Late great Moss a man for all occasions
VERY sad news yesterday with the death of Moss Keane, formerly of UCC, Lansdowne, Munster, Ireland and the Lions.
Encounters with the giant, genial former second-row were always to be welcomed and enjoyed, with one story - apocryphal or not - that was related in 2000 before the famous Heineken Cup match between Munster and Saracens standing out.
The storyteller recounted playing a game for UCC against Shannon at the Mardyke and how both teams repaired across the Western Road to 'Starry' Crowley's afterwards for post-match pints. At the time, Keane was in his early 20s and finding his feet in rugby, but making an eye-catching impression.
It turned into a serious session, with the young behemoth from Currow leading the way. Very late in the affair, a phone call came through to Starry's from an Irish selector as Keane had been a late call-up for the Irish squad session the following day in Dublin.
Shannon second-row Brendan Foley was made aware of the urgency of the situation but there was no sign of Moss and Foley was desperate.
"Mossie! Mossie!" he shouted out. "You've been called up by Ireland! For f*** sake, don't drink any more!"
There was a brief silence before Foley detected movement from a nearby corner where Keane's head emerged from beneath a pile of coats. "I can't," came the weak reply.
Moss made the session and went on to win 51 Irish caps over 10 years, picking up a Triple Crown in 1982.