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Keatley reveals the reason behind his move

Guinness PRO12 Editor

25 Mar 2011

Connacht’s Munster-bound fly-half Ian Keatley has revealed one of the main motivations for making the switch south was to learn from Ronan O’Gara.

Keatley will move to Thomond Park at the end of the season and he is relishing the opportunity to compete with O'Gara while under the tutelage of Tony McGahan. But he insists he will not be content with a place on the bench.

"While I'm happy enough with my form this year, I still believe I can improve a lot and one of the main reasons the move to Munster is so attractive is because I'll be surrounded by the likes of Ronan O'Gara every day," Keatley told the Irish Independent.

"There's just so much I can learn from him. He's been Ireland's best out-half for 10 years, so I'm really looking forward to that. You can only improve when you're in that environment on a regular basis.

"Your priority is always to be in the team, so if I have to play at centre or full-back, I don't mind doing that at all. But I would see myself as an outside-half because I've played there since God knows what age.

"I'm going to Munster as a No 10, so I'll be working as hard as I can to get as many games there as possible. That's easier said than done when you've got someone like Ronan doing the same, but I'll give it my all.

"You have to put a bit of pressure on yourself because otherwise you'll just settle into a comfort zone. Paul Warwick has been a fantastic player for Munster and if I can perform as well as he's done, I'll be very happy.

"Munster is a huge club, so I'm really excited. The squad is full of top-quality players and the same can be said of the coaching staff."

Keatley has made 52 Magners League appearances in his three-years at the Galway-based province and has racked up more than 400 points.

The two-cap Ireland international admits it has been difficult to leave the Galway Sportsground but he insists they are in good stead for the future.

"I'm going to be sad leaving Connacht because this is where I got the chance to break on to the scene, so I'll always be really grateful for that," added 23-year-old Keatley.

"But I'm pretty confident Connacht can keep progressing anyway.

"I've no doubt they can do that with the coaching staff and the players that are already here. Even training now has picked up a lot and players are starting to perform to their potential more often.

"I know it's often said that if Connacht had equal funding, they'd have a much better chance of being competitive, but Munster and Leinster generate a lot of their own money through ticket sales and that side of things.

"Connacht are definitely a bit on the back foot that way, so, hopefully, things can change on that front. But it's difficult to know how to solve it."