Rory Litchfield shows his instinct for the whitewash
It’s been a mixed start to the season for the Suttonians’ Women. The early kick-off to the league campaign has caused some difficulty and the numbers in the women ranks have been particularly tight which led to the postponement of the opening league fixture. The second fixture saw a squad low on numbers make the long journey to Cork, to face Ballincollig and to everyone’s great relief they came back with a win, no mean achievement winning away at any time, but particularly at a time when player numbers have been an issue.
The following Thursday they faced perennial champions Railway Union in Sutton and gave an excellent account despite the loss. RU have been the standard bearers in the Women’s All Ireland League for some years now and the game was in the melting pot early in the second half before the visitors’ bench which included a number of current and former internationals took the game beyond the Sutton women.
Grainne Tummon, Roisin O’Driscoll and Mary Healy were to the fore in the forwards and taking the game to RU and Carey Brown, proving a constant thorn in the Sutton ranks at centre. Next up they face UL Bohemians in Sutton at 1pm this coming Saturday.
After a disappointing start to the Leinster League Division 1A, Suttonians’ Men chalked up an excellent win over Gorey and with it put paid to early season jitters which had included losses to both Seapoint and Tullow – the latter, complete with former Ireland and Lions’ star Sean O’Brien as their player coach.
Of course, early form has been hampered by missing key players and in the case of Tullow, the game was well out of sight before a second half hat-trick from James Buckeridge, each one assisted by Matthew Linehan saw the home side at least pick up a bonus point for scoring 4 tries. That however was the highlight of a somewhat disjointed performance that left the home players and supporters alike frustrated and anxious for the weeks ahead.
Things did not get any better the following week when Suttonians travelled to Seapoint and were well beaten in what was a poor day at the office all round. Thankfully things have greatly improved and the arrival of Gorey to Station Road saw Darragh and Joe Kelly restored to the centre, veteran Dave Traynor was back to pull the strings from out-half and player-coach, Peter Synnott returned to great effect after a long lay-off due to injury.
The back three of Jack Gallagher, Matt Byrne and James Buckeridge were in excellent form, dealing with everything that came their way and were always a threat with ball in hand. New signing Dean Moore brought great experience and quality to the second row, while his younger partner, Ben Foy had one of his best games in a Sutton jersey.
The back row of Matthew Linehan, stand-in captain Rory Litchfield and Harry Chase were omnipresent, while Daniel Flood continues to grow into his position in the front row, despite his tender years. 35-8 at the final whistle was a just reward for the efforts and the league campaign is now firmly up and running.
Meanwhile the 2ndXV have also had an inconsistent start to the season. Despite having over 20 players ready to go and togged out on the first week, the opposition (Tullow) failed to show, so a walkover was achieved. Good playing numbers again the following week for the trip to Seapoint saw an excellent win on the road in a place where visiting opposition rarely prevail.
Experienced Andrew Ussher led the way up front while Tadgh Cleary and captain Tom Kane ran the show from midfield and the returning Scott Meaney impressed on the wing. A bonus point victory was achieved with no little aplomb. Saturday past, saw the visit of Gorey and readers may recall the dreadful weather while this match was played.
Gorey ran out winners in truly atrocious conditions that quite frankly was only suitable for ducks! Great effort all round by Suttons’ 2nds, with Louis Gallagher in shining form from full back and veterans Kevin Campbell and Mark Amerlynck sticking to the task up front.
Oscar Reilly returned from long term injury and brought some nous to the pack and Fergal Dodds, son of former Suttonians’ Kiwi coach, Stephen, made his debut for the club 27 years after his father had led the club to the highs of the All-Ireland League – no doubt Fergal will seek to emulate his father and return Suttonians’ to winning ways in the weeks ahead.
Suttonians’ Men take a break from the fray before a tussle with league leaders Monkstown, which is set for October 21st, in Sydney Parade.
However, the season is up and running, the club remains busy at underage level and is open to all for the RWC in comfortable and relaxed surroundings.
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