Old boys v SCT Rugby

Yesterday, a new tradition was born into Glenstal Abbey School. The “Old Boys vs SCT” rugby match took place in Wanderers Rugby Club in Dublin where the two teams clashed no prize other than glory. Rossa Dooley (School Captain from 2012-2013) organised the charity match for “Childline” to help raise money and awareness for the “100minds” program. It was a brilliant way to reconnect with the old boys and to have a day out of school filled with fun and good humour.

Our team was primarily made up of 5th years, and 1 loyal 6th year, who considered this event more important than studying for his upcoming Irish Oral examination. As numbers were low, the Senior Cup team was supplemented a few old boys, who were underage and were technically eligible to play for us. I’m sure Colm Hogan (2015), Tim Costigan (2015) and Alex Donohue (2015) were filled with great pride in wearing red and grey for one last time. On the bus ride up to Dublin, we relished at the thought of tackling our previous prefects and other past students who had put us through moments of joy and suffering in equal measure over the years.

After finishing the warm up pitchside, we huddled in a group around our trusted rugby coaches, Sean Skehan and Simon Malone. As captain, I presumed the match was going to be a pushover, so I didn’t bother with an inspirational speech. I was in for a rude awakening. The game was refereed by Dermot Blake (1999) a former Glenstal pupil and housemaster, who refereed the Leinster Senior Cup final  and some games in the the “Pro 12” competition too.

The referee instructed Mark Coghlan (2003) (The opposing captain) to “Pick a number between 1 and 500”. “286”, Mark replied. “Spot on”, he sarcastically chuckled as he handed Mark the ball. The game was always going to be biased but it was all in good heart, so no one seemed to mind. If I were to sum up the afternoon in a few words, the following would be fitting:  Physical, bruising but entertaining. The SCT team wasn’t in the best state of fitness, but after having been knocked out of the Senior cup almost 2 months ago we were eager for a game of rugby.  However, the “Old Boys”, who in fact, weren’t very old at all, surprised us all at their levels of fitness. They exceeded all expectations, running us off the pitch at some stages and managing to score first. Matthew Coghlan (1995) even had his children cheering for him on the sideline but besides that, all the other players on the Old Boys team had either graduated or were graduating from college. It was galling to see Alban Coghlan (2001) another old boy and former housemaster score the winning try in this tight game. The game lead with ferocious hits from both sides, with scrappy play, skewed kicks and forward passes. The “Barbarian Style” match was filled with tries from both teams and as the game progressed, it was easy to identify the smokers. They belted out frequent coughs and partook in a rolling substitution game plan, whereby each player had to play only for a short while. One of the funniest moments of the match happened when Luke Fitzgerald caught an intercept pass and ran the whole length of the field, only to have an old boy run from the substitute box and chase him down to prevent the try. Although he managed to score, our efforts were in vain as we had lost the match 39-30.

In conclusion, I thought it was an excellent day loaded with with good humour and sportsmanship, delicious food and an enjoyable game of rugby. It was for a good cause and I was glad that I had the opportunity to participate this year. I hope that this new tradition continues in the future as it was nice to see familiar faces again, even if those faces wanted to hurt you!

Thanade McCoole (5th Year)