Two stars of local rugby, one making the move from junior level to AIL 1A and the other from the top echelon to junior rugby, have been lighting up their respective competitions in recent weeks. Both come from exceptionally talented sporting backgrounds.
Evan Cusack has made a significant impression since his move from relegated Thomond to Greenfields at the end of last season while Willie Staunton continues to impress with his performances with Kilfeacle and District. Evan’s dad Declan remains one of the stalwarts of Thomond RFC and as a player, was regarded as one of the best all-round half-backs in this city, inspiring his club to Munster Junior Cup successes.
Evan’s older brother Declan played with Thomond, was snapped up by Munster before enjoying a couple of seasons playing in Spain with Gernika. He then moved to England where he had spells with Leicester Tigers, Doncaster, York and Plymouth
Last weekend Kilfeacle and District reached the final of the All-Ireland Junior Cup when they scored a surprise win over two-time winners Ashbourne. Star of that game was Kilfeacle out-half Willie Staunton who scored a try, two penalties, a conversion and two drop goals in his side’s six point victory. They will meet Ulster side Dromore in Coolmine in the final on January 25th.
One of three rugby-playing Stauntons, Willie has seen action with Garryowen and Young Munster as well as having a spell with Dublin clubs in the AIL. He is a product of the St Munchin’s College rugby system and his contribution to Kilfeacle so far this season has been a major contributor to their fine run in three competitions.
Willie is a brother of Jeremy who played at every level with Ireland and starred with St Munchin’s, Garryowen and Munster and John, who played as a prop with Garryowen FC for many seasons and is now their forward’s coach.
Evan Cusack’s background is impressive and his grandfather Seanie Cusack was one of the stars of the Limerick AFC side that won the League of Ireland Shield in 1953.
The previous year Sean played with the Republic of Ireland in a World Cup game against France in Dalymount Park which ended in a 1-1 draw.
Grandson Evan has made a stellar move to Young Munster this season, already clocking up a significant points tally and proving to be consistently accurate with the boot.
Out-half has been his favoured position since his boyhood days but there is a thinking that he would be equally comfortable in the number nine shirt.
Both Evan and Willlie will be in action this weekend with the Young Munster man hoping to guide his side to Munster Senior Cup final success on Friday night in Cork (7.30) and on the following day player/coach Willie Staunton will lead Kilfeacle out when they travel to Bandon in the Munster Junior Challenge Cup at the County Cork venue (5.30).
In the same competition, Clanwilliam are at home to Crosshaven, which also has a 5.30 kick-off.