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30th Aug 2023

Tommy Bowe backs Jack Crowley as World Cup ‘deputy’ to Johnny Sexton

Patrick McCarry

Jack Crowley

11 years on from a class day out for all the Bandon Rugby youngsters, one of their best young players is one of two Cork men heading to France.

When Ireland’s World Cup squad was announced, at the weekend, one Cork website went so far as to claim two and a half representatives from The Rebel County were off to France – Jack Crowley and Peter O’Mahony, with the half being Mack Hansen (his mother, Diana is from Cork).

Gavin Coombes had been in the World Cup training squad until late in their preparations and John Hodnett was one of the unluckiest players to miss out on that initial 42-man squad, with Shane Daly not far behind. For everyone at Bandon RFC, though, cheering Jack Crowley on alone will keep them plenty hoarse.

Tommy Bowe on Jack Crowley’s progress

During an appearance on the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast, former Ireland and Lions winger Tommy Bowe stated his belief that Jack Crowley had overtaken Leinster outhalf Ross Byrne as ‘deputy’ to Johnny Sexton.

Bowe, who appeared in 2011 and 2015 World Cup tournaments with Ireland, commented, “I would have thought going into this competition that Ross Byrne, who is the number two at Leinster, would have been a like-for-like replacement for Johnny Sexton. He would have sat on the bench.”

The former Ulster and Ospreys star highlighted Leinster, with Byrne the main man in the 10 jersey, finishing 2022/23 without any silverware while Crowley played a key role in Munster storming to an unlikely yet uplifting United Rugby Championship title win.

“So I think the pecking order has changed,” added Bowe. “Byrne would have been second choice to Sexton in the Six Nations but Crowley has now taken that spot.”

As it happens, Crowley is off to the World Cup with a man that he was once buzzing to meet at an end-of-season awards ceremony, back when he was only 12.

Jack CrowleyJack Crowley pictured during the Bank of Ireland Nations Series match between Ireland and Fiji at the Aviva Stadium. (Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile)

Meeting your rugby heroes

Right now, Peter O’Mahony and Jack Crowley are getting in the last batch of decent time with family and friends before they head off on their World Cup adventure.

In light of that, Damien Healy of Bandon RFC shared this great snap with Kieran McCarthy, editor of the Southern Star, of a young Jack Crowley getting to meet O’Mahony, Simon Zebo and Scott Deasy at his club’s awards ceremony, back in 2012. Crowley would go on to play with both O’Mahony and Zebo.

There is another Bandon connection with Peter O’Mahony. He was coached at Presentation Brothers College (Cork) by Paul Barr, a long time club member. Barr also coached O’Mahony at underage level, for Ireland.

Crowley and Shane Daly have both paid it back to their club, too, in recent years, paying visits – like O’Mahony, Deasy and Zebo did, back in the day – for award ceremonies and presentations.

Jack CrowleyShane Daly and Jack Crowley hand out medals and awards at Bandon RFC. (Credit: Bandon Rugby)

Who knows, the next Jack Crowley may be in that very picture, dreaming of their own World Cup adventure.


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