"I hope the one thing I’ve passed on to him is the benefit of hard work. The red 10 is a big jersey…you can either flourish or let it overpower you."

Ronan O’Gara on Ian Keatley, Unguarded, 2013 

Keep the scoreboard ticking over.

It’s old school for sure, but then again it’s Munster away to Leicester.

Heineken Cup aristocrats squaring up in the new style Champions Cup for the second season in a row. It's going to be meaty.

Looks like it’s going to rain, keep it tight.

What you don’t want to do, the experts say, is get off to a bad start at Welford Road. You can easily get mauled by the Tigers. 

But Ian Keatley does exactly that. After four minutes he takes an age to pass the ball and gets snagged.

Shortly after that, under no pressure, he knocks it on.

Precisely the start you don’t want. 

Keatley kicked Munster to victory at Welford Road

7 mins: a 60-metre kick from Keatley finds the corner. It’s O’Gara-esque.

From that moment on, the performance is almost faultless. 

After his first penalty in the 11th minute, the out-half kicks scores at intervals of 13 minutes, ten, six, 12, 29 and five. Tick, tick, tick.

It’s straight out of the text book and Keatley’s resilience hands Munster their first win at the venue in 11 years.

That previous victory, a 21-19 win in 2006, featured Ronan O’Gara kicking one conversion, one drop-goal and two penalties: tick, tick, tick.

Ronan O'Gara digging deep to get Munster over the line in 2006

Keatley could have crumbled after his poor start but he just got on with it, the showing one of his best in red.

It’s a far cry from that evening in late 2015 when a section of the Thomond Park crowd booed and jeered Keatley when he was replaced with seven minutes to play in a 31-19 loss to the same opponents.

So unusual was the occurrence in rugby circles that Munster Rugby felt compelled to release a statement reminding supporters not to sink to such levels. It wasn't his first set-back. 

The 30-year-old started his professional career at Leinster but didn’t make a senior appearance.

He moved to Connacht in 2008 and played 77 times over a three-year spell before switching to Munster.

He has faced competition since his arrival and now with Tyler Bleyendaal injured he is the number one number 10.

That trait of moving on quickly from set-backs has been notable throughout his rugby career, according to his coach from the 2005 Leinster Senior Cup-winning team with Belvedere College.

Keatley helped Belvedere to a famous win in 2005

"He was always exceptionally talented," Andy Kenny told RTÉ Sport.

"I would have described him as a running out-half.

"In fourth and fifth year he developed game-awareness. He was just a talented baller but as time went by his game-management got better."

But nothing came easy.

Initially overlooked by Leinster and Ireland underage teams, "he had to really stick at it but he was always that type of character, he always had a strong mentality," added Phil Werahiko, another who was on the scene for the Schools Cup win 13 years ago.

"He didn’t get through Leinster trials and it never dented his confidence," added Kenny.

"He never played representative rugby while at school until after the Senior Cup win and then made Irish 19s," says Kenny, who has noticed what Keatley has himself admitted to recently: he’s a different player this season.

"He looks more relaxed and he’s enjoying his rugby now and not forcing things as much," he said. 

"He’s trusting himself a bit more.

"He’s maybe getting back to where he was in the early days, he’s playing his own natural game."

Keatley is back in the frame for Ireland

On the international front, the Dubliner finds himself as Johnny Sexton’s back-up at Ireland.

The Ian Madigan ship has sailed, Paddy Jackson is indisposed due to this month's trial and Joey Carbery is recovering from three broken bones in his wrist (he has resumed training but is not in Leinster’s squad for the game with Glasgow).

It’s another example of his resilience and a world away from how he felt leaving Ireland training back in February 2017, eight years after winning the first of his seven caps. 

"I remember driving out of [training in Kildare] during the Six Nations and saying to myself 'that's probably the last time I'll play for Ireland'," he told RTÉ Sport after he found himself down the pecking order

Fast forward to last November and Keatley, on for the battered Carbery, once more keeps the scoreboard ticking over and guides Ireland to a 23-20 win over Fiji with two late kicks.

It will be a surprise if he doesn't see some action in the upcoming Six Nations. 

His next job is to ensure Munster leave the brand new U Arena, Racing 92's fully covered 4G pitch in Paris, this evening, with something, anything.

Johann van Graan’s men are currently top of Champions Cup Pool 4 but Sunday’s hosts lie just four points behind in second place.

"We have to make sure that we put in a good performance," Keatley told RTÉ Sport.

"It might lead to a good win. If not, any point in Europe is crucial.

"We saw with our first game against Castres, we came away with two points. Two points away in France is always good and I wouldn’t say no to that now."

Keep the table ticking over is the message. Nothing new for Keatley.  

Listen to live and exclusive radio commentary of Racing v Munster (Sunday 3.15pm) on RTÉ Radio 1.