One to watch: Sonny Dwyer
Rockwell’s inspirational flanker could win his third Senior Cup medal and lift the trophy for the second consecutive time as captain if the Tipperary school can make in three in a row later this month.
To win one Munster Senior Schools Cup is quite an achievement, to win two is something special indeed, to win three while wearing the captain’s armband on two consecutive occasions is practically unheard of.
It is something that Rockwell’s Sonny Dwyer will have accomplished if Rockwell can make it three titles on the trot next month and in the process become the first school to do so since Christians won four in a row at the turn of the millennium.
O’Dwyer and Neville Flynn are the only two members of the Rockwell squad to have collected winners’ medals in each of the last two years and are part of a group of 14 from last year’s squad looking to repeat the trick this time around.
Leadership is something that comes easy to Dwyer, who captained the Munster under-19 side recently, hardly surprising considering that he has blazed a trail in his school colours in the last three seasons.
When a player plays for three years with a school’s senior team, you would normally expect them to serve an apprenticeship and be content with a place on the bench or in the extended squad before making an impact when a year older and a year wiser the following year.
That hasn’t been the case with Dwyer, who started the 2011 Senior Cup Final victory over Pres Cork and returned bigger and better the following year, making a huge impact in the semi-final victory over Christians and again in the final against Munchin’s, where he was desperately close to scoring what would have been the only try just before half-time in a gritty 6-5 triumph.
Sonny in action for Munster under-19s late last year
No doubt guided by the influence of fellow flanker and member of the Rockwell coaching team Denis Leamy on the sideline, Dwyer has picked up where he left off this season, featuring prominently in the victory over Crescent and setting up a try for star man Rory Parata in victory over Castletroy in the quarter-final.
A powerful flanker who isn’t shy of making a timely break now and again, Dwyer is an inspirational presence for Rockwell and Munchin’s will no doubt be looking to nullify his influence in the Senior Cup semi-final next week, when Munchin’s will be out to avenge last year’s final defeat.
Most teams haven’t been able to pin him down yet, however, and whether it’s Munchin’s or the winners from the other semi-final, it will take some team to stop Dwyer and Rockwell from hoisting the trophy aloft in Musgrave Park on Paddy’s weekend.