Picture shows Barry in action for Munster V Perpignan in 1998
BLAST FROM THE PAST
“I went to Bath vs Irish in May 2022 ,I asked this old Bath supporter in the pub did he remember Rochey”.”He replied that guy was rapid.” John McNamara Any Craic Magazine..
Brian Roche was a pacey fullback who represented Munster on many occasions and Ireland at Under 21
What are your early memories of rugby?
Gaelic games was my first love with St. Finbarr’s, but my father Mossy suggested Highfield at under sixteen
as he had played up there in the Seventies. I took to rugby from the start settling in at full back winning a
trophy every season with Paddy Roche as coach. I was selected for both Munster and Ireland youths. I left
Highfield for Sundays Well attracted by the prospect of being coached by Kiwi Murray Kidd who had had
great Ail success with Garryowen, I made my full Munster debut aged Twenty One and also represented
Ireland at under 21 that season.
When did you get your first Senior break?
I played Senior for Highfield against Trinity while still Under Eighteen and I debuted for the Well Seniors on
the Wing as Colm Hayes had broken his thumb. The following season I was selected for Munster against
Ulster in Musgrave Park with Anthony Foley also making his debut. This was the peak period of my career
and I was part of an elite academy of twelve Irish players earmarked by the Irfu. The 1994 Sundays Well
Munster cup winning team was an outstanding team and competition for places was intense. At under
Twenty level we lost a cup final to Cork Con after being 21-3 ahead at half time with second half refereeing
decisions going against us.
What were the highlights of your career?
I had just turned Twenty Three and was offered a trial with Bath along with Conor Burke from the Well. I
turned it down initially but later ended up signing and making my debut against Newcastle on Sky in the
first season of the English premiership, it was fairytale stuff. The competition in Bath for a wing berth was
intense with Simon Geoghan, Ieuan Evans, Jon Sleightholme available, despite this I played in the group
stages of the Heineken cup and was awarded a cup medal in 1998 as Bath beat Brive 19-18 in the final. I
returned to Ireland with Shannon losing to Cork Con in a crunch Ail match with former Well players John
Lacey, John O’ Neill and Connor Burke all with Shannon and Munster at that time 1999/2000. I played many
matches for Munster at this time but didn’t secure a contract.
Who did you enjoy playing with and who was your most difficult opponent?
I enjoyed my time with Sundays Well as Charlie Haly and Sean McCahill were first class players who I learned
a lot from. I found Dublin teams tricky as they retained the ball and ran it back at you. Pat Murray full back
for Shannon was a formidable opponent but I did not play against him much