Patrick Campbell, Daniel Okeke, Eoin O’Connor, Scott Buckley, and James French. These five debutants who started for Munster yesterday all exceeded expectations after being thrown in to start on Sunday against Wasps. This was on top of seven substitutes, all debuting as well.
They now have a special place in Munster’s European history, and were part of an occasion that will be looked back upon as the starting point for a new generation of players.
Campbell was one of the stars of the day: his brilliant try in the second half pushed Munster into a clear advantage at the Ricoh.
What a moment for Patrick Campbell 🙌
The 19-year old scores a try on his senior debut for Munster 🔴 #WASvMUN pic.twitter.com/plH1ApoMCf
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) December 12, 2021
The 19-year-old fullback’s backstory is particularly impressive, given his experience as a member of Cork football’s minor team, of which he was part of during their victorious 2019 All-Ireland campaign.
Patrick Campbell: minor GAA star
He starred for the side at full forward and can be seen scoring points that are reminiscent of the try he scored against Wasps, displaying a rapid turn of pace and an ability to change direction at top speed.
Cork's Patrick Campbell with a great score! pic.twitter.com/lUVaXWn1SJ
— The GAA (@officialgaa) September 1, 2019
Cork football's loss is Munster's gain
Patrick Campbell is a smooth operatorpic.twitter.com/fufaekzc3N
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) December 13, 2021
Campbell also plays for Cork heavyweights Nemo Rangers, and plays his club rugby for Young Munster. He played on the same Pres team as Munster starlet Alex Kendellen and joins the likes of Tomás O'Leary and Darren Sweetnam as young Cork GAA stars who successfully switched codes.
When the team was announced for Sunday’s game, some may have been surprised that Andrew Conway was not named at fullback given the importance and responsibility the position brings.
Stand-in coach Ian Costello of course knows better than the armchair pundits and knew full well the capabilities of Patrick Campbell, who was only handed an Academy contract last month.
Speaking after the game, Costello explained some of Campbell’s qualities.
“He’s a really composed young player, how many AIL games has he played? He’s played about 800 minutes this year, you go and watch him live and you get a real sense of confidence about where he’s at.
“His fundamentals are strong, he plays with huge confidence and that try he got was just a snapshot of what he’s done in the last couple of months for Young Munster, our ‘A’ team … it was fantastic to watch."
Costello also eluded to the fact, albeit with an element of tongue-in-cheek, that Campbell has played in more daunting environments than the Ricoh Arena.
“This is a small crowd for Pat, he’s played in Croke Park in front of 50,000 people! It’s just a small event in his career.”
With Simon Zebo being used primarily on the wing, and the injury history of Matt Gallagher, we can expect to see more of Patrick Campbell in the URC this season.
It is also not just gaelic football and rugby where Patrick Campbell has shone, as evidenced in this old clip posted by his football team Avondale Utd FC.
@AvondaleUtdFC Under 14s Patrick Campbell scoring in 7-1 win over @leeds_afc today pic.twitter.com/vkTydRfdML
— Avondale United FC (@AvondaleUtdFC) November 22, 2015