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'That Kelleher-Sheehan battle is something we've lacked recently in Irish rugby'

Leinster’s impressive 23-year-old hookers continue to improve.

Dan Sheehan races clear to score for Leinster.
Dan Sheehan races clear to score for Leinster.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

LEINSTER AND IRELAND appear to be well-stocked at hooker for the next decade or so.

Rónan Kelleher’s rise in recent years has been impressive, while his fellow 23-year-old Dan Sheehan has emerged in promising fashion over the past two seasons.

Having won his first two Ireland caps in November, Sheehan continued his excellent form for Leinster in last weekend’s 47-19 win over Connacht, as discussed by Eoin Toolan and Murray Kinsella on today’s edition of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra - an analysis podcast available to members of The42 every Monday.

Sheehan scored a brilliant try in the first half and Eoin named him ‘player of the week.’

Eoin: “What a bit of footwork that was for the try.

“You think the double step is probably all a hooker would have in his locker but to be able to go a third time at pace and leave Mack Hansen for dead, it was one for the front row club. 

“I would imagine Hansen would have got a fair bit of stick on Monday morning.”

Murray: “The Leinster hookers are like wings these days because Kelleher did it in October against Glasgow with that ridiculous finish.

“They’re continuing the lineage of Keith Wood, Dane Coles, that kind of hooker who have the full variety.

“It’s really exciting for Irish rugby because every time Sheehan touched the ball, he was really impactful and dynamic. He’s so big and he plays big, he can really do everything and there’s plenty more left in him in terms of potential.

“There was a scrum play in the first half where Leinster bounce back to the left-hand side, and how many teams use their hooker as a distributor on second phase like that? Maybe the All Blacks… but Sheehan swings a pass to James Lowe, who makes yards up the left.”

Eoin: “That Kelleher-Sheehan battle is going to be ongoing for years to come. It’s probably something we’ve lacked recently in Irish rugby, having two potentially world-class players – I think they will go on to be world-class players – in the same position vying for the same spot.

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“That competition can only be a healthy thing.

“Sheehan has to be player of the week, with that try you couldn’t deny him. I thought he had a really well-rounded game in attack and defensively. He was 100% from his 11 tackles and just the footwork! We’re used to seeing those highlights in Super Rugby.

“It’s going to be a great battle with Kelleher for years to come.”

Elsewhere on The42 Rugby Weekly Extra, Eoin and Murray discussed the brilliant attacking play on show in Leinster’s victory over Connacht, as well as analysing why Ulster came up short away to Ospreys over the weekend.

The lads also looked ahead to what should be a thrilling weekend of Champions Cup action for the four Irish provinces, with Munster’s visit to Wasps standing out as the possible highlight.

You can sign up as a member of The42 here in order to listen to the extra rugby podcasts and a wide range of other shows on sportswriting, football, GAA, and coaching, as well as getting weekly newsletters and access to our lively member-only Whatsapp groups. 

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