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President's Note

24 January 2024

Matthew Dwan, Ross Baron, and Odhran Ring Celebrate Their Win on Saturday

Hello Everyone,

Saturday January 20th – a day to remember in the club. Four Blackrock teams go up against St Mary’s – Men's 1st XV, Men’s J1, Minis U12s and U7s. This is club rugby at its best.

Unfortunately, our Men’s J1s suffered a tough defeat against a good St. Mary’s side 12-20. This is a great J1 team, and they will rebound but hard luck in horrible conditions. Hard to play with a late kick off and revelry coming from the bar. Well done to our minis who kept the crowd entertained before the match and at half time – this is their AIL day! So onto the main event – what can I say?

I’m struggling for words – well, sensible ones. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, it did. Taking on St. Mary's, the league leaders and 19 points clear at the top of the table with a bonus point win in every match (bar our encounter prior to Christmas) was a huge challenge. We can dress it up any way we want but this was always going to ask for the performance of the year thus far to get a result and that’s exactly what we got.

I’m not sure how much more we can ask of this group of players. Once again their resilience and their physicality was complimented by an attacking mindset from the start – this was some superb rugby, an extraordinary performance. To score two beautiful tries from attacking play on either side of a pushover (that one was sweet!) suggests a very balanced performance and really smart game management.

6 male rugby players, three is blue and white stripes, three in royal blue tops.
Man of the Match Thomas Clarkson

We gave Man of the Match to Thomas Clarkson, and deservedly so, but it could genuinely have been a collective team award – it’s very hard to differentiate any player's contribution when they were all so committed. You could see late into the second half that they simply weren’t going to crack against a Mary’s side that threw everything at them. This was revenge for the first leg, but more than that – this was a reflection of the confidence and determination of a great team, coached by really smart coaches. James, Stan, and Mick Hearty – you guys deserved this. I thought there was a quiet confidence the morning of the match from the three guys and I admire their calm – I wish I had it…three wise men!

So, we’re back into the Top 3 but even more importantly I think all of us are seeing genuine reasons why we should hope for end of season play-offs. I know I’ll be killed for mentioning it but I can assure all our supporters this is what this group of players are going for. They, rightly, believe that promotion is this season’s goal and anyone who fancies betting against them – I’ll take the other side of that bet and I expect to win. This team deserve not only our support but our belief. Do not bet against this bunch of young men.

And the reward for such a performance – a match up against Garryowen this Saturday! There is no let up. We owe them one – they’re on our patch, I’m looking forward to it. A huge gratitude must go to our supporters for showing up like you did last Saturday. A packed out lunch and a rowdy crowd…what could be better? We need to do it again this Saturday – only better! The team will, so we must also.

Roll on Garryowen – payback runs deep, some could suggest back to ’95 but I’ll settle for payback from pre-Christmas. I can’t wait.

See you out there.


Paul Flavin

President 2023-24

Blackrock College RFC


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