UCC rugby rising star James Taylor is the first Moss Keane scholar

UCC rugby rising star James Taylor is the first Moss Keane scholar

The first Moss Keane Rugby Scholarship winner is James Taylor, seen here with Rory Bevan, President of UCC Rugby Club, the daughter of Moss Keane, Annemarie, and Professor Patrick O’Shea, President of UCC. Picture: John Sheehan Photography

UCC'S exciting out-half James Taylor is the first winner of the Moss Keane Rugby Scholarship.

Last season, the former CBC player helped guide College to All-Ireland League Division 1A for the first time in the club's history straight out of school.

Picture: Jim Coughlan
Picture: Jim Coughlan

And then Taylor played a leading role in keeping the Cork university in the top tier by scoring 188 points as College prevailed via the play-offs for the second season in-a-row.

He is highly regarded in club circles, earning a place on the Irish Students' team and being named as an AIL Rising Star by the IRFU.

“James is a worthy recipient of the scholarship. He is successfully studying for a Degree in Finance and has been instrumental in the rise of UCC to the top level of Irish club rugby,” said Rory Bevan, UCC RFC President.

Moss Finn, Cian Boland and Olann Kelleher. Picture: John Sheehan Photography
Moss Finn, Cian Boland and Olann Kelleher. Picture: John Sheehan Photography

UCC coach Brian Walsh had no hesitation in throwing the gifted number 10 in at the deep end despite his tender years and Taylor has repaid that faith with a string of impressive displays.

He is acknowledged as a reliable goal kicker, evidenced by his 35 conversions, 31 penalties and a drop-goal for good measure, but there's much more to Taylor's game.

Apart from also crossing for four tries, his ability to get a sparkling back line moving with impressive fluency and accuracy was another stand-out feature.

Taylor starred in the 27-11 semi-final play-off win over Malone, scoring a try and kicking three conversions as well as landing a couple of penalties.

In the 41-19 success against Old Wesley, Taylor kicked 21 points, five penalties and converting three of their four tries.

The scholarship was launched by UCC President Prof Patrick O'Shea and it designed to give talented young players from across Munster the opportunity to develop their full sporting and academic potential.

Apart from much-needed cash, as is the way with all students, Taylor has also use of the state-of-the-art facilities at the Mardyke Arena, including access to all the services to enhance his game.

The scholarship will ensure that he is provided with all the back up support required to assist with his academic career, too.

Moss Keane's family with James Taylor. Picture: John Sheehan Photography
Moss Keane's family with James Taylor. Picture: John Sheehan Photography

Keane was a legendary figure in Irish rugby even though the Kerryman came to the sport late, winning 51 international caps, starring in the 1981 Triple Crown winning season, touring with the Lions in 1977 and being part of the famous Munster side to down the All-Blacks a year later.

The Currow-native was originally a Gaelic footballer and was 23 when introduced first to rugby in UCC, where he graduated in Dairy Science, and Keane remained a committed supporter of College rugby until his untimely death in 2010, aged 62.

His daughter, Ann Marie Keane, presented the inaugural bursary on behalf of the family and paid tribute to College for recognising her father in this manner.

“His time in UCC had to a great degree formed the wonderful man he became.

“The experiences and friendships made in UCC not only created a great rugby player, but were also the stepping stone to a hugely successful professional career and rewarding family life,” she said.

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