Joey Carbery is feeling good about his new status with Munster and Ireland

Out-half is now the elder statesman to the emerging trio of Ben Healy, Jack Crowley and Jake Flannery at Thomond Park
Joey Carbery is feeling good about his new status with Munster and Ireland

Joey Carbery, the ambassador for the Tackle Your Feelings campaign, supported By Zurich. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

FOR Joey Carbery flitting between the Irish and Munster camps must feel a tad disconcerting.

While with Ireland he is, at just 26 years of age, the young buck, a whole decade, and some change, younger than his main rival for the Ireland no 10 shirt Ireland captain Johnny Sexton, while he also has three years in hand on Connacht’s Jack Carty.

Yet when he reports back for Munster duty he might feel like he is being handed a zimmer frame when stepping onto the training paddock given that the other three out-halves on Munster’s books are all just 22-years-old.

“It’s funny how the tables have turned a little bit”, laughed Carbery, as he discussed being the elder statesman to the emerging trio of Ben Healy, Jack Crowley and Jake Flannery.

“Yeah, it’s great to have that competition there, and I think for me that when I was in their position I was asking questions and they are the same. 

They are asking me questions, so it’s great to return the favour, and they are great guys, they are great guys to chat to.

“The talent there is really good. They all have different attributes, but I think to have the competition in the spot obviously makes me want to get better and forces me to get better, because those guys are there and they are playing incredibly well. So, I think as a whole it makes everyone better in that scenario.”

Ireland's Joey Carbery looks for a pass. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Ireland's Joey Carbery looks for a pass. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Carbery joined Munster back in 2018 from Leinster in order to get more game-time at fly-half, as he had mainly been deployed in the 15 position at the RDS due to the presence of Sexton. And while he remains Munster’s first choice fly half, he is open to performing at full-back for Munster, should the need arise.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind if it was the right thing for the team, and if the coach was happy for me to play there then I would have no issue. Full back is a position I have played a bit in before. It obviously can be quite similar to ten so it’s an enjoyable position and if I was to play there I would have no issue.”

Carbery, was being unveiled as the latest ambassador for the Tackle Your Feelings campaign to support the #ImTakingControl mental wellbeing campaign, and it is a subject he has become well versed in given how he has had to mentally deal with the fallout from suffering so many injuries in the past few years.

“Obviously injuries are pretty crap but it has thought me a lot and mentally I am a lot stronger for it. It has thought a lot of mental resilience and it has made me incredibly grateful to be back out there playing and I am just really enjoying things at the moment.

“The main thing I do is chat to friends and family and I try and bounce a few things off of them. It helps me to open my mind a bit more.“ When asked whether he had ever doubted himself during these times he reflected: “A few times, but being able to use the coping mechanisms and the support networks that I have got, and the tackle your feelings campaign, it encouraged that hugely, to have people around you and the right support systems, I think that helped me to get through those tough days and keep me focussed in what I was trying to do.“

Ireland's Joey Carbery takes a kick. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland
Ireland's Joey Carbery takes a kick. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland

Carbery’s best form for Munster is now over three years ago, when he lit up Kingsholm in a 41-15 rout of Gloucester in the Champions Cup. The aim is clearly to return to that level of form.

“Trying to anyway. I think at that time I had gotten a good run of games under my belt. I was playing quiet consistently and I was kind of getting into the flow of things so hopefully now, after the elbow injury, I can stay free of it and keep playing. There are a good few games left in the season to be able to keep going, so just excited for what’s to come.”

The 2023 Rugby World Cup might be appearing on the horizon, but for Carbery and the Irish squad it is very much a case of one step at a time.

We’re focusing game on game within the campaign. 

"I think everyone knows that that is the end point but I think if we worry about today and we focus on what we can control right now then we will be in a better spot for it. To keep growing as a team and to keep growing the environment I think is massively important at this stage. So, we’re taking it week by week and seeing where we can get to.”

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