Tuesday 24 October 2017

Proud Corkonian Wycherley has taken long road to international stage

Ireland's Fineen Wycherley. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Ireland's Fineen Wycherley. Photo: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Fineen Wycherley is a proud Cork man, or West Cork as most people from that part of the world will tell you, but he is also a proud owner of a Leinster Schools Senior Cup medal.

Like a lot of his Cistercian College Roscrea team-mates, Wycherley made the move to the boarding school that is situated just inside the Offaly border, to further his chances in rugby.

Roscrea had been quietly building their Senior Cup team but they stunned everyone when they won their first title two years ago. Wycherley was at the heart of that Roscrea team but the call-up to the Ireland U-18s and U-19s never came.

Last week in Scotland, he ended his wait for international recognition when he started in the second-row. As he reflects on the move from Bantry to Roscrea at 16, he insists that it was the catalyst to get to where he is now.

"It was massive because I grew up down in West Cork and my local club was Bantry. It was a small club with a tight enough group of us who used to turn up to training.

"My grandfather went to Roscrea so when I came to fifth and sixth year I wanted to play rugby at a higher level so we decided on Roscrea and luckily enough we got the win the first year I went.

"I really wanted to push on. I was really enjoying the rugby but, unfortunately, at my age group there wasn't enough interest for matches and training and I just thought to push on I had to go somewhere else and play a higher standard of rugby. There was high-quality coaches and the facilities were excellent. It was an easy way to push on and improve."

Down in West Cork, GAA takes preference for most but that is slowly changing as the likes of Bandon Grammar are threatening to pull off a similar upset as Roscrea in this year's Munster Senior Cup.

Wycherley starts again in Italy tomorrow as Nigel Carolan makes two changes to the side that beat Scotland.

Captain Jack Kelly (shoulder) misses out but the back line is boosted by the return of Calvin Nash, who made his professional debut with Munster in the Pro12 last week.

Ireland U-20 (to play Italy) - C Hogan; J Larmour, G Mullin, C Frawley, C Nash; J McPhillips, J Stewart; J Conway, T McElroy, C Connolly; F Wycherley, O Dowling; C Gallagher, P Boyle, C Doris. Reps: A Moloney, R Mulvihill, M Burke, R Regan, G Coombes, J Lyons, C Fitzgerald, T O'Brien.

Irish Independent

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