Craig Gilroy: Is the Ulster winger Ireland's new superstar?
Last Updated: January 28, 2013 3:07pm
Craig Gilroy: Ulster winger could be a star of the 2013 Six Nations
Ulster wing Craig Gilroy announced himself on the European stage with a superb try in last season's Heineken Cup semi-final victory over Munster.
Gilroy skinned Denis Hurley on the outside near the halfway line, jinked in off his wing to beat the despairing tackles of Felix Jones and Lifeimi Mafi before scrambling over the line.
In Irish rugby circles, he has been seen as the potential next big thing for some time and the 6'1" winger certainly knows how to make in impression.
On his Ulster debut in 2010 he scored two tries against Cardiff Blues. In his first game for the national side, albeit in a non-cap international against the Barbarians last year, he did it again, scoring twice.
In his next match against Fiji, again a non-cap affair, he scored a hat-trick. Coach Declan Kidney had seen enough and awarded Gilroy his first cap against Argentina.
It took him all of quarter of an hour to make his mark. He burst between two Pumas off Jonny Sexton's pass, then beat three more on the way to the line. He admitted afterwards that he was so nervous about winning his first cap that he almost drove home to Belfast.
Tommy Bowe's injury has opened up a wing berth and Gilroy is the man who can fill it.
With the likes of Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Connell coming to the end of their careers, Ireland need a new hero and Gilroy is already drawing comparisons with Simon Geoghagen, Ireland's 1990s wing sensation, and Denis Hickie.
He may well be turn out to be better than both.