IT didn’t take long for Patrick Campbell to showcase his talents with ball-in-hand during Young Munster’s exciting 24-17 energia All-Ireland League Division 1A victory over Cork Constitution at Temple Hill at the weekend.
At the mid-way point of the opening half and with the Limerick side 8-3 in front, the former PBC full-back turned defence into attack with a terrific run through the middle.
The move came to nought after Munsters were penalised for not releasing in the tackle, but it provided the initial evidence of what the first-year UL Law and Accounting student has to offer.
Of course, Campbell is better known on Leeside for his Gaelic football exploits with the 2019 Cork All-Ireland minor winning side, when he played full-forward.
But, he has decided to try his hand with the oval ball and see where that takes him which could be quite a distance judging by Munster’s interest in him.
Campbell impressed in a number of representative games at developmental level in the famous red jersey over the summer, taking on Leinster, twice, and also Ulster.
This was only his second outing in the top-tier of the club game here, but Campbell seems to have taken it all in his stride and slotted into a Young Munster side that is full of adventure and exciting back play.
Munsters may still carry the baggage of old, a club that prides itself on the muscle and power of the forwards, but the present team has many more strings to its bow.
“I made a decision in the summer to stick with the rugby and move to Limerick,” Campbell said after the game.
“I did my Leaving Cert in June and I’m now studying in UL, which is great because it’s all on-site and not on-line anymore.”
Campbell played with Nemo Rangers all through under-age and, naturally, the decision wasn’t easy for the Rochestown youngster.
“It was so hard because I’ve been playing GAA since I was four years of age with Nemo.
“It was very hard telling managers in the club, people I’ve known since I was very young, that I won’t be around anymore.
“At the moment it’s turning out to be a good decision for me, but if it doesn’t work out the lads would be happy to have me back in the GAA.”
After helping Cork to All-Ireland glory, Campbell turned his attentions to Pres and their Munster Schools Senior Cup ambitions only for Covid to intervene.
The 2020 final was scheduled to be all-Cork affair with CBC, but the plug was pulled just a few days out from the final and there was no competition this year either, Campbell’s final year in school.
It’s so far so good because Young Munster won both their opening games in Division 1A and play Terenure College at home this Saturday.
“They’re a great bunch of lads, who showed some heart against Con, when we had to dig-in and put our bodies on the line.
“You could see it there in the last play, when Alan Kennedy tackled the Con player near the corner flag and the reaction of the lads afterwards.”
Campbell also had the satisfaction of crossing for his first senior try, capitalising on more enterprising play to touch down in the left corner just a couple of minutes into the second-half.
“It wasn’t a wonder try or anything like that more just finishing off another good move and being in the right place at the right time.
“Three backs scored tries against Ballynahinch on the first day and that’s what we’re trying to do, get the ball in hand and spread it wide.
“We’ve unbelievable pace, especially in the back three, and we’re all comfortable with ball-in-hand, communicate very well with one another and clicking at the moment,” Campbell concluded.