Our opening match against St Mary’s at Templeville Road on 9th October 2011 provided a great opportunity to put into practice our passing and tackle-focused training at Lansdowne Road.
The Big change from U8’s for the players (&coaches!) was the introduction of 3 man scrums and 2 man lineouts, as well as building on existing tackling skills, with each training session including drills specifically focused towards improving player abilities in these crucial areas.
Matches against Wesley and Old Belvedere in November were followed by the wilds of Lakelands where we came across tough opposition from Terenure. Once the shock of the first match & the cold (!) was absorbed, we settled down and displayed great teamwork and excellent individual tries.
Our second game of the season against St Mary’s on 18th December was postponed due to a clash of diary dates between Santa Claus arriving at the club and the game…needless to say Santa prevailed !
The Wicklow invasion was our next competitive on 15th January where our improved tackling provided a strong defense against intense match play from Greystones. The U9’s attacked with purpose, pace and alacrity, recycling the ball quickly, with swift flat passing evident throughout.
With our away match against Navan being cancelled on the 29th January, the players and coaches looked forward to the journey up the M1 Motorway to Dundalk RFC on 12th February. While on occasions, with the weather conditions, it was literally like a full game of ‘Stuck in the Mud’, a post-match vote on preference for the smooth surface of Lansdowne Road and the muck of Louth was surprisingly a resounding yes for the latter!
Post match teas, sandwiches and cakes organized by the Dundalk parents were gratefully appreciated.
Back to the Dublin mountains for our second game against Old Wesley on 26th February, where despite the intensity of some matches, Lansdowne U9’s did themselves proud with some excellent tries and committed team work and attack game.
On April 14th we were invited by Old Belvedere for a half time invitational match during the senior AIL game between Belvedere and Lansdowne. The match was enjoyed by all, with the U9’s coming away with a fantastic win.
This was followed by a return trip to Anglesea Road for the annual (and unfortunately last for U9’s) Belvo Blitz, where the three Lansdowne U9’s teams defended well against the opposition barrage of attacks in their first games. Once they settled down for the second match, the change of fortune was evidence in the sure footedness and side-stepping over for the try.
They were big games for coaches and players alike and Lansdowne were well able to match the intensity & pace, despite the hailstones!
Thanks to all the players and the parents who brave the elements each week to support us and Coaches Colin Mackay, Daniel Berman, Eoin Tonge, JJ Ryan and Ronan Phelan, who like m, think that the next season can’t come soon enough!!
You’re encouragement and support means a lot to both players and coaches. See you in August!
Mel Duignan, Head Coach Lansdowne Under 9’s
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