The beat goes on as Seapoint make some noise on Leinster’s hallowed turf
The experience trumps the result as 2011s raise the roof in front of record crowd
Saturday 28 January, 2023 @ The RDS
By Jaime McKeown
After weeks of anticipation and sleepless nights (not least amongst the selectors and those chasing outstanding ticket payments), the day was finally upon us when the mighty Seapoint U12s arrived en masse to storm the blue citadel of Leinster Rugby and add a splash of black and green to the RDS colour scheme.
Green was certainly the colour when it came to matchday transport as the squad and their owners ditched the private charter in favour of the more sustainable semi-private last carriage of the 1544 DART from Dun Laoghaire to get the party started.
Upon alighting at Sandymount, some of the lads were lured by the siren smell of stale popcorn and candyfloss, almost instinctively turning left into the now empty void where Funderland recently stood before rolling out of town post-Christmas. But the rugby brains engaged (possibly due to the waft of curry chips) and the lads swung a right into the RDS Arena.
Despite an unscheduled detour into the fan zone, they were successfully corralled into the South Stand to secure prime real estate and hoist the Seapoint flags before Mullingar arrived to lay out their stall.
With the matchday squad receiving their briefing, the supporters quickly applied a variation of the T-U-B drill – what normally would be Them-Us-Ball was adapted for the occasion into Them-Us-Bodhrans as the 2011s’ rhythm section struck up some samba beats to go with their treats (earplugs were optional but certainly advisable).
Like the consummate professionals they are, pre-match formalities, media duties and peepees were executed swiftly and diligently by the lads before settling into the warm-up act/entree of Leinster v Cardiff in a URC match or something – ordinarily a worthy spectacle in itself but we all knew the thousands gathered had come for the main course – Seapoint v Mullingar!
And in a flash, even as the cones were still being laid out on the pitch, the match begun…
And just as quickly, it was over!
Eight tasty minutes or thereabouts of impressive running rugby, damaging line breaks, fearless tackling, probing passes – all executed in rain-induced slippy conditions with style, passion and commitment that belied their age. Had they been watching instead of eating orange segments in the dressing room, the display would have impressed their senior counterparts from Leinster and Cardiff alike. Judging by the oohs, aahs and cheers from the stands, the public were more than getting their money’s worth for the spectacle.
The results in such historic encounters are of course academic but the fact that it was a one-score game demonstrates just how finely balanced and fitting for the occasion this duel was in the end.
A quick lap of honour meant there was sadly no time for the adoring fans to snap selfies or hold out Sharpies in the hope of getting a memento snap or autograph with any of the Seapoint lads but the good news is that they can still be found most Sundays and Wednesdays down Kilbogget way.
All in all a great occasion for the entire squad, coaches and family members who were able to travel or catch glimpses on the telly, especially given restrictions on player and coach numbers pitchside. The travelling support took on the role of “13th player” with aplomb and really helped encourage the lads throughout, especially when some spirits needed a little lift following the final whistle – #Solidarity personified!
So congrats to all who managed to make the journey and play their part, either on the pitch or from the stands, especially Headcoach Mark, Mini Coordinator Dan, Barry “The Ticket Tout”, Damian “The Snapper”, and all who helped herd cats on the day – it was a cracking experience for all as the photos and videos will attest to, even if they only manage to capture a single decibel of the actual noise made on the day – you’ll never silence the Seapoint!
And a selection of stills from the match (the video has far more)