Ulster Bank League Division 1A: St Mary’s College V Cork Constitution – Irishrugby.ie – September 20 2016

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Cobh Ramblers Follow-Up Piece: Stephen Henderson – The Evening Echo – September 20 2016

POST-MATCH REACTION: SSE AIRTRICITY LEAGUE FIRST DIVISION – COBH RAMBLERS MANAGER STEPHEN HENDERSON

By Daire Walsh

After witnessing his side securing a crucial 1-0 win against UCD at Belfield last night, Cobh Ramblers manager Stephen Henderson was delighted to be back in contention for a place in the SSE Airtricity League promotion play-offs.

Following their encouraging second-half performance in the FAI Cup away to St Patrick’s Athletic last weekend, Henderson was pleased to see Ramblers taking the game to UCD in a crunch First Division encounter.

“Yeah [very happy], because we’re back in it. We just had to look at the way we played in the second-half against Pat’s, and we asked the lads ‘is there any chance of two halves of that?’ The first-half, you could see we pressed them up, we stopped them from playing,” Henderson stated.

“I think we had eight or nine corners in the first-half that we should have taken advantage of, but we didn’t. Then, in the second-half, I think we had the best chances. We got a bit tired, because that’s hard work on a huge pitch against a very good team that pass the ball. They were brilliant.”

It was Eoin McGreevy’s 71st-minute goal that was ultimately the difference between the two teams, and Henderson praised the midfielder for his contribution on the night.

“He [McGreevy] is a character. You’ll see by his celebration, he’s a great character, and he runs himself into the ground. He got a little bit tired.

“He got a little bit of a boost after he scored. It was a fantastic finish, but he has quality in him the kid. We loved him to bits, he’s as mad as a hatter. We’re delighted he got that.”

This result means that Ramblers are now just three points adrift of three-place UCD with four games remaining in their 2016 campaign. Henderson acknowledged that their inferior goal difference poses a challenge, but with some tough fixtures ahead for both teams, they will continue to adopt an ‘all or nothing’ attitude.

“If we lost tonight we were gone. Possibly if we even drew tonight we were gone. We knew that, so we kind of went out with a ‘it’s all or nothing’ attitude. We had a go off it. We know we have to get more points than UCD, and we’ve known that since the last series of games started.

“We’ve set it up to go out and win as many games as possible, because we know the goal difference. We live in hope. The last four matches of the season, and we’re still involved in a play-off push. That’s incredible out of this group of lads.”

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on Cobh Ramblers Follow-Up Piece: Stephen Henderson – The Evening Echo – September 20 2016

Post-Match Reaction: Ulster Bank League Division 1A – Cork Constitution Coach Brian Hickey – The Evening Echo – September 20 2016

Hickey is thrilled with Cork Con’s start

AIL RUGBY

Daire Walsh

AFTER seeing his side weather a late storm against St Mary’s College, in their Ulster Bank League Division 1A opener last Saturday afternoon, Cork Constitution coach, Brian Hickey, was delighted to come away with a 20-16 victory.

Con had led by 14 points (17-3) in the early stages of the second-half, before Mary’s set-up a tense finale for the Temple Hill men.

However, the visitors took advantage of a strong breeze in the latter stages, and, with their defeat to Galwegians 12 months ago still fresh in his mind, Hickey was glad that they got over the line.

“I think the breeze was into that corner, and it was pleasing, but it was also frustrating, insofar as, why didn’t we do it for the 35 minutes prior to that?

“That will happen, and I’d be much happier having the win than last year, when we played Galwegians in the opening game. They were the things that cost us dear.

“Today, they could have cost us, but didn’t,” Hickey said.

There were impressive aspects to Con’s play, with the tries from Liam O’Connell and Niall Kenneally showcasing their ability to move the ball at pace.

Hickey believes this is a common feature of the league, and he was pleased that his players managed to execute these moves.

“I think, in fairness, Mary’s bust us up the middle with that a lot, and I just think runners coming from deep, and a good interplay, that’s a feature of this league. Teams are very, very good at making chances.

“It’s a much-maligned league, but I think you’ve very, very good players there. I was quite pleased with our execution of it, once again we got in behind them.”

Yet, despite coming through with four points in the end, Hickey acknowledged that there are areas of their game they will need to improve.

He feels their pre-season trip to Canada made it difficult for some of their first-team squad, but is confident that they will be able to sort any lingering issues in the coming weeks.

“I think our trip to Canada was quite divisive.

“It was very beneficial for the 23/24 players who were on it, and then it meant that the 10 or 15 guys who weren’t on it, part of the first-team squad, we had to blend them back in.

“I think, today, that rustiness showed, but I think, at the end of these four games, hopefully, all those little issues will be bedded-down for both sides,” Hickey added.

Posted in Senior Club Rugby | Comments Off on Post-Match Reaction: Ulster Bank League Division 1A – Cork Constitution Coach Brian Hickey – The Evening Echo – September 20 2016

Ulster Bank League Division 1A: St Mary’s College V Cork Constitution – The Evening Echo – September 19 2016

AIL RUGBY

Daire Walsh

ST MARY’S COLLEGE………………………….. 16

CORK CONSTITUTION…………………………. 20

TRIES from Rob Jermyn, Liam O’Connell and Niall Kenneally were crucial at Templeville Road on Saturday, when Con survived a late St Mary’s onslaught to claim a narrow win in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League.

In their first game of the top-flight campaign, last season’s runners-up Con established a foothold in the Mary’s 22 during the early exchanges, with winger Jermyn eventually crossing over in the right-corner for a fifth-minute try.

Fly-half Tomas Quinlan was wide of the mark from the conversion, but with his opposite number Kearns also missing the target from penalties in the 19th and 23rd, the visitors remained five points in front.

Indeed, after Kenneally made a strong break into enemy territory, O’Connell was left with the simple task of touching down underneath the posts.

Quinlan comfortably supplied the bonuses, before Mary’s finally got off the mark with a stoppage-time Kearns penalty.

Con’s interval advantage had been reduced to nine points (12-3), but within 60 seconds of the restart, Jermyn provided the spadework for a much-deserved Kenneally five-pointer.

The Leesiders appeared to be in pole position at this point, but the sin-binning of Ger Sweeney left them with a numerical disadvantage.

Kearns added a second place-kick in his absence, and just as Sweeney was about to re-enter the play, number eight Conor Kendergan also received a yellow-card from referee Stuart Gaffikin.

Brian Hickey’s charges held firm for much of this period, before a seven-point Kearns salvo on 70 minutes helped Mary’s to storm into contention.

Another three-pointer by Kearns reduced the gap to a minimum, but Con ultimately secured the spoils after Quinlan split the posts five minutes into added time.

Scorers for St Mary’s College: Sean Kearns try, 3 pens, con.

Scorers for Cork Constitution: Rob Jermyn, Liam O’Connell, Niall Kenneally try each, Tomas Quinlan pen, con.

ST MARY’S COLLEGE: J McDonnell; T Kennedy, R O’Loughlin, I Dineen, M Fogarty; S Kearns, P O’Driscoll; T O’Reilly, H Kean, B McGovern; C Ruddock, C O’Flaherty; N McCarthy, D Aspil, K Sheahan.

Replacements: Daragh Keller for Sheahan (14), Ian Cullinane for McDonnell (35), Richard Halpin for O’Flaherty (67).

CORK CONSTITUTION: S Daly; L O’Connell, N Hodson, N Kenneally, R Jermyn; T Quinlan, J Poland; G Duffy, M Abbott, G Sweeney; B Hayes, D O’Shea; E Mintern, S Dwyer, C Kendergan.

Replacements: Jason Higgins for Quinlan (51), Liam O’Connor for Dwyer (52-59), Greg Roche for Abbott, Quinlan for Poland (both 74), JJ O’Neill for Jermyn (77).

Referee: Stuart Gaffikin (IRFU).

Posted in Senior Club Rugby | Comments Off on Ulster Bank League Division 1A: St Mary’s College V Cork Constitution – The Evening Echo – September 19 2016

Ulster Bank League Division 1A Review: St Mary’s College V Cork Constitution – Irishrugby.ie – September 19 2016

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE 16 CORK CONSTITUTION 20, Templeville Road
Scorers: St. Mary’s College: Try: Sean Kearns; Con: Sean Kearns; Pens: Sean Kearns 3
Cork Constitution: Tries: Rob Jermyn, Liam O’Connell, Niall Kenneally; Con: Tomas Quinlan; Pen: Tomas Quinlan

HT: St. Mary’s College 3 Cork Constitution 12

Cork Constitution survived a late onslaught from hosts St. Mary’s College to claim a deserved 20-16 win in their Ulster Bank League opener at Templeville Road.

Con captain Niall Kenneally’s 41st-minute try had put 14 points between the sides and although young out-half Sean Kearns inspired a determined fight-back from Mary’s, they ultimately had to settle for a losing bonus point.

A Kearns penalty on the stroke of half-time was Mary’s only score of the first half, as the Leesiders turned around with a 12-3 advantage.

On their return to Division 1A, Mary’s fell behind to a fifth-minute try from winger Rob Jermyn who crossed in the right corner via neat passes from Kenneally and hooker Max Abbott.

The injury-enforced departure of number 8 Kevin Sheahan, coupled with two penalty misses by Kearns, hampered Mary’s and with 33 minutes on the clock, a powerful break by Kenneally paved the way for winger Liam O’Connell to notch Con’s second try.

A third touchdown followed on the resumption, the impressive Jermyn breaking from deep to send centre Kenneally crashing over. Tomas Quinlan’s conversion was blocked by Terry Kennedy.

Mary’s dug their heels in, however, and Kearns fired over his second penalty. Soon, the visitors lost forwards Ger Sweeney and Conor Kindregan in back-to-back sin-binnings.

Just before Kindregan’s return to the pitch, Kearns sidestepped his way through for a seven-pointer. He increased his influence with a curling penalty in the 73rd minute, cutting the gap to just 17-16.

Mary’s were suddenly hot on Con’s heels, but Brian Hickey’s men eventually prevailed thanks to a coolly-struck injury-time penalty from out-half Quinlan.

ST. MARY’S COLLEGE: Jonathan McDonnell; Terry Kennedy, Ryan O’Loughlin, Ivan Dineen, Mark Fogarty; Sean Kearns, Paddy O’Driscoll; Tom O’Reilly, Hugo Kean, Brian McGovern, Ciaran Ruddock, Cathal O’Flaherty, Nick McCarthy, David Aspil, Kevin Sheahan.

Replacements: Richard Halpin, Emmet Ferron, Daragh Keller, Ian Cullinane, Zach O’Hagan.

CORK CONSTITUTION: Shane Daly; Liam O’Connell, Ned Hodson, Niall Kenneally (capt), Rob Jermyn; Tomas Quinlan, John Poland; Gavin Duffy, Max Abbott, Ger Sweeney, Brian Hayes, Darren O’Shea, Conor Kindregan, Sonny Dwyer, Evan Mintern.

Replacements: Liam O’Connor, Greg Roche, Cian Barry, Jason Higgins, JJ O’Neill.

Posted in Senior Club Rugby | Comments Off on Ulster Bank League Division 1A Review: St Mary’s College V Cork Constitution – Irishrugby.ie – September 19 2016

Ulster Bank League Division 1A: St Mary’s College V Cork Constitution – The Irish Examiner – September 19 2016

Commanding Cork Con repel late challenge from St Mary’s

St Mary’s College 16 Cork Constitution 20: Cork Constitution survived a late onslaught from St Mary’s College to claim a narrow win in Division 1A of the Ulster Bank League at Templeville Road on Saturday.

Tries from Rob Jermyn, Liam O’Connell and Niall Kenneally helped the Leesiders to a commanding 17-3 lead in the early stages of the second-half, and even though their Sean Kearns-inspired opponents gathered serious momentum in the final-quarter, Con head coach Brian Hickey was delighted with the way his side dealt with a potent Mary’s back-three.

“I suppose it should have been maybe more comfortable at one stage in the game, but that’s the one thing about Mary’s/Con games,” he said.

“We haven’t played each other for a couple of years, but prior to that they were always very tough.

“They played with a lot of width. What little we knew of them, we knew they would do that. The have a very, very speedy back-three. I was worried, [but] I was delighted with how we coped in the end.”

Con — runners-up in last May’s Ulster Bank League decider — opened the scoring in the fifth minute, when winger Jermyn crossed over in the right corner, while a strong break into enemy territory by Kenneally enabled O’Connell to touch down six minutes before the break.

Tomas Quinlan comfortably supplied the bonuses on this occasion, before a stoppage-time Kearns penalty meant that Con brought a 12-3 advantage into the second period. However, they extended their lead within 60 seconds of the restart — when Jermyn provided the spadework for a much-deserved five-pointer from Kenneally.

The visitors appeared to be in pole position at this point, but the sin-binnings of Ger Sweeney and Conor Kendergan (in the 48th and 58th minutes respectively) left them facing into a numerical disadvantage for large spells. Indeed, the gap was subsequently reduced to a minimum after Kearns supplemented a seven-point salvo on 70 minutes with his third successful penalty, but Quinlan split the posts deep into time added on to secure the spoils for the Temple Hill outfit.

Scorers for St Mary’s College:

S Kearns try, 3 pens, con.

Scorers for Cork Constitution:

R Jermyn, L O’Connell, N Kenneally try each, T Quinlan pen, con.

ST MARY’S COLLEGE:

J McDonnell; T Kennedy, R O’Loughlin, I Dineen, M Fogarty; S Kearns, P O’Driscoll; T O’Reilly, H Kean, B McGovern; C Ruddock, C O’Flaherty; N McCarthy, D Aspil, K Sheahan.

Replacements:

D Keller for Sheahan (14), I Cullinane for McDonnell (35), R Halpin for O’Flaherty (67).

CORK CONSTITUTION:

S Daly; L O’Connell, N Hodson, N Kenneally, R Jermyn; T Quinlan, J Poland; G Duffy, M Abbott, G Sweeney; B Hayes, D O’Shea; E Mintern, S Dwyer, C Kendergan.

Replacements:

J Higgins for Quinlan (51), L O’Connor for Dwyer (52-59), G Roche for Abbott, Quinlan for Poland (both 74), JJ O’Neill for Jermyn (77).

Referee:

Stuart Gaffikin (IRFU).

Posted in Senior Club Rugby | Comments Off on Ulster Bank League Division 1A: St Mary’s College V Cork Constitution – The Irish Examiner – September 19 2016

Post-Match Reaction: SSE Airtricity League First Division – UCD V Cobh Ramblers – The Evening Echo – September 17 2016

Goalscorer hails his side’s display

REACTION

Daire Walsh

COBH RAMBLERS boosted their promotion play-off prospects in Belfield last Friday evening, when they recorded a 1-0 win against UCD in the SSE Airtricity League First Division.

Eoin McGreevy’s 71st-minute strike proved to be the only goal of the contest, and he hailed his team-mates for the way they performed on the night.

“Yeah, it’s nice to get the win. Coming up here is hard, it’s a big pitch. They’re a good side, and I thought we did very well. Pressed them high, got our goal, defended well”, McGreevy remarked.

“I think it was like ping-pong in the box [for the goal]. It just fell to me, chopped it right, and banged it with my left, and it went in.”

Cobh had come into this game on the back of a much-improved second-half display in a 3-2 defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic, and McGreevy feels the change in approach at the mid-way stage in that encounter was the inspiration for their success over UCD.

“I think we did very well against them [St Pat’s] in the second-half. Obviously, we were three down at half-time. I think it was just a change in attitude, change in formation, and a change in tactics.

“We just carried it on then this week.”

McGreevy retained his place in the starting line-up from the Pat’s game, but he was joined on this occasion in the engine room by Garry Comerford and Craig Donnellan. He was full of praise for the part they played in the win, and believes they set the tone for a impressive showing.

“They were brilliant at pressing them up high.

“Usually, we stand off and the boys have loads of time then, but this time Garry [Comerford] and Craig [Donnellan] were brilliant at breaking the line, and coming up and getting [Gary] O’Neill and a few of their players, a few other of their centre mids, which really helped us.”

With four games left in the current campaign, Cobh are still in the race for a promotion play-off place, and they will welcome Waterford United to St Colman’s Park this coming Saturday.

They will also host Limerick and Cabinteely before the season comes to an end, and McGreevy is hoping they can make home advantage count.

“I think we’ve been brilliant all season. Just a few blips here and there, but what can you do. It’s the business end of the season, so we’ve just got to push on there now.

“There’s three out of four games at home. Hopefully we get a good crowd down there, and everyone cheers us on, and we get a few wins,” McGreevy added.

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on Post-Match Reaction: SSE Airtricity League First Division – UCD V Cobh Ramblers – The Evening Echo – September 17 2016

SSE Airtricity League First Division: UCD V Cobh Ramblers – The Evening Echo – September 17 2016

McGreevy hits a vital winner

SOCCER

Daire Walsh

UCD…………………………………….. 0

COBH RAMBLERS…………………… 1

EOIN McGreevy was the hero at the UCD Bowl last night, when Cobh Ramblers kept their promotion play-off dreams alive with a crucial victory over UCD in a tense SSE Airtricity League First Division clash.

With the sides still inseparable on the stroke of 70 minutes, a sharing of the spoils looked to be the most likely outcome. However, the impressive McGreevy produced the decisive moment of the evening, and with four games still to play in the current campaign, Ramblers trail third-place UCD by just three points.

Following their impressive displays from the bench in the 3-2 away defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic in the FAI Cup seven days ago, Garry Comerford and Connor Ellis were promoted to the starting line-up for UCD’s second visit to Belfield in 2016.

They replaced Stephen Christopher and Jonathan Creamer respectively, while Craig Donnellan (a loanee from Cork City) deputised for the suspended Shane O’Connor in a three-man central midfield. As the sole goalscorer in the 3-1 reversal to UCD in May, the experienced O’Connor’s absence was always likely to be felt, to some degree, by the visitors. Ramblers manager Stephen Henderson once again set his side up in a 5-3-2 formation.

The Students were on top of possession in the first-quarter, but McGreevy and striker Rob Lehane linked up well on 14 minutes, before Lehane’s final pass to the Cobh midfielder was marginally overcooked. The ever-influential O’Neill was causing problems for Ramblers with his probing runs from midfield, but his powerful 18th-minute drive towards goal was blocked by the opposition back-four. UCD full-back Liam Scales also had a header from an O’Neill delivery saved comfortably by Cobh netminder Paul Hunt, but as the half wore on, the home team were finding it difficult to get a foothold in the game.

Indeed, Ramblers were beginning to place pressure on the south Dublin outfit, and some shaky moments in the UCD defence led to a series of corners being awarded in their opponents’ favour. They weren’t able to test goalkeeper Niall Corbet from any of these set-pieces, but efforts from Lehane and McGreevy, in the 26th and 29th minutes, only just cleared the Students’ crossbar.

The game was still waiting to spark into life, however, and with neither attack cutting loose, it looked like the deadlock would remain unbroken when the half-time whistle sounded. Corbet gathered a supremely-executed volley by McGreevy three minutes prior to the interval, though, and Hunt subsequently turned away a Greg Sloggett strike from 20 yards in the only minute of first-half stoppage-time.

This was a significant let-off for Cobh, but four minutes after the restart, they almost found a breakthrough themselves. A error in the UCD back-four set Connor Ellis free on goal, but although he unleashed a firm low shot on target, Corbet raced off his line to prevent him from adding to his successful penalty in last weekend’s Cup encounter.

A goal here would have acted as a real tonic for Cobh as they aimed to keep themselves in the hunt for a top-three finish, and Donnellan fired over four minutes later – when Ian Mylod rolled a free-kick into his path.

Yet, Donnellan was booked just shy of the hour mark for a mistimed tackle close to the Cobh box, and O’Neill was narrowly wide of the mark once again with a well-executed set-piece. Comerford was also cautioned in the 64th-minute, and as a result, Darren Murphy took his place for the closing 20 minutes of the tie.

Many of those in attendance were expecting an onslaught from UCD in the latter stages,  but instead they were issued with a hammer blow by their St Colman’s Park counterparts. A dangerous delivery into the area, with close to 71 minutes on the clock, was only half-cleared by the Students, and after the ball fell to him at a left-hand angle, McGreevy fired emphatically beyond the reach of Corbet at his near post.

As they attempted to restore parity to the proceedings, UCD introduced former Republic of Ireland international Jason Byrne to the fray, but Cobh continued to offer a considerable threat when they counter-attacked.

The energetic Ellis cut inside onto his right-foot with nine minutes of normal time still to play, and his shot was deflected past the UCD post – much to the relief of the home faithful.

Anthony O’Donnell and Creamer joined the aforementioned Murphy from the bench in the final-quarter, and even though there were a couple of minor scares during the four minutes of injury-time at the end of the second-half, Cobh ultimately held firm for their 11th league triumph of 2016.

They are next in action at home to Waterford United next Saturday evening, a game that will now take on even greater significance for Cobh Ramblers.

UCD: Niall Corbet; Mark Langtry, Maxi Kouogun, Tomas Boyle, Liam Scales (Jason Byrne 75); Greg Sloggett, Gary O’Neill; Kieran ‘Marty’ Waters, Cathal Brady, Jason McClelland (Simon Power 87); Ryan Swan (Georgie Kelly 66).

COBH RAMBLERS: Paul Hunt; Charlie Flemming, Ben O’Riordan, Christopher McCarthy, Kevin Mulcahy, Ian Mylod; Craig Donnellan, Garry Comerford (Darren Murphy 69), Eoin McGreevy (Anthony O’Donnell 76); Rob Lehane (Jonathan Creamer 81), Connor Ellis.

Referee: Michael Connolly (Donegal).

Posted in League Of Ireland | Comments Off on SSE Airtricity League First Division: UCD V Cobh Ramblers – The Evening Echo – September 17 2016

Subway Breakfast Launch: Tommy Bowe – The Irish Examiner – September 15 2016

Bowe: Ulster will miss Pienaar

By Daire Walsh

The news South African scrum-half Ruan Pienaar would not be allowed to extend his Ulster contract beyond this season came as a huge disappointment to his teammates, Ireland winger Tommy Bowe admits.

The IRFU’s succession policy – which restricts non-Irish qualified players to one per field position across the provinces (excluding Connacht) – means Pienaar, who first joined Ulster in 2010, will be playing outside of Ireland 12 months from now.

Speaking at the launch of the new Subway Breakfast on Dublin’s Pearse Street, Bowe accepted the contractual complexities but stressed the important role Pienaar has played since his arrival.

“We [players] were disappointed with it obviously, more so for Ruan. I think that, as a team, we will miss Ruan. He’s been an excellent part of the squad. We could see that he was upset by the decision, but it’s the nature of the beast,” Bowe remarked.

“We know that’s the sport we play in. We know that people miss out on contracts all the time. There’s people who get settled, and unfortunately have to move on. I think Ruan has shown huge loyalty to Ulster and he’s stayed with us. This is his seventh season. He’s a world class player.”

In enforcing this policy, Bowe accepts the IRFU has the best interests of the national team at heart, and believes that Pienaar’s current understudy – Paul Marshall – is ideally placed to step up to the plate when the Bloemfontein native departs.

“I can see where they’re coming from. They’re trying to look at the national team, which is number one ahead of everything in Ireland. Paul [Marshall] is an excellent player.

“Where he has excelled in the last couple of years is almost being a perfect replacement to Ruan, whenever you are getting to the stage of the game where they might want to mix it up.

“Marshy is a classic electric scrum-half, very nippy, looks for the quick tap-and-go, puts forwards under pressure around the ruck area. From that part of his game, he’s a very exciting player.”

The last 10 months have been particularly difficult for Bowe, as two bouts of surgery on his knee have restricted him to one appearance since he was forced off in Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina last October.

Following a productive pre-season, Bowe expects to be back on the playing field ahead of Ulster’s Champions Cup campaign, but is aware he will have a fight on his hands to regain a place in Les Kiss’s starting line-up.

“I am at the stage where I want to play because I have spent so much time not playing. I am hungry to play. Whatever else is coming down the line, everybody wants to be involved in the big matches.

“There are derbies, European Cup, so for me to get into the Ulster back-line at the minute with Charles [Piutau] there, whether Jared plays 13 or 15, you have Gillie [Craig Gilroy], Trimby [Andrew Trimble], Jacob [Stockdale], Rob [Lyttle], who has been excellent, so the pressure is mounting more and more.”

As a veteran of two tours (in 2009 and 2013), Bowe looked on with interest as Warren Gatland was once again named as head coach of the British & Irish Lions for next year’s series in New Zealand. The Welsh boss is often seen as a divisive figure on these shores, but the Monaghan man has the height of respect for the way he handled his recovery from a hand injury on the tour of Australia four years ago.

“I’ve been involved in the last two tours, and both times I’ve found him great. For me personally, he was very good to me on the last tour, in the fact that I broke my hand early on in the tour. It looked that I was probably going to be out for two months, but I was told I would be back playing within three weeks.

“For him to take that gamble to kind of keep me in the squad, with the hope that I’d be able to play… fortunately, I was able to play in the last two Test matches. I owe a lot to that. He’s an excellent coach. He’s a very, very good motivator.

“He has a certain way of getting teams revved up for matches, that whenever they hit the pitch, they’re just unleashed.

“I think that going to New Zealand, which is the number one team in the world at the minute, you’re going to need that,” Bowe added.

Posted in European Rugby | Comments Off on Subway Breakfast Launch: Tommy Bowe – The Irish Examiner – September 15 2016

Ulster Bank League Preview: Fionn Carr Interview – The Kildare Nationalist – September 13 2016

RUGBY: ULSTER BANK LEAGUE PREVIEW: FIONN CARR INTERVIEW

Carr ready for second Naas debut

By Daire Walsh

THIS Saturday promises to be a day to remember for Kildare native Fionn Carr, who will be donning the green and white of Naas RFC for the first time in almost two decades.

After his second spell with Guinness Pro12 champions Connacht came to an end during the summer, Carr opted to return to the club that first introduced him to the game of rugby – and when he received a phone call from his ex-Newbridge College team-mate Johne Murphy, it proved to be an easy decision for him.

“It will be a bit different, but it will be interesting to throw back on the Naas jersey again. It will probably be over 18 years [since I last played with them],” Carr remarked.

“Johne got onto me, and just asked me if I’d be interested, and I said ‘sure, why not?’ He was there, and I knew a few guys there from previous, lads that I was in school with, and lads that I would have played underage with. It made it quite easy.”

Although Connacht enjoyed a groundbreaking 2015/16 season under the guidance of Pat Lam, it proved to be a frustrating campaign for Carr – who made just six first-team appearances in total.

The 30-year-old revealed that he was looking at a couple of different options (including the possibility of moving abroad), but ultimately found that Naas was the perfect fit for him.

“I was looking at a few different things, but I was kind of contemplating going maybe abroad as well, which I still might do. At the time, I kind of wanted to get off the ground probably work-wise and that type of thing. It just fitted at the right time as well for me.

“For me it was probably a little bit of a frustrating season, but that’s the way the game goes. Sometimes you can get picked, other times you won’t. It’s just the nature of the game, I suppose.”

Considering he spent much of his professional career in Galway, Carr is ideally placed to run the rule over Saturday’s opponents, Galwegians. He feels their mixture of youth and experience will make them one of the teams to beat in the second-tier, and knows they will be eager to bounce straight back up to Division 1A.

“I’d know a bit about them alright. They’re a good side, there’d be a lot of young Connacht Academy players, and a few senior players thrown in. It’ll be quite a tough game. After coming down from 1A last year, I’m sure they’ll be one of the hot favourites to go back up.”

As player/coach, Johne Murphy will have a massive role to play with Naas both on and off the pitch this season. Although Carr wasn’t a part of the set-up that gained promotion from Division 2A last May, he has nevertheless been impressed with the way Murphy has attempted to implement the professional aspects of the Munster and Leicester set-ups he played in.

“Yeah, Johne has done well. He’s obviously got stuck into the coaching straight away. He was a good pro, so he’s probably brought a lot of knowledge from Munster, and the professional game in Leicester, that he’s learnt over the years. It’s a game that he’s trying to implement in Naas, so he’s going really well.”

While the upcoming campaign may well be a tough transition for Naas, the recent history of teams coming up to Division 1B does provide room for encouragement. Carr is reluctant to follow the model of other clubs, however, as he believes the squad unity and culture within the club will be the true driving force for them this term.

“They could look at other clubs, but to be honest, I don’t think Naas really have to. Teams that come up from 2A, I suppose, have momentum, and that’s what I’d like to think that Naas have, a bit of momentum coming into 1B now, and that there’s good unity in the squad. There’s a good culture in the club, and I think Naas will kick on and do quite well this year in the league,” Carr added.

Naas begin their UBL Division 1B season against Galwegians at Forenaughts on Saturday 17 September at 2.30pm.

Posted in Senior Club Rugby | Comments Off on Ulster Bank League Preview: Fionn Carr Interview – The Kildare Nationalist – September 13 2016