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Under-20s reap the benefit from Wycherley's patience

By Cian Tracey

Fineen Wycherley is a proud Corkman, but is the owner of a Leinster Schools' 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 team and stunned everyone when they won their first title two years ago. Wycherley was at the heart of that team but a call-up to the Ireland U18s and U19s never came.

Last week in Scotland, he ended his wait for international recognition when he started in the second-row for the U20s. As he reflects on his decision to leave Bantry for Roscrea at 16, he insists that the move was the catalyst to where he is now.

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

"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 we got the win the first year I went.

"I really wanted to push on. I was really enjoying the rugby but at my age group there wasn't enough interest for matches and training and to push on I had to go somewhere else. There was high quality coaches and the facilities were excellent. It was an easy way to push on."

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 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 Calvin Nash, who made his pro debut with Munster in the PRO12 last week.

Ireland U20 (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.

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