Rob Kearney (OC’04)
Last month the Clongowes community was delighted to hear that Rob Kearney had been selected to travel on his second British & Irish Lions tour. Rob announced his arrival on the world stage following a series of remarkable performances on the 2009 tour in South Africa. Since then he has overcome serious injury and several challenges to his berth to inspire Leinster to a third Heineken Cup in 2012 and emerge as Ireland’s leading light in the post-Brian O’Driscoll era that lies ahead.
A veteran of several schools cup squads, Rob’s capabilities first began to garner considerable attention during the prolonged 2004 campaign. While his Clongowes side (in which he was ably assisted by fellow international Fergus McFadden OC’05) ultimately fell at the last hurdle, Rob was the undisputed star of the show. Inevitably, Rob was quickly snapped up by a rapidly developing Leinster programme and by September 2005 at just 19, he had earned his made his first competitive appearance for the province. His rapid rise continued to the extent that less than two years later he was a fully-fledged member of an Irish squad that was readying itself for an assault on the Six Nations. The elusive Grand Slam would arrive after a 62 year hiatus in March 2009.
While 2013 has thus far failed to scale the heights of 2012, a season that saw Rob named ERC Player of the Year; his place on the prestigious tour was never really in doubt. While several of his Irish teammates had an anxious wait in the aftermath of a below-par Six Nations showing, Rob has shown considerable strength of character to emerge from the season with his reputation intact. Indeed his place is just reward for the hard work that has seen Rob rise and remain at the forefront of international rugby while many others have been and gone.
Before the British & Irish Lions take flight however, Rob can add two more medals to his healthy honours list . On Saturday 11th May, Leinster face Glasgow Warriors in the semi-final of the RaboDirect Pro12, while 6 days later Stade Francais provide the opposition in the final of the Amlin Challenge Cup.
We wish Rob every success in the weeks ahead.