Dublin Minor ‘A’ Hurling Championship Final: Kilmacud Crokes V Ballyboden St Enda’s – The Evening Herald – November 13 2018


Glenalbyn side claim Minor ‘A’ title with superb comeback

KILMACUD CROKES…………………………..2-21


Daire Walsh

KILMACUD Crokes completed a remarkable second-half turnaround to claim the Dublin Minor ‘A’ Hurling Championship title at O’Toole Park on Sunday morning.

After their southside rivals – Ballyboden St Enda’s – developed a convincing 1-14 to 1-8 interval lead, Crokes looked set to fall short. Yet, with Fionn O Ceallaigh and Mark Grogan in sparkling form up front, Paddy Linehan’s side were a rejuvenated force on the resumption.

Following the club’s defeat to ‘Boden in a recent senior championship final replay, Crokes were hell-bent on securing a reverse result in the Crumlin venue. Eddie Gibbons was substitute goalkeeper for the Glenalbyn men in that encounter and he posted five points from corner-forward in this pulsating affair.

En route to the decider, both teams had recorded four wins in as many games. Crokes topped Group Two prior to their semi-final success over Cuala, while ‘Boden defeated St Vincent’s after emerging unscathed from the opposing group.

Despite appearing to be evenly-matched on paper, Crokes were placed under pressure by a tidal wade of ‘Boden attacks during the early moments. Wing-forward Kevin Desmond flicked to the net inside the opening 30 seconds and corner-forward Adam Kelleher quickly followed suit with a pointed free.

Crokes looked to settle through an O Ceallaigh single, only for Kelleher (two), Pearce Christie and Luke McDwyer to respond for a rampant ‘Boden. After Christie cancelled out a superb Niall Comerford effort for Crokes, the Pairc Ui Murchu outfit were 1-6 to 0-2 in front with just eight minutes gone.

Kelleher (free), Desmond and Malachy Codd kept the scoreboard ticking over for the leaders, but Crokes discovered a familiar rhythm as the half progressed. Alex Hatt, Gibbons and James Dillon raised white flags and O Ceallaigh’s stunning strike on 14 minutes produced his side’s maiden goal of the tie.

Another Gibbons set-piece reduced the Crokes deficit to two (1-9 to 1-7), though ‘Boden settled again with back-to-back points from Christie and Kelleher. The relentless pace of the proceedings was maintained by Comerford, before an understandable drop inside the closing stages of the half.

This suited ‘Boden’s cause, as unanswered points courtesy of Kelleher, Cillian Kirwan and centre-back Fergal Ryan nudged them into a six-point cushion at the break. In a similar vein to their opponents’ whirlwind first-half start, Crokes were firing on all cylinders during the third-quarter.

With half-time substitute Padraig Purcell adding much-needed energy, they sensationally wiped out the ‘Boden buffer within seven minutes. A 0-2 Gibbons salvo got them back on track, and when Jack Lambert failed to deal with Tom Stakelum’s long-delivery, Crokes had their second goal.

Supplementing Gibbons’ spectacular free from inside his own half, Grogan (two) and Purcell found the target to edge Crokes into a three-point lead. Having been in the ascendancy for the majority of the play, ‘Boden were now struggling to contain their persistent counterparts.

They conceded further scores to Dillon and O Ceallaigh, but their scoring drought finally came to an end in the form of Desmond’s 48th-minute point. Although a long-range special by Ryan kept ‘Boden’s dreams alive, Crokes were not to be denied.

Another powerful attacking blitz delivered five points in succession – including braces for Padhraic Linehan and O Ceallaigh. While Kirwan drilled a free beyond Crokes netminder Ben Hynes deep into stoppage-time, it only served as a consolation for Ballyboden in the end.


Scorers – Kilmacud Crokes: F O Ceallaigh 1-4, E Gibbons 0-5 (4f), T Stakelum 1-0, M Grogan 0-3, P Linehan (f), J Dillon, N Comerford 0-2 each, D Murray, A Hatt, P Purcell 0-1 each. Ballyboden St Endas: A Kelleher 0-6 (5f), K Desmond 1-2, C Kirwan 1-1 (1-0f), P Christie 0-3, F Ryan 0-2 (1f, 1 ’65’), L McDwyer, M Codd 0-1 each.

KILMACUD CROKES: B Hynes; C Kinsella, B Sheehy, R Smith; T Stakelum, C Keys, S Kinsella; P Linehan, J Dillon; M Grogan, N Comerford, D Murray; A Hatt, F O Ceallaigh, E Gibbons.

Subs: P Purcell for Murray (h-t), G Veale for Gibbons (53), A O’Toole for O Ceallaigh (60).

BALLYBODEN ST ENDA’S: J Lambert; C Lowe, J McGrath, S O’Donnell; E Cashman, F Ryan, P Dunleavy; J Kenny, P Christie; L McDwyer, C Kirwan, K Desmond; A Kelleher, C Corcoran, M Codd.

Subs: J Maguire for O’Donnell (53), P Gannon for Corcoran (60).

MENTORS – Kilmacud Crokes: P Linehan, R Kinsella, M Hynes, S Slattery, R Mooney. Ballyboden St Enda’s: N Desmond, E Carroll, M Kenny, D McGrath.

Referee: Thomas Gleeson (Naomh Fionnbarra).

WIDES – Kilmacud Crokes: 8 (4+4). Ballyboden St Enda’s: 10 (3+7).

CONDITIONS: Dry and sunny conditions.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Fionn O Ceallaigh (Kilmacud Crokes).

Posted in Hurling | Comments Off on Dublin Minor ‘A’ Hurling Championship Final: Kilmacud Crokes V Ballyboden St Enda’s – The Evening Herald – November 13 2018

Ireland V New Zealand Preview: Brian O’Driscoll & Tana Umaga On Spear Tackle – The Irish Daily Mirror – November 13 2018



BRIAN O’DRISCOLL and Tana Umaga are hopeful that their infamous confrontation on the 2005 Lions Tour to New Zealand can be consigned to the history books.

The two old foes were brought together by Guinness ahead of this weekend’s clash between Ireland and the All Blacks.

Umaga’s spear tackle – in tandem with Keven Mealamu – brought the Clontarf man’s reign as Lions skipper to an abrupt halt 13 years ago.

“I get asked about it all the time. We parked it a long time ago,” O’Driscoll explained.

“We see each other at events here and there and have a quick word. To have a get-together and chew the fat, and properly get to talk and not feel scared by it is refreshing. I hope it’s dead after this.”

Umaga added: “We can’t change the past. Hopefully this will really put it behind people and we will make peace with it.”

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Ireland V New Zealand Preview: Brian O’Driscoll & Tana Umaga On Spear Tackle – The Irish Daily Mirror – November 13 2018

Ireland V New Zealand Preview: Tana Umaga – The Irish Daily Mirror – November 13 2018

Bundee’s Irish success makes me proud: Tana


ALL BLACKS legend Tana Umaga has revealed his immense pride in how former compatriot Bundee Aki has developed into a top-level international star.

Before signing terms with Connacht in 2014, the current Ireland centre was coached by Umaga during a three-year stint at Counties Manukau in New Zealand.

“From a personal point of view, obviously being a New Zealander, you always want the best for the All Blacks. But as a coach who wants to see the best for their players, my philosophy is about allowing people to live the dream. Like I have and am still able to do today,” Umaga said of Aki.

“Seeing players who can provide and still live the dream, in this great game that we have, it makes me proud. Whether that is for Ireland or anything, I’m 100 per cent behind Bundee.”

Aki had openly expressed in the past the crucial role Umaga played in launching his rugby career, having first encountered the Wellington native while working as a bank teller.

Although it is tempting to imagine how he might have fitted into Steve Hansen’s All Blacks set-up, Umaga acknowledged he was right to seek opportunities elsewhere.

“Players who do well and achieve are always the ones that get away. It’s all about opportunity. As you can see with our depth, Sonny Bill Williams was coming through, Ma’a Nonu was there and you had some young midfielders coming through.

“He decided to go and it turned out the way it has. The opportunity is the key thing. Bundee is the one who has to put in the effort and do the work. He’s been able to do that which is great.”

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Ireland V New Zealand Preview: Tana Umaga – The Irish Daily Mirror – November 13 2018

All Blacks/Dublin GAA AIG Event: Ryan Crotty – The Irish Examiner – November 13 2018

Ryan Crotty pays tribute to ‘awesome’ Ronan O’Gara

By Daire Walsh

All Blacks centre Ryan Crotty has hailed the impact made by Ronan O’Gara in his debut season as Crusaders assistant coach.

Following a successful stint in the Top 14 with Racing 92, the Ireland and Munster legend helped to guide the Christchurch outfit towards a ninth Super League title.

O’Gara is something of an outlier when it comes to northern hemisphere coaches plying their trade in New Zealand, but Crotty believes his approach was pivotal in securing back-to-back crowns for the Crusaders.

“He’s been awesome. I really enjoyed working with him this year.

“Coming in, he obviously had a lot of success before he arrived. So I think he was a wee bit nervous. A wee bit apprehensive to start with. But what he added to the environment, and to us as a back-line, was invaluable,” Crotty remarked yesterday at the Castleknock Golf Club.

“He brought us that northern hemisphere perspective on the game. I’m kind of stuck in my ways, I like things that have worked in the past. He brought a new way of thinking and a new way of defending, being one of the leaders of the back-line back home.”

Indeed, rather than seeking to adapt to his new environment, O’Gara has largely stayed true to his own principles since arriving in New Zealand — despite Crotty’s initial resistance.

“It probably took a bit of convincing for me and I was reluctant to change. But once he did [change my perception], I just think so highly of him as a coach. Some of the changes he made, and how he was able to convince us, was a massive contribution to the success of the Crusaders last year,” Crotty said.

“He knows what he knows. He knows what works up in the northern hemisphere, and thought it would work at super rugby level. Once we had everyone buying into what we were doing, we were really effective with the techniques he was implementing. I was so impressed.

“We had our review at the end of the season and we had a real good chat. I appreciated what he added to our team and I’m really looking forward to working with him again next year.”

With a strong Crusaders representation in the All Blacks squad — nine in total, including skipper Kieran Read — O’Gara’s influence may well come to the fore against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

While he acknowledges the club and international games are completely different beasts, Crotty feels the Cork man’s extensive deployment of line speed can be easily transferred to the New Zealand set-up.

“I think there’s strengths of everything. There’s strengths in the north hemisphere game, there’s strengths of rugby in Super Rugby. There’s part of each of those that don’t work at international level for whatever reason. I think really what he [O’Gara] brought was that real genuine line speed through set-piece, defence and through team defence.

“I think he believed in it so much from seeing it work when he was coaching at Racing and seeing it work for Ireland. It’s probably pretty good if you’re the Crusaders. You’ll know what it’s like to play against [line speed], because we’re training against it all year at our franchise. It was great the way he backed himself, the way he led and the way he coached our team,” Crotty added.

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on All Blacks/Dublin GAA AIG Event: Ryan Crotty – The Irish Examiner – November 13 2018

Post-Match Reaction: Guinness Series – Ireland V Argentina – Will Addison – Irishrugby.ie – November 12 2018

‘In At The Deep End, But I Absolutely Loved It’ – Addison

A former England Under-20 international, Addison qualifies for Ireland through his Fermanagh-born mother. The circumstances of his selection meant his family were not present at the stadium, but an emotional phone call managed to bring home the significance of his full debut in the green shirt.

“I was pretty much in tears on the phone to my mum just then! They sadly couldn’t come over this time, with it being a spur of the moment selection. Luckily I had my girlfriend Emma here, which was great.

“Being on the phone to my parents and the family just then, I was full of emotion. Luckily that surprise selection took out that emotion a little bit and let me focus on my task. Certainly after the game, it filled me with absolute pride.”

The versatile 26-year-old back had been earmarked for a spot in the Ireland squad for quite a while. Long before his impressive initial performances for his new side Ulster – mostly at full-back – he spent time within the Ireland set-up.

A spell in Australia during Ireland’s successful summer tour proved to be especially beneficial in advance of his debut off the bench against Conor O’Shea’s Italy in Chicago. Addison agreed: “The last few months have really helped. Having a few days in camp in Australia gave me a taste of the environment.

“Then had a weekend (camp) in August and then the last week has been great. Being away in Chicago with the group has really pushed me and made sure I’m really aware of what’s required. I’ve really enjoyed the last few weeks.”

Although lining out in a different position to provincial level might have been seen as an inconvenience, outside centre is where Addison is most comfortable. While he was generally satisfied with the way he performed, there were aspects of his game that left him frustrated.

“I think there was a little bit defensively that I’m not happy with. I love defending, it’s one of my really favourite parts of the game. Set piece-wise, you come up against a new challenge in international rugby. It’s probably one of those things that have really taken me back.

“The challenge at set piece and during phase play, it really takes you on defensively and it’s something I really need to work closely with Faz (Andy Farrell) about. Because he’s pretty much there or thereabouts the best defensive coach in the world. I’m very fortunate to have that resource available to me.”

Addison arrived at Kingspan Stadium following an eight-year stint with Sale Sharks. Moving on was a difficult decision for the University of Manchester graduate to make, but one he is currently reaping the benefits of.

“It was a real tough decision. A great club and I’m definitely a fan from afar of what Sale do. This was definitely part of the plan. I think first and foremost was to really enjoy what’s going on at Ulster at the moment. I think we’ve got a real club and really good youngsters coming through.

“I really see some great success we’re going to have at Ulster in a few years’ time. Maybe even this year. That was kind of the first hurdle, but international rugby was definitely a target for me. It has definitely proved a fruitful move.”

With Rob Kearney and Garry Ringrose expected to be available for next Saturday’s clash with New Zealand, the visit of the United States on Saturday, November 24 may be the most realistic target for Addison’s third cap at this level.

That won’t stop him from dreaming of a tilt at the world’s top-ranked team, though. The man who has close family ties to Enniskillen added: “The best team in the world coming to town. I think everyone will be putting up their hand for selection. Training is going to be pretty tasty this coming week. I’ll be very lucky to get selected. If I’m lucky enough to be involved in that 23, then I’m sure the parents will come over!”

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Post-Match Reaction: Guinness Series – Ireland V Argentina – Will Addison – Irishrugby.ie – November 12 2018

Post-Match Reaction: Guinness Series – Ireland V Argentina – Kieran Marmion – Irishrugby.ie – November 12 2018

Marmion: Physical Pumas Test Was Ideal Preparation

In relation to his eighth minute try, which came in response to Nicolas Sanchez’s opening penalty for Argentina, Marmion reserved special praise for Ireland’s pack in helping to make the score possible as he sniped over during an advantage for a scrum penalty.

“Didn’t have to do too much. I think the scrum was a big weapon for us tonight. I think that did most of the job and I just managed to get over the line there, which is always good to get,” he said of his fourth international try, with his haul also including touchdowns against Canada, the USA and Japan.

Like the desperately unfortunate Sean O’Brien, Marmion’s day was cut short by an ankle injury nearing the hour mark. He is hopeful that he will be fully fit for next Saturday’s showdown with New Zealand, however, and also expressed his disappointment for the returning O’Brien.

“I just twisted the ankle again. I’m feeling alright now, so hopefully I’ll get back to the hotel, get some ice on it and hopefully it’ll be alright next week. He (O’Brien) trained well all week. He was going well. Hasn’t had too much luck recently. It’s a big blow for him. I felt pretty sorry for him, but I’m sure he’ll come back again and go again.”

A week before welcoming the world champions back to Dublin, Ireland were facing an Argentinian outfit that were battle hardened from their recent Rugby Championship campaign. The Pumas are only in the first few months of Ledesma’s coaching reign but showed their quality with wins over South Africa and Australia.

Marmion believes the hard-fought GUINNESS Series Opener served as ideal preparation for the visit of the All Blacks, who claimed the Rugby Championship title for the third year in a row, finishing 10 points clear of the second-placed Springboks.

“Argentina are a good side. There’s definitely a lot of improvement from our performance there today to go into next week. I think we can just look back at that, look at the areas that we need to fix and get ready for a bigger challenge next weekend.”

Inevitably, given it is a clash between the world’s top two ranked teams, there were suggestions that Ireland may have had one eye on their meeting with New Zealand. However, as Marmion readily acknowledges, Joe Schmidt ensures the focus rarely stretches beyond the next game in an international cycle.

“I think Joe drives it into us that you have to perform this weekend. I think everyone in the squad was fully focused on this game. We all know that if we don’t perform in this game that we won’t be involved next weekend. I think the whole squad, as a collective, was fully focused and raring to go in this one.

“It’s one game at a time, so whenever we’re training, we’re just getting ready for whoever we’re up against this weekend. The individuals we’re up against. As a squad, that’s driven amongst the players and Joe and the other coaches as well.”

With Conor Murray to sit out the entire GUINNESS Series, Marmion is in the running to start against New Zealand at Test level for the first time. The 2016 GUINNESS PRO12 winner enjoyed a brief cameo when Steve Hansen’s charges last visited Dublin two year ago, having watched on as an unused replacement for the historic success in Chicago two weeks earlier.

Facing New Zealand as a starting number 9 would undoubtedly be the highlight of Marmion’s international career so far, especially with the highly-regarded Aaron Smith, who has 81 caps to his name, in the scrum half role for the opposition.

“Absolutely. That’s what I want to do. After tonight hopefully I’ve put my hand up. That’s up for Joe and the coaches to decide. All I can do is get ready for that game and if I’m starting great, but I’ll just train as hard as I can,” Marmion said about his selection prospects.

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Post-Match Reaction: Guinness Series – Ireland V Argentina – Kieran Marmion – Irishrugby.ie – November 12 2018

Post-Match Reaction: Guinness Series – Ireland V Argentina – Joe Schmidt & Rory Best – Irishrugby.ie – November 11 2018

Schmidt: We’re All Gutted For Seanie

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt admitted he was ‘gutted’ for Sean O’Brien, following the most recent injury setback for the experienced back rower.

After missing out on Leinster and Ireland’s successes during a disrupted 2017/18 campaign, Sean O’Brien had regained both fitness and form in recent weeks. He has already featured for Leinster on five occasions this season, leaving him just one short of his appearance tally in the previous year.

This led to an Ireland recall for the current GUINNESS Series and he was selected at openside flanker for Argentina’s latest trip to the Aviva Stadium yesterday. His last international cap was also against the Pumas twelve months ago, but a broken right arm ensured his day’s work came to an abrupt halt after 38 minutes.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, head coach Joe Schmidt said: “He’s gutted. I’m gutted for him. I think the team are. I actually thought he was just getting into his rhythm and the game. Talking to him after the game, he’s already thinking about his rehab and about trying to make sure he gets back. He’s got a big target in a year’s time that he wants to get to.

“He obviously won’t be available for the rest of the GUINNESS Series. I think I described him as a stubborn man on Thursday and I think that ability to bounce back, that resilience that he has, will still give him a chance of getting back towards the end of the year and then into the Six Nations.”

In the absence of O’Brien, his provincial colleague Dan Leavy again proved to be an able deputy in the Irish back row. This was familiar territory for the combative flanker, who replaced the stricken Josh van der Flier against France last February and went on to have a brilliant Six Nations.

Although he praised Leavy for the role he played in helping Ireland to secure an eventual 28-17 victory over the Pumas, Schmidt acknowledged that he faces a selection dilemma ahead of next Saturday’s mouthwatering clash with New Zealand at the same venue.

“Obviously Dan, not long after he came on he gave up a bit of an unlucky penalty. But his competitiveness, how combative he is, how keen he is to get involved. I thought he did a really good job. Defensively he was strong. Got some good pressure on the ball. That’s what you want from a seven.

“I do think there’s some other sevens who are going very well as well. Obviously Josh did in Chicago and that’s a tough decision for us during the week, which is exactly what we want. We’re disappointed not to have Sean O’Brien in that decision-making mix, but the seven loose forwards who are in the squad. Or seven-and-a-half if you count Tadhg Beirne, half as a second row and half as a back row.

“It’s an uncomfortable decision that’s going to have to be made, but it does add comfort knowing that Dan, on the back of a couple of hit-outs, has slotted straight back in as well as he did.”

In addition to the sidelined O’Brien, there is also some concern surrounding the fitness of Kieran Marmion, Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw, who pulled before kick-off and was replaced by Will Addison. While the next few days will determine the extent of their respective knocks, Schmidt is hopeful they will all have recovered in time for the New Zealand game.

“Robbie, his hamstring tightened during the warm-up. We’re going to have to look at it and we’ll know more over the next few days. We’re hopeful because we didn’t push him and we could have tried to see how he went on the pitch. It was right towards the end of the warm-up, where we just felt that it would be a two-fold risk.

“One, would it do more damage, and two, it’s always difficult if you’ve got to substitute someone five minutes into a Test match when you have a limited number of substitutes. Kieran Marmion just rolled his ankle a little bit. If you watch on, he does play on. We’d be very hopeful that he’ll be fine. He might have to elevate his ankle for the next 24-48 hours and get a bit of ice on it, but we’d be relatively confident he’ll be okay.

“Bundee was actually walking problem-free, not limping at all, in the changing room just then. Again, you’d be pretty confident that he’ll be okay. The next 24 to 48 hours will give us a better insight into how soon he’ll be able to train and run fully.”

Reflecting on a physical encounter with the Argentinians, returning Ireland captain Rory Best felt that the Pumas posed problems for them at the lineout that will need to be rectified over the course of the next week.

“When I saw their team, they picked three second rows (with Guido Petti at flanker) and I kinda felt they were going to target that. They were moving around and guessing a wee bit, and when a team does that sometimes, with your process, they guess right,” explained the Ulster hooker.

There was a few that they guessed and we’d obviously be disappointed with that. Having said that then, we got ourselves back together again and won a few scrappily. Sometimes you just have to get the ball back. We’ll be better for tonight, just a little bit of that cohesion in the lineout.”

Nonetheless, when you consider that Ireland restricted Mario Ledesma’s men to a solitary penalty goal in an improved second half performance, Best believes they can take a number of positives forward into that much-anticipated showdown with New Zealand.

“It’s like every game for us. We always look to improve, we always look to get better. There were some areas that we were very happy with and some areas we know we need to work on. I think we’ll be better for another week together. I can’t really put a figure on how much you need to get better, but we know we need to keep improving,” he added.

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Post-Match Reaction: Guinness Series – Ireland V Argentina – Joe Schmidt & Rory Best – Irishrugby.ie – November 11 2018

Ireland V Argentina Preview: Brian O’Driscoll (Main Piece) – The Irish Daily Mirror – November 10 2018



BRIAN O’DRISCOLL has earmarked Ireland’s narrow defence as a potential weak spot ahead of tonight’s Test.

A solitary defeat to Australia – in 16 internationals suggests Joe Schmidt’s side is in rude health but O’Driscoll expects Argentina to apply considerable pressure on the flanks: “You look at Rugby Championship and how Argentina have conversely been very good in attack but very poor in defence,” said the former Ireland skipper.

“What I really like about this fixture is how will they stretch us in the wide channels. That’s been our Achilles heel.

“Any time that we’ve struggled over the past two years, we’ve got narrow. We got narrow at the weekend against a lesser team in Italy. This is a better quality team, definitely a considerably better back-three that can beat players one-on-one.

“It’s a great test for us in advance of the All Blacks game because our perceived frailties will be tested.”

In the absence of Rob Kearney, O’Driscoll believes another big game from Jordan Larmour – who scored a hat-trick of tries in the 54-7 crushing of Italy – could boost his Test prospects.

He added: “I still see Jordan as quite raw. Let’s give him a little bit of time to work the finesse and other parts of his game that maybe don’t organically come as naturally as his ball carrying and his footwork. His defending I still think has a little bit of work to do.

“If he has another big day besides what he does going forward. If the rest of his game is very good then he definitely puts his hand up for a starting berth.”

Despite the growing number of options in both half-back positions, O’Driscoll believes Jonathan Sexton and the injured Conor Murray remain pivotal. Of Leinster star Sexton he said: “Joey Carbery has done very well for Munster but I still think at international level there’s still enough of a gap to Johnny.”

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Ireland V Argentina Preview: Brian O’Driscoll (Main Piece) – The Irish Daily Mirror – November 10 2018

Ireland V Argentina Preview Side Piece: Brian O’Driscoll – Irish Daily Mirror – November 10 2018

Brian O’Driscoll hails returning Sean O’Brien role in Ireland team

The Carlow native has been named in a back-row that also features Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander

By Daire Walsh

It is almost a year to the day since his last start for Ireland, but Sean O’Brien remains a pivotal figure within Joe Schmidt’s set-up.

That is according to his former provincial and international team-mate Brian O’Driscoll, who was speaking ahead of today’s Guinness Series encounter between Ireland and Argentina.

The Carlow native has been named in a back-row that also features Munster duo Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander. Following an injury-ravaged 2017/18 campaign, O’Driscoll expects a fully-fit O’Brien [whose last Test appearance was also against the Pumas] to be a mainstay at openside flanker for the foreseeable future.

“I think Seán is Ireland’s first-choice number seven. Dan Leavy had an incredible year last year, Jordi Murphy played really well when he came in and Josh van der Flier has been really good for Leinster. But I think when it comes down to it, Seán is a guy who has done it in the past for Joe when he’s asked,” O’Driscoll remarked at WHPR in Dublin yesterday.

“He’s respected on the world stage, the Kiwis really respect him. He’s the one player that could get into their team, without any doubt. They admit that themselves and they don’t say that lightly.

“I loved playing in the same team as Seán O’Brien. You just knew that there was no backwards step. Other players might have better components to their game here and there but on the whole, Seán is Ireland’s number seven in the World Cup if he can remain fit.”

Posted in International Rugby | Comments Off on Ireland V Argentina Preview Side Piece: Brian O’Driscoll – Irish Daily Mirror – November 10 2018

Dublin Schools Junior Hurling ‘C’ Championship Quarter-Final: Skerries CC V Templeogue College – The Evening Herald – November 8 2018


Stylish Skerries make last-four at their ease

Daire Walsh

SKERRIES CC booked their place in the Dublin Schools Junior ‘C’ Hurling Championship semi-finals with a comprehensive 22-point victory over Templeogue College on Tuesday afternoon.

Skerries reached last year’s decider in a similarly-accomplished fashion, before losing out to Maynooth PP on a five-point margin (3-7 to 1-8).

A Juvenile ‘A’ (U14) success over Lucan CBS helped to make it a memorable 2017/18 for hurling in the school though, and a number of that squad have transitioned to the higher age grade during the current campaign.

Although the final scoreline might suggest that the northsiders had it all their own way in the local Skerries Harps club, they faced into a stiff breeze throughout the opening half. Nevertheless, they enjoyed a four-point buffer at the midway stage in the contest.

The floodgates subsequently opened after the action resumed – Luke Whelan and James Casey finding the net in quick succession. This placed a serious dent in Templeogue’s challenge and Skerries took advantage through an array of morale-boosting scores.

In addition to the attacking prowess of Whelan, Greg McEneaney and David Graham, Ronan Geoghegan delivered a powerful performance at full-back.

While this was another step on a potential road back to the final, it served as a serious statement of intent by Skerries CC.

Posted in Schools GAA | Comments Off on Dublin Schools Junior Hurling ‘C’ Championship Quarter-Final: Skerries CC V Templeogue College – The Evening Herald – November 8 2018