Athlone Touch Rugby took to the field at the AIT all-weather pitch on Saturday last for what was a historic first ever game against Donnybrook.
Despite the numerous yellow/orange weather warnings, the conditions turned out to be surprisingly calm and dry.
Having been in existence for barely two months, this was Athlone’s first chance to test the waters of competition against an experienced Donnybrook outfit. Under the watchful eye of international referee Stephen Troy, it turned out to an exciting encounter between two attack minded teams.
Donnybrook flew out of the blocks into a 2-0 lead before Bobby Pears got over in the corner for Athlone‘s first try. The home side continued to put Donnybrook under pressure before the break but to no avail as the visitors’ defence held firm.
In the second period, Donnybrook showed all their experience and craft to take control of the game. They repeatedly stretched the Athlone defence by using the width of the pitch and scored five more tries. Athlone however hit back with further tries from Bobby Pears again and Bobby Hewitt before the end.
Overall, a very promising first outing for Athlone, who will surely reap the experience of playing against such a seasoned team. Best for the home side were Bobby Pears, whose footwork gave Donnybrook plenty of headaches, while Rory Silke got through a mountain of work in the middle. In defence, Chara Schultz and Kyra Wildy both made a number of crucial touches.
With a number of the Athlone players putting themselves forward for Ireland international squads for the 2018 European Championships, the national team selectors present would have been very impressed with the skills on display.
To find out more about touch rugby and maybe get involved, sign up to train at Buccaneers RFC, Dubarry Park, every Monday and Thursday at 6.30pm. New players are welcome regardless of age or ability.
For more details, see the Athlone Touch Rugby facebook page or contact Denis O’Connor on (085 ) 7742751.