Club News Weekending 8th April 2007
2nd April 2007 By Munster Rugby
Club news, views and reviews from around the province
OLD CRESCENT RFC
Pat Rickard PRO
A quiet week on the playing front last week.
Our only adult team in action were the 3rd XV who hosted Garryowen in the Semi Final replay of the Webb Cup on Saturday afternoon. Playing in summer like conditions both teams resumed where they had left off the previous weekend with no quarter being asked or given. The move of Paul Mc Donagh to out half proved to be a wise move as his excellent kicking out of hand relived pressure on our defence on many occasions during the match. Defences were on top and the side went into the interval tied at 3 points each.
Our side rose their game in the second period with Richard Hickey and Billy Breen prominent in all the exchanges and the hard work was rewarded with a try from Mike Callanan after some good work from backs and forwards. The try was converted by Paul Mc Donagh. Garryowen then pressed hard but a long kick out of defence by Paul Mc Donagh and some confusion in the Garryowen back three resulted in a try for Bernard King which was also converted by Paul Mc Donagh. We further extended our lead with a excellent try from Don Caulfield after some great work from our backs. This gave us a 22 points to 3 lead and with
15 minutes to go were looking comfortable. But giving credit to Garryowen they never gave up and in the closing stages their forwards mauled over on 2 occasions for tries both of which were converted to close the gap to 5 points. but time was not on their side and the final whistle blew shortly after the second try given us the victory and a place in the final against Shannon. The game is fixed for Good Friday at 6.30pm at a venue yet to be decided. Details of the venue will be put up on our website www.oldcrescentrfc.com as soon as it has been finalised.
Our 1st XV conclude their season this Saturday when they host Clonakilty at 2.30pm in Rosbrien in the AIL. It has been another inconsistent season for our side but hopefully we can finish it off with a victory. Saturday also marks the final game for Jonathon Oliver as 1st XV manager. Johnathon has served the club with great distinction in the role of 1st XV manager for many seasons and we wish to thank him for his many years of service.
Our under 20 side is also in action this weekend in the North Munster under 20 Cup. Their opponents are Kilfeacle and the match is fixed for Rosbrien on Easter Monday at 3pm.
On the under age front, our under 12s made the long journey to Malone to participate in their rugby festival and despite not winning any silverware, did themselves and the club proud with their performance.
The under 8s were also in action in a club day against Young Munster, Garryowen and UL Bohs and both out teams put in excellent displays.
Our under 15s also played Young Munster in the under 15 cup and ran out comfortable winners. There is no training this weekend for the under age but the under 12s are hosting St Peters from Wales on Easter Sunday morning at 11am.
The club has recently launched a weekly club newsletter which is distributed via e-mail. If any member wishes to be included in the distribution list please forward your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally this week we wish to offer our sympathies to the Quin family on their recent bereavement.
Paul O’Donovan – Sympathy to the family of Conor Cullen and Deirdre Gimblett on the death of their father.
U.16’s in 1st round of B.Cup. Won 16-12 against Douglas.
U.14’s lost 1st round of A. Cup against Old Christians.
U.12’s did very well in Clonakilty lost Sunday. They won 2 matches and lost 1.
Dungarvan were unable to fulfil match commitment last weekend. Too late to organise a friendly.
2nd team J3 Cup away to Kanturk next weekend.
Trying to get friendly fixture for 1st team.
Probably first team will be playing Sunday week in County Cup, against Mallow.
Next round of O’Sullivan Cup will probably be on end of month, at home against Bantry Bay.
Next round would be away to Newcastle West.
Dates not set for McCarthy Cup. Both teams have two cups each to play for.
UL Bohemian RFC
Denis Ryan PRO
Saturday sees UL Bohs take on Galwegians in the second last game in this year’s AIL. A win should see the club qualify for the play-offs, although with so many teams in contention it is still too early to feel confident. Still with the loyal support behind the squad the club can get there.
The U-20s got past strong opponents-St Mary’s College Dublin-in the quarter finals of the All Ireland Cup, but not without a tremendous struggle. In sunny weather albeit a strong wind in Annacotty, the visitors had the benefit of the elements in the first half and took advantage of the sin binning of the UL Bohs second row to maul over for a try, beautifully converted from the touchline. A penalty added to their score before Myles Riordan put over two fantastic kicks, into a difficult wind, to leave the score 10-6 at the break. On the resumption, UL Bohs had all the play and kept the pressure on the St Mary’s line. However, a litany of frees kept the visitors’ line intact until David Moloney beat the defence with an unstoppable surge to cross between the posts. The conversion left UL Bohs 13-10 ahead, but still the penalties kept falling in favour of the visitors and with the ref playing a curious 12 minutes of added time, the home support could not relax until the final whistle sounded. The UL Bohs management should ascertain from the ref the nature of their transgressions, as the penalty count in the second half was in the region of 20-3 in favour of the visitors, despite UL Bohs having the dominant scrum. Viewing the video later did not make the offences apparent so this is an area that needs to be remedied, or the interpretation clarified if we are to advance further. The semi-final is down for decision on Saturday, immediately after the 1st Division game in Annacotty, with UCC the opposition.
UL Bohs now know their opposition in the Junior Cup final after Garryowen got the better of Young Munster in the semi-final. The game is scheduled for Sunday, but this has to be confirmed.
The U-8 blitz was played at Tom Clifford Park on Sunday. Our first opponents were Garryowen who attacked from the outset and touched down twice early on due to poor tackling. Great tackles finally came from Jake McNamara, Alex O’Donoghue and Charlie Murphy while Peter King made some good breaks before David Power got a great try. This match ended 3-1 to Garryowen who were deserving winners. Next up were our Old Crescent, and in a great game with scores by Niall Loughran, Paul Clancy, David Power and Brian Cunningham we ran out winners 4-2. The last game was against Young Munster where Eoin O’Shea got a well deserved try. He put in sterling defence work in all the games. Others to shine were Shane Morgan, Shane Carmody, and Ciaran Barry. Steven Finn made a brilliant break near the end before UL Bohs won 2 tries to one.
The other U-8 side travelled to Shannon who had two teams which UL Bohs managed to beat. The first team we played against could not handle the UL Bohs tackling and support play which was excellent. We won this game by 10 tries to 4 with terrific performances from Jack Henchy, Daragh Lenihan and Conor Hayes who ran in for 6 of the tries. Muiris Rowsome returned to the team and made some great tackles and hard yards. The second game was more difficult and we just managed to win by 2 tries to 1. The last blitz of the season saw Richmond & St. Mary’s travel to Annacotty. We played Richmond in the first game and went two tries to nil up but they were strong and tough and fought back to be level at half time. Conor Lyons had a stormer and Finn Burke & Sam Burns were their usual brave selves. It was also good to see Conall McAteer finding some of his old form again after injuries. Luke Maher linked well with the attack and played well. However, in the second half we made some silly errors and lost by 4 tries to 3. This was our first defeat of the season in our second last game. However, we won the next game vs St Mary’s by 6 tries to nil. Before this game the coaches identified the lack of support for the ball carrier as a major problem and it was good to see the players responded to the advice and played very well. Welcome also to our new player Niamh who was for her first blitz. Tralee is next on the horizon on 15th April. Anyone needing further details can contact Brendan McAteer at 086-8177240.
Top Performance from Clonakilty
Garryowen 32 Clonakilty 18
First things first. Forget the score line. I had been struggling to find the words to describe this game from a perspective that would not appear biased. Many more able commentators than I did it admirably but it was Charlie Mulqueen who came to my rescue with his astute article in The Irish Examiner last Monday. He summed the game to perfection when he said, "Rarely has a score line offered a more distorted picture of 80 minutes of rugby. Having been the more impressive side for almost the entire game, second division Clonakilty somehow found themselves on the wrong end of a hiding at the hands of Garryowen in the semi-final of the AIB Cup at Dooradoyle on Saturday. Clon rattled the first division side from the kick off and, with the exception of the final five minutes when they conceded two converted tries in a vain attempt to play catch-up, were far more creative and hungry for another big scalp." These sentiments were echoed by gracious and relieved Garryowen officials and supporters and indeed, without exception, all the sportswriters in all the nationals underlining the opinion that Clonakilty is indeed Division One material.
With only minutes to go Clon were trailing by a mere five points, pressing confidently deep in Garryowen territory and looking very capable of getting the try that would level the scores and the chance of a conversion to win. Garryowen cleared that particular danger but immediately Clon took it on again but this time in their own 22. Declan Coppinger broke out and spotted a potential two on one overlap. His long pass intended to put a Clon player away in space was unfortunately intercepted by the desperate and isolated Garryowen player and the game was over. A philosophical Coppinger remarked afterwards that that was the price that can be paid for chasing a game. And indeed he was spot on. It had to be tried if the game was to be won in those final minutes. However there are those who would argue, with justification, that Clon should not have been in that position at that time. Earlier a super move between Alfie Harte and Coppinger at the front of a lineout had Harte going in for a try. The referee however did not agree and although on the blind side of the move called it back for a forward pass. None of the spectators from either camp in line with the move were in agreement but that made no difference and Clon had the mountain to climb.
Garryowen kicked off and Clon won a penalty in their 22. Gary Cribb gave Clon the lineout on the halfway line and good play from Dan Spencer and David Lombard was rewarded with another penalty. Cribb brought the lineout to the 22 and a break from Paul Dillon, supported by Mike O’Hea and Cribb had the Limerick men in trouble. They transgressed again and Cribb opened the scoring with the penalty. Clon failed to deal with the restart and conceded a penalty. A quick tap and the ball was moved quickly and Conor Kilroy, the Light Blues excellent full back, finished the move with a try in the corner eluding several defenders in the process. A magnificent touchline conversion from Munster out-half, Eoghan Hickey, gave a 7 – 3 lead to Garryowen after 8 minutes. The Clon scrum was under pressure but Keohane at 8 was dealing very well with the difficulty. Cribb was clearing the danger and also giving Clon good field positions from penalties.
Some of these penalties were kickable but Clon were playing with confidence. It looked to have been a good tactic when Harte went over but the elation was short lived when the referee disallowed it. Hickey then put Garryowen further ahead with a penalty following the collapse of the Clon scrummage. At 10 – 3 there were fears that the formbook was about to be vindicated but Declan Coppinger lifted the visitors finishing a superb 80-metre move with a try. It started in the Clon 22 from the restart. The ball was transferred through many hands with Derek Dillon prominent before coming to a halt in the home 22. Coppinger, Dan Whelton and O’Hea cleared out and Harte fed Cribb from the ruck who swapped passes with Spencer to make ground. The hard running David Lombard surged from midfield and stepped two players before holding strong in Hickey’s tackle to find Coppinger on his shoulder when needed. The big flanker had the strength to take two defenders and turn in the tackle to ground between the sticks. Cribb’s conversion levelled the scores on 25 minutes.
Garryowen launched a series of attacks but found themselves driven backwards regularly and with no way through the centre the drop goal from the impressive scrum half Gerry Hurley was both intelligent and a compliment to the defence. Clon finished the half strongly with Colin Murphy switching direction cleverly and Cribb taking play back into the light blues 22. Excellent play from Danny Whelton, Coppinger and Lombard created a drop goal opportunity for Cribb but it drifted wide and the half ended with Garryowen 13 – 10 ahead against the run of play.
The second half continued with Clon in the ascendancy and displaying a Barbarian style of rugby in the beautiful conditions. They continued to force the pace and the scrum, which had regained parity, drove the Limerick eight off their own ball. A desperate attempt to play the ball back with the hand was penalised and Cribb brought Clon level again with 20 minutes of the game to play. A great two-handed overhead take from Eoin Scannell who was revelling in the conditions had Clon going forward again. Garryowen were reduced to kicking anything they got in their own half, as they could make no headway with ball in hand. It turned out to be the winning tactic. It gave Garryowen some rare field position and Hurley, probably Garryowen’s best and most effective player, made a searing break. A measure of his ability was the fact that initially it looked to be covered but he made it count and found Hickey in support when the defence eventually caught up with him and the out half finished the job with a try in the corner.
The five point lead did not look enough with 15 minutes remaining as Clon still controlled most of the game but with no choice but to force the game the inevitable happened and the Conan Doyle intercept with Hickey converting put it beyond doubt. It should be noted however that had Coppinger’s pass reached the unmarked player Clon could be celebrating an AIB All Ireland Cup Final appearance. Cruelly, with the game won and lost and in the final minute of injury time, Doyle turned the game on its head, following a neat chip over the defence by Hickey and put the distorted look on the scoreboard with the final score of the game.
It was a division one game with a division one performance from both sides. Exciting, hard and skilful without the slightest hint of foul play it was the perfect advertisement for AIB club rugby. Garryowen coach, Paul Cunningham, was generous in his praise of the West Cork club. He complimented the style of play and accepting that Clonakilty were as good a side as had been in Dooradoyle this season an opinion repeated by many of the club’s officers. Clonakilty’s members in general and the players in particular can be very, very proud. It could have been as easy to have been the winners as the losers in this one. The squad was: Derek Dillon, John O’Donnell, Paul Dillon, David Lombard, Shay O’Donovan, Gary Cribb, Colin Murphy, Joe Knowles, Alfie Harte, Dan Spencer, Dan Whelton, Mike O’Hea, Eoin Scannell (Capt), Declan Coppinger, Mike Keohane, Eddie Knowles, Batt Duggan, John O’Regan, Lenny Harte, Felim O’Neill, and Mike Murphy.
Division One Possibility for Under 20s
The next generation of senior players took another step towards their dream of Division One rugby and the Connacht/Munster division 2 Title. Clonakilty’s Under 20’s recorded a fine win on Saturday over a resilient and talented Kilfeacle side to reach the final of The South Western Conference Division 2 League and now play Thomond in the final on Sunday next. The Clon side, which looked very ordinary at the start of the season, have developed extremely well under the guidance of coaches Allan Rutherford and Brian and Maurice Downey. They are now a cohesive unit playing to their strengths and on Saturday last tries by Pat O’Sullivan, James Deasy, Hugh O’Neill, Michael Peter O’Regan and Killian O’Donovan gave the team a 25 to 12 victory.
The front five in the pack comprising Stephen Lowney, Hugh O’Neill, Pat O’Sullivan, Daniel Collins and Sean Duignan are a determined hardworking group who were aided on Saturday by an excellent back row of Tim O’Regan, Michael Peter O’Regan, Stephen Coomey and later in the game the talented Shane Deane returned from injury to play a major part in the game. The half backs on Saturday, Eric Murphy and Joe Ryan, controlled the game while Conrad Lehane, J D O’Mahony, Killian O’Donovan, Colm Twomey, James Deasy and Paddy Ryan was thorough throughout in defence and attack. The squad on the day also included Cathal Kirby, Patrick Skillicorn, Michael Griffin, Sam Duignan, Sean Young and Owen O’Driscoll.
This Weekend’s Fixtures
Thu 5 Under 14 South Munster Cup Final Fermoy Musgrave Park 5.00
Sat 7 Senior All Ireland League Old Crescent Limerick 2.30
Sun 8 Under 20 South Western Conference Div 2 Final Thomond Musgrave Park 2.30
Mon 9 Under 18 South Munster Under 18 A Plate Final Youghal Highfield 1.30
ST SENANS RFC
Junior Fixtures: Saturday 14th April: O’Carroll Plate Final. St. Senan’s RFC V Cashel RFC in Bruff. 2.30 kick off
Sunday 15th April: Junior Plate Semi-Final. St. Senan’s RFC V Clonmel RFC. Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. 2.30 kick off
Flag Day: St. Senan’s underage will be holding a Flag Day on Thursday 12th and Friday 13th April in the Shannon Town Centre. All support appreciated.
Poker Classic: On Friday May 4th, St. Senan’s RFC are holding a fund raising Poker Classic in the Honk Bar. 9.30 start. Tickets available from committee.
Underage Fixtures: This coming Friday 6th April. St Senan’s U’14’s are playing a Welsh Touring side at 3 pm in Jimmy Slattery Park, Shannon.
Underage Award’s Ceremony: On Sunday 29th April, the Underage Award’s Ceremony will take place in the Alley Diner, Shannon Knight’s Inn.
Summer Camp: This year’s summer camp will be held from Monday 16th July to Friday 21st July in Jimmy Slattery Park, Shannon. Limited Numbers so early booking advisable. Contact Hugh Corcoran at 087 2617370 for further details.
St. Senan’s RFC U 16’s Touring side: On Thursday 29th March, the U’16’s travelled over to Abserworth in Wales and took part in an U 16 tournament. Over 10 teams from all over England competed and St. Senan’s was the only Irish representative in the competition and were narrowly beaten in the Plate final. The U 16’s were in the capable hands of Ger Mc Namara, Padraig Rowe and Rick Mc Coy.
Aidan Clifford PRO
Killorglin Rugby Club travelled to Cork Constitution on Sunday last, in the Semi Final of the Munster Junior 2 League. Killorglin found themselves chasing an early lead in the game, following an unconverted try by Con, Killorglin fought back with first a penalty from the boot of full-back Paul O’Connor, and then a great try form centre Kieran Crowley. The visitors were 8-5 ahead after 21 minutes. However that was as good as it got from Killorglin. They conceded another try and a penalty before half-time, going in 13-8 down at the break, and four unconverted tries in the second half, with the final score at 33-8. Killorglin will be disappointed after being outclassed by a far superior outfit in Cork Constitution , but now look ahead to a Junior 2 Cup Quarter final this weekend. Killorglin play Shandon RFC at home at the Techfield, Langford Street on Good Friday at 5pm. All support would be welcome at the game as the team will be looking to bounce back.
Killorglin team v Cork Constitution:- 1 KJ Daly, 2 JP Kissane, 3 J ‘Twin’ O’Sullivan, 4 C Conway, 5 C Stephens, 6 S Joy, 7 G Birdthistle, 8 B ‘Fox’ O’Sullivan, 9 D Coffey, 10 R Curtayne (c), 11 T West, 12 A O’Reilly, 13 K Crowley, 14 J Riordan, 15 Paul O’Connor
Subs used:- D Flynn for Kissane, V O’Callaghan for Riordan, R Healy for Joy, F Foley for Stephens.
Andrew McNamara PRO
This is getting a little repetitive, but the return journey from Belfast was once again long with plenty of time for reflection after our latest defeat at the hands of Belfast Harlequins. There was some good news on the way home when we heard that the thirds had qualified for the Munster league final and the disappointment subsided further on Sunday when the U/14’s won the league title. They were superb in their win over Garryowen who played their part in a great game. Playing with the wind in the first half, the lads used it to their advantage and scored 20 unanswered points. They started very strongly and dominated the early exchanges. Their reward for that dominance came when Conor Barry squeezed his way over in the corner for a well deserved lead, one which would be maintain throughout the game. Our forwards played a powerful game and took control for the remainder of the first half. Garryowen had no answer for the determination of the lads and facing the elements, went further behind when Brian Danagher, and then Shane Stanley crossed the line to stretch the lead. With Mark Leonard converting one of the tries, and then Conor Barry adding a penalty before the break we had a fairly healthy lead. However, it wasn’t entirely insurmountable given the strength of the wind which ensured the lads would have to alert in the second half. Garryowen put in a valiant effort and certainty tested our defence. For long periods we held firm, but given the pressure Garryowen were exerting the inevitable breech came. Their try gave them glimmer of hope and that was further enhanced when they crossed again, but our first half scores were enough in ensure this sides second league triumph in successive seasons.
Throughout the campaign the U/14’s were highly impressive and So far it has been a fantastic season for this very well coached side. An immense amount of credit must go to the coaches for their enormous input into the success. Hopefully they can go on and win the double. Well done to all involved,
It’s a pity the same jubilation wasn’t evident the previous day in Belfast. The semi final of the AIB cup saw the seniors knocked out by the home side in circumstances that we have unfortunately become accustomed to up there. A tight game with either side capable of winning entering the final stages, but in the end it just wasn’t to be. While defeat is always hard to take, Saturday saw a couple of positives. Another of last season’s U/20 players Ross O’Loughlin played his first game at this level and acquitted himself very well, while two current U/20 players, Eoghan Grace and Eamon Lane were part of the squad which will no doubt prove a valuable experience for them. Also we saw the return of Frankie Roche after a lengthy injury which is most welcome with so many of our panel injured or called elsewhere. The defeat means that our focus is firmly fixed on the AIB league and with two games remaining; our destiny is very much in our own hands. Our penultimate fixture sees us travel to Blackrock for a very difficult assignment. The Stradbrook side may be out of the hunt, but they pose a substantial danger and have the ability to score bonus points for fun. A win will see us in a very strong position to qualify for the playoffs and the mood this week amongst the lads is one of determination.
Saturday also saw the thirds incredible season continue to prosper after they qualified for their fourth final when they beat Ballincollig in the Munster Junior II league. 14-3 was the final score and it was JP Tucker who was our shining light with two tries. Both came in the first half with Tony Hall converting both. It was a little disappointing that the lads didn’t add to that score in the second half, but restricting ones opponents form scoring is quite often good enough. And so it was the case with Ballincollig who managed only a penalty. Fionn O’Dalgague was in top form on the day and contributed handsomely to the victory. Cork Constitution will be the opponents in that final, but before that another final takes place. This Friday evening in Greenfields will see the next piece of the clean sweep jig saw hopefully fall into place, but Old Crescent will pose a serious challenge in the Webb Cup final. Kick off is at 6.30 and support for the lads will be greatly appreciated. One of our star players will unfortunately miss out on both finals after a rather series injury. Tony Hall has been an immense influence on the thirds this season and his loss will be felt. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Other results at underage saw the U/18’s advance in the Cup on Wednesday evening in impressive fashion with a big win over Newcastle West. Last weekend the U/13’s also had a big win in the cup with Thomond on the receiving end of a great team performance. Their next game is on Tuesday evening against Garryowen in Dooradoyle. The U/16’s were also big winners over Old Crescent which is a great morale boast before their tour to France this weekend.
CARRICK ON SUIR RFC
Dermot Keyes PRO
O’Sullivan Cup: Carrick 14 Waterford City 16
In our Third Division meeting earlier this season, we lost to City by a point. In this O’Sullivan Cup fixture, the margin of defeat was but one point greater but produced the same level of frustration among Carrick ranks. While in contention throughout this game, the First XV never really got where they wanted to during a match in which they played the majority of it with 14 men following the red carding of Emmett Lonergan. Carrick never managed to get their noses in front and one imagines if they had that it would have seen then home in another of these games where players and supporters alike are left facing the inevitable question: what if. Tries from Alex Hunter and Aaron O’Sullivan didn’t prove enough to keep us in a cup competition in which we enjoyed an excellent run last season. So when one is left to assess the season as a teacher’s report, the same three words apply to the 2006/07 campaign as they did to last season: must do better.
What’s frustrating is that the capacity to turn narrow defeats into narrow victories would turn a fair to middling season into a very good one is within our collective ability. There have been very few performances during the league and cup campaign which could be filed under abject but there have been more than a few that can be labelled as frustrating. Commitment is a must and such commitment is exemplified by the service that James Heffernan has given to this club for more seasons that he’d probably care to remember. A gentleman off the pitch and a tigerish competitor on it, James is symptomatic of the sort of spirit which a club of our size needs from all of its playing members. He continues to set the standard for other players in the club to aspire to when it comes to answering the call of duty. If we all took a feather out of James Heffernan’s cap, the complexion of Carrick RFC, when it comes to building on performances, achieving results and contending for trophies, would be greatly enhanced. It was also welcome to see Ross Clery feature in action for the first time since recovering from his shoulder injury.
Starting XV: A Hunter, M Kaveckas, S O’Keeffe; E Barry, J Wallace; E Lonergan, J Steele; J Heffernan, J Walsh, A Murray; L Phelan, J Phelan; M Carroll, P Lanigan, J O’Keeffe (c).
Replacements: A O’Sullivan for A Murray, B Phelan for L Phelan and R Clery for M Carroll.
Second XV: a double source of frustration
The rugby season can be quite frustrating from a second player’s perspective, especially those who are only too aware of what level they should be playing at. For a whole variety of reasons, games can be few and far between. For example, let’s look at the way our fixtures have fallen this season:
October 8th, October 15th, October 22nd, November 5th, November 19th, December 10th, January 7th, January 14th, March 12th.
Clearly, from a player’s perspective, there’s nothing like having the games coming thick and fast, and the Tybroughney League fits the bill perfectly in that respect during the October and November period, as five games in seven weeks demonstrates. Successive games builds momentum, confidence and team spirit – it’s what playing sport is all about. But since late November, we have played only four matches, while two other fixtures had to be cancelled during this time frame, the second due to a lack of feedback from contacted players as to whether they’d be available or not. Our club is blessed to possess a diligent and hard working fixtures secretary in Lonan Burke. When he is forced to cancel or concede fixtures, it is a poor reflection on him, the captain of said team and the club as a whole. Now one imagines that players should be chomping at the bit for action. This note taker, who also happens to be the Second XV captain, counts himself as one of them. The major problem that faces the Second XV is the utterly disjointed nature of our season and when weeks pass by without games, it feels as if the season has ended. It is difficult to maintain interest and enthusiasm when one can go seven weeks between matches. There’s little incentive to train as, if the Firsts are playing on a Sunday, the chances are you won’t be featuring. So what can be done to undo this situation which tends to face the club around this time every year? We aren’t Waterpark or Clonmel – we don’t possess the sort of playing base which can cope with major changes in personnel. While the lack of games is undoubtedly frustrating, it doesn’t excuse the inability of players to let the skipper know if they’re available or not. During the past week alone, I sent over 100 text messages trying to pull together a team for a match which eventually had to be conceded. Only one player from the group who had failed to reply to any of the earlier messages felt the need to text back and apologise for initially failing to respond. One appreciates that fellas are busy and have work and family commitments which they must honour. But is it asking too much for anyone who receives a message about a game to reply to the person who passed on the information to them in the first place? If the nature of the Second Team’s fixture list is frustrating, the failure of players to respond to as many as four different texts in the week before a match is equally so.
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