As the Irish U20s set their sights on France in the Stade Maurice David this Saturday, one of Connachts’ rising stars will be hoping to make his mark on the international scene and stake a claim on the green jersey.
Wicklow-born Finn Treacy moved to the Connacht Academy during the summer after catching the eye of Eric Elwood during the Irish U18 schools campaign. “Eric came up here and met with me in Bray”, said Tracey. “We just had a meeting about what they had to offer me down there and we compared it with the opportunity in Leinster. It was just a no-brainer for me.”
The 19-year-old was first introduced to the sport when he joined the Greystones U8 squad. It was where he developed his skill set for the game until his introduction to the Leinster schools’ system with Presentation College Bray.
During his third year of secondary school, Treacy joined the Leinster schools programme, playing with their U17s. Despite being dropped from the Leinster U18s squad, Treacy had shown enough potential with ‘Pres Bray’ to earn his place in the Irish U18s Schools panel and returned to Leinster for their U19s season, narrowly missing out on an Irish tour to France through injury.
Following his move to Connacht, Treacy joined Galwegians RFC, playing a pivotal role in their title fight in the AIL Divison 2C. He has started ten of their twelve games this season, appearing both at centre and on the wing. “I feel like my level has gone up not only through Connacht but through ‘Wegians as well”.
Treacy admits he didn’t need much convincing when it came to joining Galwegians. “I would have known ‘Wegians as a big club, although they are not where they want to be at the moment. But when I spoke to the coaches they mentioned ‘the rebuilding’ as they called it, with the team they have now. It’s a great team playing some really exciting rugby at the moment.”
Treacy’s thriving in the Irish camp with high praise for head coach Ritchie Murphy. “The environment that Ritchie Murphy creates is class you’re excited to go to every time.” With squad selection up for grabs, Treacy is relishing every opportunity that comes his way. “It is a great environment to be in with quality everywhere you look. So it will be really tough to pick a squad out of that bunch, but that’s what fuels you and motivates you”.
He also has the opportunity to play alongside his Connacht and Irish team counterpart, Hugh Gavin, who will play alongside him in this year’s tournament. Treacy believes that his familiarity with Gavin’s playing style is a massive benefit within the Irish squad: “Just having that connection with him not only in Connacht but playing with him in ‘Wegians it even translates over to the training games as I sort of know how he operates. Especially his experience. He has done it all last year, won the grand slam and got to the World Cup final, so just chatting to him and getting bits of advice brings my game on.”
Having received a debrief from the former Irish U20s captain from the 2022 campaign on what to expect in France from the French and the crowd, Treacy emphasises the importance of belief within the team. “You can’t really prepare yourself for something like that you just have to have that sense of belief not only in your teammates but the belief that you can win”.
Treacy is confident in his team’s ability as they gear up to face last year’s World Cup winners on home soil and set down a marker. “Seeing how we’re flowing and connecting is exciting stuff. As a team, we want that grand slam”.
With 4 AIL tries for Galwegians and one for Ireland in the pre-Christmas warm-up game vs Italy, Treacy has a nose for the try line and if he is selected for Saturday’s clash, he will be eager to build on his tally throughout the championship.