Notre Dame football player takes to rugby
Childhood athlete returns to the pitch
Philadelphia, Penn. — April 23, 2016 — After playing four years of NCAA Division I-A Independent football, Eamon McOsker has decided to spend his senior spring as a rugger. As a pre-teen he also played rugby during football’s off-season. McOsker was first introduced to rugby as a middle schooler, when his older brother Garrity was passionate enough to create a local team; in fact, all four of Eamon’s siblings have played rugby at one point or another.
“Growing up in Southern California rugby is not super common so I think it’s pretty unique that we’ve all found rugby at different times in our lives. It really speaks to the appeal
When choosing a college, Eamon, a Los Angeles native, decided to look for one with the best balance of athletics and academics. He considered everything from Ivy Leagues to the likes of Northwestern and Stanford, as football recruits were after him starting in high school. It ultimately came down to the University of Pennsylvania or Notre Dame, and he chose the Fighting Irish.
It was Garrity who once again pushed Eamon to try rugby, this time in a collegiate setting; Garrity is a former Notre Dame rugged himself and a member of the 2015 class. Although the Indiana-based university has spring football conditioning, with Eamon graduating this year, he had no obligation to continue. After discussing his intentions with some of his coaches they were supportive.
Getting back into the groove of rugby after a couple of years took some time for Eamon. While both sports have similarities, their physicality and the emphasis on communication as the two biggest corresponding concepts. However, since he began attending rugby practices this January, he’s run into a variety of challenging scenarios: remembering poaching and rucking rules as well as developing his left handed passing game.
Although Eamon spent his college career bonding with his football teammates, due to his brothers’ recent rugby experience Eamon also feels a sense of familiarity among his new teammates. Nonetheless the ruggers went on their annual spring break training trip this past March to work on both skills and team cohesion for everyone. This year’s trip took them to San Diego, Newport Beach and Palo Alto. It concluded with participation in the Parsegian Cup at Stanford’s campus where Notre Dame lost to the University of Arizona 47-10.
“We love when the guys from football come over,” said current team Captain Pat McMahon. “Those guys are fun to play with because they understand the commitment and they understand success playing Notre Dame football. So they bring an automatic leadership position to us because they’ve competed at the highest level.”
Up until now Eamon has never been in a competitive 7s tournament or league, but is eager to try the sport in a different format. The team’s next competition will be on April 22-23 in Santa Clara, CA for the Jesuit Cup 7s Tournament.
“Being in the varsity football program for the last four years I believe has helped Eamon bring a calming confidence to his rugby. He brings a work boot type mentality to every session and continues to develop. He has shown in 15s that he is a sure tackler and a threat with ball in hand. I’m excited to see what he will do with more space in 7s,” reflected Lonnie Heeter, Notre Dame’s Interim Director of Rugby.
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