Skip to main content

What is it about team sports and rugby in this instance, that generates those ties that bind?

Last week, as part of the club’s Throwback Series, where we post clips from the club’s archives, it was a clip from the 1st XVs visit to Temple Hill in February 2013.

It is interesting to observe the impact of posting these clips and especially one such as the above AIL game against Cork Con. There is no doubting the opportunity and enjoyment for the senior players, travelling supporters and the wider rugby community to look back on an impressive win. Victories are a hard-earned affair in Temple Hill and none more so than Lansdowne’s 14-34 win.

In 2013, it was the third successive trip to Cork Con for our now Lansdowne U11s. Lansdowne has a long-standing relationship with Cork Con and our minis squad was unknowingly adding to that long and illustrious rugby tradition.

In 2012, we were the last ever team (of any age group) to officially use the old dressing rooms before they were demolished for redevelopment. Incidentally, when those dressing rooms were originally built, Lansdowne were the invited team to play a challenge match to mark the official opening.

In 2013, we again accompanied the 1st XV on the road. Most of the group had been playing together in Lansdowne since the age of 5 and 6, so we had a pretty competent and tight bunch of rugby players on our hands. The same can be said also for our opponents and Cork Con are noted for the strength of their minis and youths.

As an aside but an important one: Conor Shaw, Luke Healy, Kieran Walsh and Brian Moran, have been the torch bearers for Mini & Youth rugby since I care to remember. When Lansdowne Road was being redeveloped and we decamped to Bird Avenue, it was Conor Shaw who was always in attendance, making sure our academy stayed strong and firm. From Luke to Kieran and now to Brian, we continue to develop a coaching and club structure that is best-in-class.

Of course, let’s not forget the travelling parents – also a tight bunch and why wouldn’t they be. We’d been together also since the boys threw their first pass in Lansdowne, covered many, many miles together and to boot, had developed lifelong friendships.

On the day in question, we were fortunate to be present to witness an incredible Lansdowne performance. Little did we know that two of the Con players would end up playing in the colours of Lansdowne – Scott Deasy and Phil Donnellan, or that Tadgh Beirne would progress to play for his country.

Leinster Premier League Winners 2019

For that crop of U11 players there is a direct link to their progress and progression through the rugby ranks and their participation in away trips like those. I’ve listed the two Lansdowne U11 teams that played Cork Con and this group formed the backbone of the successful U17 team that won the Leinster Premier League in 2019.

Team 1: Ted Corry, William Dineen, Dylan Walsh, Matthew Tonge, John Duffy, George Coman, David Hale, Ben Lockhart, Callum O’Reilly, Mark McGrane, Matthew O’Farrell, Stephen O’Callaghan, Dan Markey.

Team 2: Oscar O’Brien, James Crowley, Sam Hayes, David Walsh, Michael Whelan, Conor Slattery, Barry Whelan, Ben McDowell, Geoffrey Larkin, Ethan Ballard, JJ Hession, John Bennett, David Nagle.

Not forgetting that Mark McMahon, Kieran Mulligan and Derry Shaw, also won the U17 Leinster Premier League with their respective teams and players from those squads progressed to the highly regarded U20s.

The importance of those ties that bind can’t be underestimated. Bonds and friendships are formed and that crop of boys, now young men, now stand on the threshold of Lansdowne’s U20s.

Leave a Reply