18 January 2024
We’re up and running. We are now into the 2nd stage of the season with all to play for.
Last week as a first match back for our Men’s 1st XV was Buccaneers away in DuBarry Park. What a welcome start to the New Year.
To provide some context to this fixture – Buccaneers are the only 1st Division club in Connaught so they get access to the academy players and also the majority of players stepping down from Connaught duties and finishing out their career in club rugby. This makes for a tough, canny and highly physical Buccaneers side. They are also physically one of the biggest teams in the division.
It was a freezing, damp and dark day – I can only offer my appreciation to the loyal band of supporters who braved the elements and made the trip. The players had lost the home leg of this encounter just before Christmas and you could see this was on their mind. Our team got into this game with the most focused intent and accuracy from the kick off. We thoroughly dominated Buccaneers and the first half was the best 40 minutes of rugby I have seen from us this season – in fact it was some of the best rugby I have seen full stop!
The pack were aggressive and relentless and Roy Whelan got a well-earned try from huge pressure on the Bucc’s line. We started the 2nd half just as well – Oliver Coffey scoring what will potentially be in the running for try of the season. He caught the Bucc’s defence by surprise, he caught their supporters by surprise and he caught us by surprise. We’re up by 17 points and cruising.
However Bucc’s came back – they were always going to and as we entered full time Bucc’s were 21-20 ahead…heartbreaking. We could hardly watch. The clock was hitting 86 minutes and we were trailing by a point but the one characteristic we should know by now with this side and probably the most important characteristic to have in sport, or indeed life, is the refusal to give up. This side won’t lie down and Thank God for that.
87 mins on the clock and they start moving it, cleverly punching holes and advancing inch by inch. Penalty to Rock but a long way out and Rock continued to play and slowly creep closer to the Buccs line. The pressure they exerted on the opposition was always going to pay off, we just hoped time would allow it – it did.
The ref's hand goes up for another penalty to Rock, this one within range – well, Oliver Coffey’s range. You’d bet your house on this team and this particular guy, but it was the last play of the match, it was dark and misty, and it was for the winning of the game. We shouldn’t have worried – Oli kicked it over, the whistle blew and we had done it.
This was a much needed four points and keeps us in the top four of the table. It allows us welcome St Mary’s to Stradbrook this coming Saturday with a confident attitude. This is a huge match and a tough ask but our guys can go out and play the way they can – if they play true to their strengths and mindset they’ll be a match for Mary's, they’re a match for anyone. The lunch is sold out but I ask all our supporters to come down and support this team in a huge AIL 1B clash…this could be epic.
Also please make your plans for the following Saturday, 27th, around Stradbrook. We have Garryowen at home – these clashes just don’t get any bigger. Book into the lunch now – there’s still space for that one and make yourself heard on the sideline. We’re onto something special here – let’s see it through.
The Women’s J1s also deserve huge praise for hammering Old Belvedere 34-0 on Sunday. It’s so important our progress is consistent across all teams and to be fair the women’s teams have delivered for us time and time again. Well done to all involved.
I’d also like to draw everyone’s attention to the Blackrock Annual Golf Classic. It’s on May 17th – a lovely time of year for a game of golf – and we need to once again make this a huge success. It’s really important that as many people as possible support this and also book in for the dinner that evening in Elm Park. It’ll be great fun. A huge thank you to Ronan Godfrey, Mick Dwan, and Molly Shibley for all their hard work in putting this together and running it. Last year’s success was on the back of their efforts and we plan to make this year better again. I am available to caddy at very reasonable rates…will work for tips.
2 more sleeps till Mary’s at home...magic.
See you out there.
Blackrock College RFC
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