Sunday 18 March 2018

Moss a true giant of the game

Tony Ward

Tony Ward

It struck me while Moss Keane's brother, Brian, was enriching the congregation with his personal and humorous memories of the great man in Portarlington on Thursday that, in all the glowing tributes paid, the bottom line of what a great rugby player he was may have been missed.

Brian outlined Moss' GAA achievements before rugby came a-calling. They were substantial, including three Sigerson Cup medals (the second as captain) with UCC.

As a rugby player, the image sometimes clouded the reality.

Moss was an extraordinary athlete, gifted with exceptional natural strength.

His ability to wrestle the ball free (turnover in modern parlance) when back-pedalling in a retreating maul was uncanny.

He was solid and as reliable as they come in the line-out. You knew (as an out-half) when the ball was called on Moss (whether at two or four), there was every chance of him taking it (and, remember, this was way before lifting arrived).

Moss was as natural as his late coming to the game suggests, but it was his inherent honesty at scrum time and bravery in the loose that set him apart -- and I can vouch for that at first-hand, given the number of times he protected me from rogue forward runners.

Great character? Yes, but first and foremost a great, great rugby player.

Irish Independent

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