Our first league game of the 2015-2016 season was never going to be easy. More than half of the players who stepped onto
the pitch had only begun training a few months beforehand, some players had known the rules, others had never touched a
rugby ball. A few people outside the club had voiced concerns, others had dismissed our intent as folly, but those who had
been at the training sessions knew that we were up to the challenge.
Warriors kicked off the game so possession was with Stillorgan from the start, but they had no easy route through our
defence as our players put in their first few tackles without fear or trepidation. The first try came within the first 10 minutes
for Stillorgan. Through the first half there were 5 more tries scored by Stillorgan, half of which were converted. A lot of the
game was played behind our own 22 line, reason being in part to our lack of kicking ability/knowledge, and also to the good
quality of play coming from the opposition.
Half-time brought some solid advice from our coach Pat, and some veteran advice from a few of the more experienced
players, and we stepped back into the game with our heads up, consciously ignorant of the scoreline.
However, 10 minutes in, we began to wane as exhaustion and imminent defeat edged on our resolve. With 3 of our men
injured, we were gifted with a Stillorgan player, Rodrigo, who agreed to throw on a Warriors jersey. He commented that he
much preferred the colours and fit.
Stillorgan came through with another try. As the conversion was being lined up, realistic words of encouragement were
dealt out. “We’re not here to win this first game, we’re here to perform to the best that we can, and enjoy a good game of
rugby, whatever the outcome!” The pressure was lifted, the tide of attitude began change and we jogged back to the half-
way line with a fresh resolve. Right from the kick-off the tackles were dealt to Stillorgan, and they had no clear way through
our defence. We managed to obtain possession and we drove our attack forward with renewed vigour. The Warriors attack
was taken down along the left wing just metres short of their try-line, and again the forward motion was halted, then the
ball was shifted to the power-house that is Brian Healy who charged through the Stillorgan defensive line to score a try just
left of the posts! Jubilation ensued. The conversion was miraculously put over the bar by myself Simon Murphy.
The tempo and aggression did not falter until the final whistle, though it was a welcome sound all the same. Hands were
shook, hugs dealt out, and there were smiles all round. You could tell that both sides had enjoyed the game, and there were
only compliments and congratulations given. We cheered off Stillorgan and they did likewise, both teams having given a
quality level of competition and respect on the pitch.
We have plenty of games ahead of us, and we will get better with every game we play as long as we keep our heads up,
keep our hearts in it and our team bond and atmosphere solid. There was plenty of communication and encouraging, there
was no berating, no giving out, only support and camaraderie. We have a great season ahead of us, and our first game was a
very positive step into the league. And I have to say, it was quite the feeling to see that match through with my teammates
beside me on the pitch, a great feeling. As Pat would say ‘Goys, it was totes emosh’.
A big thank you to the supporters on the day and the sideline staff providing water and First Aid, your presence and vocal
support was massively appreciated! And also thank you to the ref who, reading the teams well, kept a safe and enjoyable
game atmosphere throughout the game.
Final score Emerald Warriors 7 : Stillorgan 58
Warriors Team: Brian Healy, Simon Murphy, Marcus Connolly, Gary Lynch, Joel McKeever, Collie McQuillan, Stephen Walsh,
Robert Clancy, Robert Medina, Colin Graham, David McGinley, Michael Menton, Philip Brereton, Conor Noble, Michael
Standen, Ross Loughran, Barry Redmond, Farzan Safavi, guest player: Rodrigo