his inspirations, Gloucester will be hoping he delivers plenty of Wham, Bang and Pow at Stade Aime Giral.

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  • thomaserdland  |  January 19 2014, 11:01AM

    All Gloucester Rugby supporters will know what a fine player Shane is, but all Gloucester Rugby supporters also know that what the club must consistently do is to ensure that Rupҽrt Hardҽn, our first choice and best tight head prop, starts as many games as possible, otherwise the scrum will end up getting mullered as it did last season every time Rupҽrt was unavailable.

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  • sam-silent  |  January 19 2014, 10:58AM

    I love the way, week after week, that Rupҽrt Hardҽn plants a great big dollop of egg on the face of the multi-ID troll NOTArugbylover/gloslover-not/dumbanddumber20/dopey-lerone/bikeshed etc. (whichever one he thinks he is today). The troll wouldn't know a decent tight-head if he was slapped around the head by one, though he would enjoy the experience immensely.

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  • jasonbennet6  |  January 19 2014, 10:54AM

    A troll is a troll and NOTArugbylover, who also posts his dull nonsense under the identities of gloslover-not/dumbanddumber20/dopey-lerone, is a clueless Gloucester Rugby and Rupҽrt Hardҽn hating troll who has no idea where Kingsholm is because he doesn't even support Gloucester Rugby, He has no idea about rugby union either as he loves watching wendyball.

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  • stewglos  |  January 19 2014, 10:52AM

    Harden is TOP RATED! And that is by the man who knows best, the DoR.

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  • Newilldon  |  January 19 2014, 10:50AM

    Let's face it, Gloucester's scrum is never the same without Rupҽrt Hardҽn anchoring it and we have no effective maul or defence against it when he is not on the field. Nigel Davies knows that which is why he (and not the clueless multi-identitied troll NOTArugbylover aka gloslover-not/dopey-lerone/bikeshed/dumbanddumber20) selects Harden to start in the tough, critical games.

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  • thomaserdland  |  January 19 2014, 10:49AM

    Harden owns the number 3 shirt. He has no real competition for it.

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  • TuffIeyRaider  |  January 19 2014, 10:47AM

    Laughing at the clueless Gloucester Rugby and Rupҽrt Hardҽn hating troll NOTArugbylover aka gloslover-not/dopey-lerone/bikeshed/dumbanddumber20 pretending that he knows anything about rugby or that he is remotely interested in Gloucester Rugby. He is getting so upset because his "partner" has sprung a leak and Halfords isn't open so that he can get a puncture repair kit. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

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  • jasonbennet6  |  January 19 2014, 10:44AM

    Harden is a class act. There is no doubt about it. The Gloucester Rugby hating troll NOTArugbylover/shedheadNOTLIKELY/gloslover-NOT/dopey_lerone THINKS he knows better than the coaches at Gloucester who put Harden in as the first choice tight head but no one is paying NOTArugbylover/shedheadNOTLIKELY/gloslover-NOT/dopey_lerone for his rugby brain. Not least because he hasn't even got a brain.

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  • sam-silent  |  January 19 2014, 10:42AM

    NOTArugbylover aka shedheadNOTAGLOUCESTERSUPPORTER aka dopey-lerone/dumbanddumber20 is upset because he has been found out using another of his Gloucester Rugby hating troll identities. Now he is on his big-baby anti-Rupҽrt Hardҽn mega-rant just because Harden has proved him so wrong time after time with his brilliant displays of tight head rugby.

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  • stewglos  |  January 19 2014, 10:40AM

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Laugh at the useless Gloucester Rugby and Rupҽrt Hardҽn hating NOTArugbylover aka shedheadNOTAGLOUCESTERSUPPORTER aka shedheadNEVER aka gloslover-not or DumbAndDumber20 or dopey_lerone if he prefers. He is soooo upset that he has been found out with his latest identity. He knows absolutely nothing about rugby union, sat in his sad home for sad lonely old men.

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