Warriors blitz rugby   09/10/2016

The Dunbrody Warriors, New Ross RFC's inclusive rugby team for people with disabilities, hosted the very first blitz for other inclusive rugby teams of its kind in the South-East on Sunday. Teams travelled from Seapoint RFC (Seagulls), Westmanstown RFC (Taggers) and De La Salle Palmerstown RFC (Eagles) to take part in this fun filled sporting occasion. The blitz was played in a round robin format with each team playing all the other teams on a rotational basis.

The Warriors, coached by Laura Doyle, Nick Murphy and Rory Flynn were clearly well drilled even though they have only been formed for about a year and got off to a good start with early scoring against the Seagulls. However, the Seagulls soon got their travel legs off and improved steadily over the course of th game with both sides swopping scores until the match finished in a deserved draw for both teams.

Warriors second match was against the Taggers from Westmanstown, who were given assistant coaching on the day by some of the New Ross U18 girls. This match was refereed by acclaimed European and Pro 12 referee, Gary Conway, (not so fresh from his outing on Friday night in charge of Connacht v Ulster in the Showgrounds). It took Gary some time to get up to the pace of the game at this level and the large crowd present did not make his job any easier by questioning his ability to recognise a forward pass but he took all the banter in good heart and pronounced himself delighted wih the experience gained afterwards. Warriors, captained by Damien Phelan, gained a narrow victory on this one and set up a rematch in the final game against DLSP Eagles whom they had previously met in early summer.

This match was perhaps the highlight of the whole blitz as the two sides, who are very closely matched, vied to get out on top. Hard work and classy running from both sides ensured that the scoreboard maintained the minimal margin and the sides finished level at full time. The post-match exchanges clearly demonstrated the warm friendships which have developed between these groups of players over a very short period and all teams are to be congratulated on the best sporting behaviours they have embraced. President and chef-in-chief, Micheal Bailey, NRRFC Secretary and sponsor Eddie Mernagh of JCE were particularly thanked by the Warriors who are now in final preperations for their appearance at a Leinster B & I cup match in Donnybrook in 2 weeks time.

The later kick off at Allianz Park featured tjhe first XV v Tullow in a South East league match. This proved to be an extremely tight affair with the nll all half time scoreline belieing the degree of effort and entertainment provided by both sides during 40 minutes of fast hard rugby. Tullow were probably the unluckier not to have scored but some dubious decision making saw them turn down some kickable penalty opportunities in the first period while the Ross players demonstrated an admirable ability to defend high up the pitch and a not inconsiderable willingness to attack from deep when spreading the ball wide.

The second half was fully 17 minutes old before Tullow finally forced a try after multiple phases back and forth inside the home 22. The conversion was unsuccessfull and the Ross side went back on the attack  immediately with some excellent corner kicking from Walsh and superb kick chasing from Harte and Bartek. The unexpected dominance of the Ross scrummage delivered quick ball for the Ros backs who launched attack after attack but all to no avail. At 79 minutes, Tullow got over in the right corner but failed n the conversion attempt to leave the final scoreline at New Ross 0 Tullow 10.  The man of the match award was a difficult call between James Ryan, Bryan Harte and Joe Coughlan with this reporter coming down narrowly for Coughlan on this occasion.

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Morgan Purcell