On the mend following knee surgery, Rob Kearney is aiming to put last season's personal Heineken Cup disappointment behind him as he sets his sights on the World Cup.
Kearney had to sit out Leinster's dramatic triumph over the Northampton Saints at the Millennium Stadium last May as he recovered from cartilage damage sustained during the 2010 autumn internationals.
"It was brutally hard to miss the Heineken Cup final," he told skysports.com. "That weekend was the toughest weekend I've had to experience as a professional. Injuries are something you just can't avoid and you have to come to accept them but it was hard to be out while my team-mates were winning silverware."
Kearney, though, is now back to full fitness and has his sights set on Ireland's forthcoming World Cup campaign. "The knee feels brilliant," he said. "I've been back in full training for two months now and it has gone well. I'm just looking forward to my first match back.
"It would have been nice to have been back for the Heineken Cup final but I suppose it is really good timing to push for a World Cup spot.
"I've been in full contact and all is good. I gave it an extra few weeks to be certain and to be a bit clever about it and I've had no trouble.
Ireland have been rated as the dark horses ahead of the tournament in New Zealand, with All Blacks legend Jonah Lomu among those backing them as the ones to watch out for.
Meanwhile, reigning Heineken Cup champions, Leinster, are already looking ahead to the defence of their title when when they travel to play Montpellier at Stade de la Mosson on Saturday, 12 November.
Finals Edition: Listen to the best guide to the European Rugby Cup Finals weekend in Dublin, which sees Leinster Rugby take on Stade Francais Paris at the RDS on Friday night in the Amlin Challenge Cup Final and then ASM Clermont Auvergne tackle Toulon in an all-French affair at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.