Former Irish player's classic story about Joe Schmidt finding him naked in a hallway 4 years ago

Former Irish player's classic story about Joe Schmidt finding him naked in a hallway

He didn't see this one coming but, unfortunately, Joe Schmidt did.


Mike McCarthy was lucky that Schmidt knew all about him from his Leinster days, otherwise he may never have featured for Ireland again.

Back in the summer of 2013, McCarthy was one of the senior professionals on Ireland's tour of North America. James Downey came onto the tour uncapped but, at 32, was in the senior pro bracket too.

That both combined to give Schmidt an unforgettable introduction as Ireland coach just goes to show that some rugby players never grow out of the pranking phase of their life.

McCarthy and Downey were studio guests of The Hard Yards and both gave their versions of 'Towelgate' [from 1:05:00] and a sight for sore Kiwi eyes.


"I think that's why, maybe, I didn't get any more caps," McCarthy remarked.

"We were touring the USA and Canada and Les Kiss was running the show for the first week and then Joe [who had been confirmed Ireland head coach two months before] came for the second week.

"I was rooming with Jimmy. I had got out of the shower and just had a towel around me. I went out into the corridor to put my bag of washing - my dirty kit - in a big [clothes] bin at the end of the corridor. I said, 'Jimmy, is there any kit you want me to wash?'

"So I took his kitbag and my kitbag, and nipped down the corridor to throw our stuff in the washing basket. What does Jimmy do but, of course, pulls the towel off me and slams the door behind me.

"Who comes down the corridor and is the last person you'd want to come down the corridor, at that point? It's Joe Schmidt.

"Pretty awkward scenario, standing out there with two kitbags, no towel and seeing Joe getting closer and closer. Yeah, that was a very awkward moment for me."

In his right of reply, Downey commented, "I apologise... I had actually forgotten about that until now!"


As much as he joked about not getting another cap for Ireland, McCarthy did feature off the bench that weekend and, when Schmidt took over on a full-time basis, seven more times until his final outing at Stade de France in February 2016.

The big question remains, why did McCarthy not cover himself up with one of the two kitbags in his hands?