West Cork rugby ace Josh Wycherley played a vital role in helping the Ireland U20 rugby team capture the Six Nations Championship and the Grand Slam title in recent months. The Kealkil rugby star has just returned from representing the national team at the U20 World Cup, where he played a key role in helping Ireland enjoy a productive tournament. John Bohane catches up with the talented teenager who is tipped for a very bright future.
The exciting rugby talent, who is a member of the Munster Academy, is widely considered one of the most exciting young talents coming through the underage system at present. The modest West Cork man was glad to help the Ireland U20 team capture Grand Slam success earlier in the year. “It was a great achievement. We had a very talented team. I was proud to play my part in our success. I am always striving to improve on a regular basis,” revealed the prop forward.
Josh, who hails from Coomhola, notched a brace of tries against the French U20 rugby team, which proved integral factors in their hard fought triumph. He was thrilled to record two tries on home turf in Irish Independent Park, Cork. “I was fortunate enough I got over to be honest. I was in the right place at the right time. It was a great feeling to score in Cork. The atmosphere was unreal.”
The talented prop forward began his underage career with Bantry Bay RFC. Josh now plays for Young Munster and the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy. He relished his time playing for the West Cork rugby team. “Bantry Bay RFC played a huge role in my journey and development as a rugby player. All the way up through the club, the support and the coaching you receive is brilliant. They are a great club.”
When Josh is home in West Cork, he always ensures he catches up with his old colleagues and coaches with Bantry Bay RFC. Josh is delighted with their continued progress. “There is a great spirit in the club. Their numbers are constantly growing on an annual basis. There is great coaching going on behind the scenes and they are a club with a bright future. They taught both Fineen and I all about the game of rugby. We will always be very grateful to all involved with Bantry Bay RFC.”
Josh’s older brother Fineen is already an established player with the Munster senior rugby team. Fineen is widely tipped to become a permanent fixture in the second row for both the Munster and Ireland senior teams for the foreseeable future. He has played a huge role in helping inspire Josh to new levels in his rugby career. Josh is very proud of his brother’s great achievements to date with both Munster and various Ireland underage teams. He is delighted his brother, with whom he enjoys a very close-knit relationship, has been such a huge help to him during his formative years. “He has been a great help to me. He is flying it at the moment. I am thrilled for him. He has worked very hard to get where he is is today. He has given me great tips and advice over the years. I suppose seeing his progress has helped inspire and drive me on. I have seen his journey and I have always aspired to enjoy great moments for both Munster and Ireland.”
Josh, who will only turn 20 in July, took the brave decision to take a year off college this year as he concentrated exclusively on his rugby commitments with the Munster Academy, Young Munster and the Ireland U20 team. He plans to return to college this September. He feels his decision has been thoroughly vindicated. “I have loved being part of the Academy. I moved up to Limerick at the end of last summer and my game has improved hugely. The coaching is top class and I have benefitted immensely. I wanted to focus exclusively on rugby for the year and thankfully it is paying off so far.”
Josh was delighted to be a member of the Ireland U20 team who recently competed in the recent World Cup held in Argentina, where they competed against world giants such as New Zealand and Australia. “It was great to test ourselves against the best teams in the world. It has been an unbelievable year so far. I can’t wait for the new season to begin.”