Ireland kick-start their Rugby World Cup campaign when they take on Scotland this Sunday morning and if the Men in Green can conjure up the kind of magic young Meathman Lee Walsh displayed against the Scots in two Rugby League clashes in recent weeks they surely have a great chance.
The jet-heeled youngster from Dunderry showed the genuine qualities of a winger with world-class pace when he scored a sensational try as Ireland defeated Scotland 28-20 in an u-16 Rugby League international at Gormanston a few weeks ago.
However, not content with that Walsh repeated the feat last Sunday when the Irish u-16s again met their Scottish counterparts this time in the home of the Newcastle Falcons. Walsh again displayed world class pace to score a try that has been nominated for the ‘Rugby League Try of the Week’ in England, His is one of five nominations. However Scotland went on to win.
Walsh – who was a member of the Meath minor hurling squad this year – intercepted a crossfield kick from a Scottish player close to his own tryline. It was then he switched on the after-burners and set off on a devastating counter-attack.
The pacy youngster scorched a trail down the length of the field staying close to the touchline. He evaded opponents who were unable to match his pace as he went on his tubo-charged way.
The Irish u-16 team also included a large contingent of players who turn out for Athboy Rugby League team including Lee’s brother Ryan Walsh who is the team’s place-kicker. Both Lee and Ryan are students of Boyne Community School, Trim and both play rugby league with Athboy.
The other Athboy players include Oisin Peelman, who is from Athboy, Liam Hayes, who lives in Kildalkey, Jack MacEwan from Robinstown, Josh Green, a South African living in Navan and Padraig Flanagan from Virgina. Also included in the national squad is Toby Ennis who plays for the Longhorns rugby league side in Ashbourne.
The Ireland u-16 set up includes the management team of head coach Casey Dunne (Duleek) as well as other coaches Will Hayes (Kildalkey) and Tony Dale (Athboy).
Ryan Walsh also plays rugby union with Navan and has represented Leinster at under-age level.
Against Scotland in Gormanston Lee Walsh had scored Ireland’s opening try early on and that score helped Ireland go into break on level terms (16-16) after trailing 4-10 at one stage.
Early in the second-half he then produced that sensational, individualistic try which was converted by Ryan and that helped Ireland into a 22-16 lead.
While the balance of the game chopped and changed Ireland did enough in the closing stages to wrap up victory – with Lee Walsh’s try one of the most memorable moments in a fantastic victory. However, in the return game in Newcastle last Sunday Scotland turned the tables even though they couldn’t top Walsh repeating what he did in the first game and racing clear to get another amazing touchdown.