RUGBY: ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE AWARDS – PETER OSBORNE
Osborne’s scoring exploits earn a national award
By Daire Walsh
AFTER making local headlines last year for his scoring exploits, the 2018/19 season saw Naas full-back Peter Osborne being recognised on a national level.
During a comprehensive final round victory over Dolphin last April, Osborne contributed an astonishing tally of 33 points. In addition staving off the threat of relegation, this set a new club record at Forenaughts and rejuvenated the squad ahead of another tilt at promotion.
They ultimately fell short to Old Wesley in a play-off semi-final at Donnybrook last month, but Osborne’s impressive seasonal haul of 169 points earned him the coveted prize of Division One Top Points Scorer at last Tuesday’s AIL Awards ceremony at the Aviva Stadium.
While acknowledging it was a great achievement on a personal level, Osborne believes it wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of his team-mates.
“It was a very long season. We’d been training since July and only really finished up last week against Old Wesley in a semi-final. Which unfortunately we lost. It’s good to get the recognition, but at the same time it’s a team effort and it’s a squad effort,” Osborne remarked.
“We trained really hard over the last nine months or so. We’ll take the time off and re-group in July. Try and go one step further, and get promoted into 1A.”
Even though their visit to Old Wesley ended in heartbreak, the indomitable spirit of Naas was on display in their extra-time defeat to Morgan Lennon’s men.
“We’re a never-say-die team really, we go right down to the wire. We always give it 100%. We gave it our best shot and unfortunately we just came up short,” Osborne explained.
“That’s the way it goes and that’s why we play the game. You just don’t know what way the game is going to go, but that’s why we play the game.”
Despite having their dream of top-flight rugby put on hold for at least another 12 months, Naas certainly appear to be heading in the right direction. A product of the underage system at Forenaughts, Osborne believes the development of local talent has aided the club’s rise through the ranks.
“The club is buzzing at the moment. They’ve one of the biggest youth sections in Naas as well. It’s a lot of homegrown players. We’re going out Tuesdays and Thursdays with more so our friends than just players. Which makes you want to wear the jersey and do better for the jersey, because you know you’re playing with friends.”
As well as featuring alongside some of the county’s hottest prospects, Osborne has rubbed shoulders with two notable professional stars of the recent past. Former Leicester Tigers and Munster back Johne Murphy brought his four-year stint as player/coach to an end in the aftermath of their play-off exit to Old Wesley.
Ex-Connacht and Leinster winger Carr will also be seeking pastures new – leaving a leadership void that Osborne hopes to fill when the domestic action resumes in September.
“I’ve learnt an awful lot from Johne from the past three or four years. He was top try-scorer in the English Premiership with Leicester and then went down to Munster.
“To get to play alongside Johne and even Fionn Carr, who is moving on this year as well, it has brought my game on so much. Hopefully I can bring that experience, now that I’m getting a little bit older, for the younger guys coming through.”
Just hours before Osborne was awarded his prize, news filtered through that Murphy was to assume the helm of Newbridge College’s Senior Cup Team from next season onwards. As a former student of the school, he believes Murphy has all the tools required for a demanding role.
“From a former Newbridge College student myself, it’s brilliant for the school and Johne will bring a wealth of experience to them and they’re itching to win a Senior Cup now.
“With Johne’s knowledge of the game and his technical skills, I’m sure he’ll be able to bring that out to the best in Newbridge and hopefully they can give it a very good shot over the next few years at winning the Senior Cup,” Osborne said.