Sam Prendergast, Brian Gleeson, Ruadhán Quinn, Diarmuid Mangan, Paddy McCarthy, James Culhane, Jack Boyle, Pa Campbell etc. This list of serious Ireland U20s prospects from the last two seasons could go on and on such is the depth at that age group, and in particular the all conquering 2023 U20s.
They have already experienced winning against some of the best sides in the world, and some have made senior debuts for their provinces, while others will be ready made at the start of next season.
Brian O'Driscoll, who won an U19 World Youth Championship, and played Ireland U21s, spoke of the advantages of having successful underage sides when making the step up to senior.
"You know, we as schoolboys were very competitive. At U21s the expectation was to really perform against England teams and French teams. And, and so actually, when that group of players from 21s that I would have played with when they all kind of came through at the same time, I think that brought a huge injection of confidence and belief into where the national team could go."
In 1998/99 O'Driscoll, alongside the likes of Shane Horgan, Peter Stringer, Marcus Horan, Ronan O'Gara, and Geordan Murphy, Donnacha O'Callaghan, Jerry Flannery, Leo Cullen, Mick O'Driscoll, all came through the system with the Ireland U19s and U21s.
Their mindsets and attitudes, with no baggage from the dark days of the 90s, helped usher in Ireland's rugby renaissance under Warren Gatland and Eddie O'Sullivan, before culminating under Declan Kidney with the '09 Grand Slam win.
"Look at guys that got capped together like Shane Horgan, Simon Easterby, Hayes and Strings and ROG, all got capped in the same game and that was a turning point, there’s no doubt. Because all of a sudden there was a belief that we should be winning more than we should be losing, which wasn’t the case back in the 90s.
"So a lot of rugby and sport in general is about frame of mind and is about belief in your ability and you obviously have to put tactical and technical in situ with that. But so much of sport is about mental attitude, mental toughness and being able to find and see ways through difficult circumstances."
This current crop of young guns will not be coming into an environment still reeling from years of Six Nations filled with hammerings and zero expectations.
Instead they will be tasked with continuing this fertile period in Irish rugby, maintaining standards, and even elevating the rugby that has lead Ireland to becoming the no. 1 side in the world.
Guinness, proud title sponsor of the Guinness Six Nations has teamed up with Ireland and Leinster legend, Brian O’Driscoll ahead of their St. Patrick’s Day campaign for 2023.
As anticipation builds for St. Patrick’s Day and celebrations kick off across the country, Guinness has launched its biggest responsible drinking campaign ever, to encourage people to ‘Make it a St. Patrick’s Day to Remember’. The campaign has been developed to communicate a message of moderation, and to encourage consumers to try the non-alcoholic beer, with 50,000 free pints of Guinness 0.0 being made available across the island of Ireland over the course of St. Patrick’s weekend.