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From the sliotar to the oval ball, Joe Canning's nephew continues Roscrea's GAA connection

Tipperary minor footballer Ben Hyland was also involved for the school in their Leinster Schools Senior Cup tie yesterday.

CISTERCIAN COLLEGE ROSCREA may only have a resource pool of 180 pupils but they have emerged as one of the leading sporting schools in the country over recent years.

Not only has the school on the Tipperary-Offaly boarder become a powerful force in Leinster Schools Senior Cup (LSSC) rugby — memorably winning the competition for the first time in 2015 — but also has a strong hurling tradition; the two have often go hand-in-hand.

pjimage (2) Jack Canning: in action for Roscrea yesterday and for Galway minors last year.

During the opening minutes of yesterday’s LSSC quarter-final tie with Gonzaga College, a section of the Roscrea support at Donnybrook unveiled a sign which read: ‘It’s all about the Hurlin’.

It was, of course, all in good humour and a bit tongue in cheek but at the same time it rang true; unlike other schools in the competition, rugby is not the be all and end all in Roscrea.

Pieter Swanepoel’s side went onto lose the game as Gonzaga swept into the semi-finals, ending Roscrea’s two-year run of making the St Patrick’s Day showpiece final, but it was a campaign which saw the school’s rugby side continue its GAA connection.

When Roscrea made history by lifting the cup two years ago, their side contained two minor inter-county footballers with Robert Wharton and out-half Alan Tynan playing starring roles.

The previous September, Wharton had helped Kerry to All-Ireland minor football glory at Croke Park while dual-star Tynan played an integral part as the Tipperary minor footballers and hurlers reached the Munster finals in 2015.

Yesterday, that tradition continued as Jack Canning — the nephew of Joe — and Ben Hyland, a Tipp minor footballer last year, lined out for the school in the LSSC.

Canning has already played minor hurling for Galway and appeared as equally natural on a rugby field as he came off the bench during the second-half of Wednesday’s last eight tie.

From the sliotar to the oval ball, Joe Canning's nephew continues Roscrea's GAA connection
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  • Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
  • Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
  • Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
  • Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO
  • Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Shortly after coming on, the flanker — who is the son of Joe’s older brother David — made an explosive and powerful break down the left wing, bursting through the tackle of two or three Gonzaga defenders and making at least 15 yards for his team.

Eoin Barr with Ben Hyland Ben Hyland in action at Donnybrook. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Hyland, too, was impressive and while it wasn’t to be their day, Roscrea will no doubt be back next year with a new group of multi-talented players.

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Seventh heaven! Gonzaga produce remarkable performance to dump Roscrea out

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Ryan Bailey

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