O'Donoghue backs club pathway to top
Munster back-row Jack O'Donoghue says the underage club competitions in the province are vital to those who may not come from the bigger rugby schools.
The Waterford native, who turns 22 on Monday, went to De La Salle College, a hurling school.
However the former Ireland U-20 captain was able to join up with the Waterpark club, and through their successes on the field he came to the attention of the Munster underage system.
"My school was mainly a hurling school - rugby came into the school when I was leaving in sixth year. I primarily played my rugby with the club, Waterpark," he said.
"It has had some great history with the Munster competitions over the last few years. We have won the U-16 and U-18 competitions a number of times.
"It is great for Waterford rugby coming through, to see young lads coming from Waterpark and the city, and Dungarvan, coming through to the Munster ranks.
"It just shows that rugby in Waterford is getting stronger by the year."
O'Donoghue has gone on to make 26 appearances for Munster and dotted down three tries in his debut season last year.
"These competitions are vital. I remember playing in Thomond Park. It was probably my first run-out there. Everyone wants to play here in Thomond Park," he said.
"It was the U-16 Munster final. We played Shannon in 2011, and we won. It's still one of the great memories that I have. Playing in the Munster competition it gives you recognition. And that is the path some have to take."