Ireland U20 back row Lorcan Dow happy to take on harsh lessons

‘MY SONS THOUGHT the storyline about my brother turning out to be my son was ridiculously funny.’

Jo Dow is the kind of actor who has spent many an afternoon taking advice from old ladies in the street about what his next course of on-screen action on screen ought to be.

One of the sons he speaks about in the above fruit of the Birmingham Mail archives is Lorcan. The younger Dow has stood out in Ireland’s under 20 Six Nations campaign this year after coming back under the IRFU umbrella through the Exiles system.

Dow stands 6′ 3″ with a full blonde beard as he describes six ‘formative years’ spent in Dublin before his mother (also an actor) and father crossed the foam again.

Though his 100kg frame isn’t what you expect of an age grade rugby player, the number eight’s response to a query about role models is anything but shocking. Jamie Heaslip comparisons will be inevitable despite his affiliation with Ulster.

“His work-rate is outstanding for an eight. He carries, he’s a playmaker and I look up to him very much,” says the QUB psychology student in a soft English accent.

“I like to think I try to do the same sort of work he does. There is a lot of big guys in the game. He is a big lad but he does the ground work, the unseen stuff and that is what you pride yourself on.”

Unfortunately, medals will also remain unseen after this campaign as Nigel Carolan’s side head in to tonight’s final fixture trailing England and France, who will meet to decide the title.

Dow in u19s action against France last year. Source: Colm O’Neill/INPHO

Results at this level though, are not as tangible as trophies and medals. Carolan took over the role of head coach with a directive to hone talents and widen skill-bases first and foremost. If winning comes as a result, it’s a bonus.

Like most of his team-mates, Dow’s finest outing in green this year came in the thrilling 37 – 20 win over France. Defeats to England and Wales since then have brought feet well and truly back onto the ground, but the mood is reassuringly positive around the squad’s Lansdowne training base despite some harsh lessons.

“I definitely think we need to have a good picture of ourselves going forward. You never want to finish poorly. If we go out, play our game, we can really show what we can do and hopefully take that momentum into the World Cup,” Dow says.

“It’s when you are ahead in tight games [that you learn], it is finishing those situations. We are probably learning in the negative way. For example against England, that one we could have probably finished that game out and won it. We learned from that. You might make different decisions if you are lucky enough to be in that situation again. I suppose against France, we learned positively that we can play rugby, we can play a real good style of rugby when we get everything right.”

If he continues to hit his marks, then he won’t be the only Dow being offered advice from strangers on the street. 

Scotland U20s v Ireland U20s (Kick off 19.30*)


15 Ruairi Howarth (Edinburgh Rugby/Gala)
14 Ben Robbins (Edinburgh Rugby/Watsonians)
13 Tom Galbraith (Melrose)
12 Patrick Kelly (Le Parc)
11 Alec Coombes (London Scottish)
10 Rory Huthchinson (Northampton Saints)
9 George Horne (Glasgow Hawks)

1 Murray McCallum (Aberdeen Grammar Rugby)
2 Sam James (Wasps)
3 Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors/Glasgow Hawks)
4 Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors/Glasgow Hawks)
5 Lewis Carmichael (Melrose)
6 Neil Irvine-Hess (Melrose)
7 Ally Miller (Edinburgh Rugby/Watsonians)
8 Magnus Bradbury  (Edinburgh Rugby/Boroughmuir — Capt)


16 Ross Graham (Hawick)
17 Dan Elkington (Watsonians)
18 Gary Robertson (Gala)
19 Andrew Davidson (Glasgow Warriors/Glasgow Hawks)
20 Ruairi Knott (Melrose)
21 Ben Vellacott (Gloucester/Hartpury College)
22 Archie Russell (Stirling County)
23 Richard Galloway (Birmingham University)


15. Billy Dardis (UCD/ Leinster)
14. Ciaran Gaffney (Galwegians/Connacht)
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/ Leinster)
12. Sam Arnold (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
11. Stephen Fitzgerald (Shannon/ Munster)
10. Ross Byrne (UCD / Leinster)
9. Nick McCarthy (UCD/ Leinster — Capt.)

1. Jeremy Loughman (UCD / Leinster)
2. Zack McCall (QUB/Ulster)
3. Conan O’Donnell (Sligo/NUIG/Connacht)
4. David O’Connor (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
5. Alex Thompson (QUB/Ulster)
6. Josh Murphy (UCD/Leinster)
7. Nick Timoney (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
8. Lorcan Dow (QUB/Ulster)


16. Adam McBurney (Ballymena/Ulster)
17. Michael Lagan (Ballymena/Ulster)
18. Oisin Heffernan (Terenure/Leinster)
19. Jack Dwan (UCD/Leinster)
20. Stephen McVeigh (Buccaneers/Connacht)
21. Conor Young (QUB/Ulster)
22. Joey Carbery (UCD/Leinster)
23. Jacob Stockdale (QUB/Ulster)

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