It’s beginning to look a lot like Seapoint as Christmas comes early against St. Mary’s
Strong performances solidify position on Santa’s “NICE” list as selection (boxes) up for grabs
“And lo, a bright star appeared and guided the wise men of Seapoint towards it…”
Turns out it was the white star on the St Mary’s jersey, briefly visible before being taken back down to earth by a series of blue, black and green heat-seeking missiles on a mission to finish the year on a high.
Yes, the Seapoint U11s rocked-up to the midway point of the 2021/22 season and the last matchday of the year, bitten by the Christmas bug and spurned on by Jamie F’s yuletide warcry earlier in the week (the smart money for the Christmas No. 1).
After three and a half months of hard but ultimately character building slog – from wriggling like worms to crawling like bears and all manner of beasts in between with some rugby drills thrown in for good measure – it was time to tie the shoelaces, dewrist the fitbits, roll-up the sleeves and get down to business on a sunny but breezy December morning and on the same turf where a certain J Sexton had plied his trade previously …
First up, Team Blue bounced back from conceding an early try to set down an early marker of their own and set the tone for the morning.
There was a real step-up in commitment and none of the boys were found wanting, all eager to spend time on the ball.
Paddy, Dexter and Amaury had a very strong morning throughout the three games and offered Seapoint a range of options in attack, shifting the patterns from A to B to C with powerful runs but also in defence where Paddy poached, Dexter scrambled and Amaury made an omelette of the opposition with quick hands and effective tackling – eggcellent display and we’re nowhere near the time for Easter puns.
Harry had a great morning at scrumhalf, getting good quick clean service as his teammates worked as hard as a long-bodied pencil (ask the kids) to protect and recycle the ball following attacking runs involving most if not all the team while soaking up the Mary’s defence.
Matthew made some piercing runs, bagging a fine try (or two!) in the process and provided great cover in the backline when Mary’s went wide while Charlie tackled like a demon and had some fine runs to the wings himself, profiting from space created by the engine room of Sam, Tom, Oscar, and the Triple J strike team of Jack, James and Julian especially who kept the forward momentum with every run.
Quick hands, realignment and passing to keep the ball alive will really help this team build on their great individual and collective team skills in 2022.
An all-round superb performance from Team Black with three(ish) wins from three very tough and physical games. Word from the stands was that they certainly soaked up a fair bit of punishment in grinding out some great results amidst possibly their hardest matches to date with some very sore bodies at the end – no quarter given, none asked!
All players were excellent with ball in hand and they broke the offload counter with their silky skills -very Connacht like (according to one Connacht coaching contributor). Ciaran and Matthew G had great combinations in mid-field while Hugh, Dylan H, James M, Jamie F and Daniel K all put in very brave performances and showed some great skill in attack.
Some standout displays deserve credit as follows:
Dylan O’M had a man of the match performance having been voted captain by his team mates and deservedly so. Was involved in everything, tackling, scoring tries and even coaching for a while!
James C was a tactical genius at outhalf all day. Varied the play, kicked sometimes, brilliant runs at other times but always kept Mary’s guessing.
Sean C showed brilliant skills in attack and had his best tackling performance. Literally put his body on the line for his teammates.
Rory brushed off some bad knocks to have his best tackling performance to date and showed great footwork in attack to score some long range tries.
Sam B was a late addition but made an immediate impact with his great tackling and running spurring his team on to victory.
Well done all!
Team Green – Team of the Week
All teams put their hands up for this accolade but there can only be one winner (unless it’s a draw or no teams show-up I guess) so having roamed the fields all morning, Headcoach Mark anointed Team Green as deserving recipients for Team of the Week. And here’s how it came to pass:
Tom Q – made some crucial tackles, passed brilliantly getting the line moving, also ran into space, made and took some big hits. Nice kick offs too!
Ross – super tackles put in all morning(see below), ran hard, poached and scored some great tries.
Luca – fantastic running with ball in hand, side stepped and found space, had electric energy and scored a great try from a penalty in the last game #BornWinger and #ThanksForTheRoses !
Alessandro – made a great and important tackle. Also ran straight lines with the ball. Best performance to date – well done!
Alphonso – another super day on the rugby pitch for Alphonso. Every time he got the ball he looked like scoring – pace to burn and a trail of smoke in his wake!
Bobby – some super bursts and tackles. Led pack very well and scored a great try.
Matthew McL- played with passion and heart. More tackles put in than seen before. Some important bridging that set up some of the teams tries.
Eoghan – excellent game, tackled hard, ran well, poached and offloaded. Super performance.
Oscar U – did a great job in the backs and in the forwards when asked. Lovely running and passing.
Dylan H – some big tackles and great support play. Took some big hits. Super work.
Luke – all round excellent performance. You name it, Luke did it with class – tackling, passing, poaching, running and helping the team get the tries needed – well done Luke.
Great shift all and congratulations on a fine performance!
Across the teams, some further special mentions on the day for:
• Sam B – Expensive Chocolate of the Week Award having played for Green & Black (get it?) and made two perfect tackles in the 1st minute of the black game, making a real difference and announcing his arrival much to Mary’s dismay.
• Sam McA – Walking Wounded Of the Week (WWOW) Award who brushed off each knock (of which there were several) to get back in and never missed a beat, catching everything that was thrown at him (potentially a kitchen-sink in there too)
• Ross O’Donnell – Tackle of the Week Award for a classic example of a “never give up” tackle in the dying moments of the final game, an effort which Peter O’Mahony himself emulated later that afternoon having seen the video analysis: https://twitter.com/murray_kinsella/status/1470150632388583426?s=24 (although on balance Ross’s was better)
From a perfectly biased standpoint, all the coaches are really impressed with how the boys are developing, growing more confident individually and supporting each other as a team. The chat back levels to the referees were also barely registering on the RefChatback monitors so really proud to see that behaviour change too (hopefully it’s reflected at home also – Santa’s watching and those elves on shelves are note-taking!).
And while Santa himself was busy fending off hordes of minis back at the clubhouse, a special word of thanks to his little helpers who organised the selection boxes for all the kids as a post-match, pre-Christmas treat – hope the sugar rush wasn’t followed by too harsh a crash.
So, halfway there in the season and plenty to be proud of and reflect upon as we edge closer to the Christmas break. It was a tense but exciting morning’s rugby for all involved but thoroughly enjoyable and the smiles on the faces and mud on the jerseys neatly summed up the reasons why we all do it.
And sure isn’t that what Christmas rugby is all about?
1-2-3- take it away Jamie!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJYndJnPXDg