After playing his first game for Munster A against Connacht Eagles in a pre-season game in August 2012 James went on to make his B&I Cup debut against Rotherham Titans in December 2012.
He claimed his first senior cap in the RaboDirect PRO12 game against Leinster in Thomond Park in April 2013 and was voted Academy Player of the Year in May 2013.
After 2 years in the academy programme James Cronin was rewarded with a development contract for season 2013/14. "I'm happy to be around the squad, training day in and day out with Lions and Irish Internationals and I'm only going to progress as a player being around these people." He was joined by his colleagues, Cian Bohane and Niall Scannell at Development level, two good friends of his and from the same club.
James featured in both pre-season games against Gloucester and London Irish in August 2013 and he then went on to make his first competitive start for Munster against Edinburgh in Musgrave Park in September, scoring his first Rabo try.
When James was named as one of three additional players added to Munster's Heineken Cup squad, he said, "It was kind of a surprise to be honest, I didn't really expect it, obviously the work I was doing at B&I Cup level showed the coaches what I was capable of."
Cronin's progression is to the squad testimony that the IRFU plan to significantly reduce the number of foreign players in the frontrow positions. Munstercoach Rob Penney spoke on Cronin's emergence in the wake of Marcus Horan's retirement saying: "Jimmy is making great progress. He is a mobile, athletic young man with a massive motor and a great deal of desire." (Irish Times, 2013)
Cronin has continued his impressive early season form into December and was rewarded with a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the province until at least June 2016.
Height: 1.83m (6ft 0in)
Weight: 133kg (17st 11lb)
Honours: Munster Youths; Munster A