Following on from last season when we completed our inaugural International Tour to London and the Rugby World Cup, we thought last season would be hard to emulate. However, this season we moved to full 15‐a‐side rugby, though we had an advance taste with a friendly against near rivals Malahide at the end of last season.
Training recommenced in September with enthusiasm among our squad of 30 plus players. During the season, our squad increased with a number of new recruits who received a warm welcome from the squad.
While we sadly said ‘au revoir’ to Amos Unkovich, who took a break from coaching, the team was also strengthened with the arrival of John Hanson, Mark Patterson while Ross Campbell also joined and dramatically improved the average age of the coaching staff.
Several coaching courses were also undertaken by during the year, developing and enhancing the coaching skills available.
Our advancement to 15‐a‐side rugby was enthusiastically embraced by the players. Our training was developed to reflect the need to build different skills and techniques. Equally we work to ensure the Team embraced our style of running rugby.
We had a number of friendlies in the early part of the season and then embarked our grading matches for the Leinster Sunday League. This is when the season got really interesting. As the season progressed, training intensified as matters got more serious with Wednesday evening being added to our normal Friday and Sunday sessions.
We were placed in Division B of the U13’s Leinster Sunday League along with Seapoint A, Barnhall A, Boyne, Coolmine A, Balbriggan, Old Belvedere and North Meath.
The Christmas break did not prepare us well for our opening game against Seapoint in early January 2017 and we suffered a defeat in our opening game. However, our true potential was realised after that and we remained undefeated until a defeat against Coolmine in the later stages of the league. We finished the league campaign in third place.
This set up a league semi‐final with an away fixture against Coolmine. In a thrilling match the earlier defeat was reversed with a narrow 21 – 19 win. At the time of writing we are scheduled to play Barnhall A in the League Final in Donnybrook.
Our Cup campaign was an interesting journey. In our opening game, we travelled to Terenure (Division A) and came away with a narrow victory 19‐17. The narrow victory reflected the teams attitude and commitment, which became a theme of the campaign. Our following match was a home game against DLSP (Division C). Another close encounter with a 12– 10 win. Our quarter final was scheduled for early March but owing to weather was rescheduled to the end of March– away to Cill Dara (Division C). This game was a classic cup tie, end to end, with nothing between the two Teams as the score line swung both ways throughout the match. The end was pulsating, with Suttonians trailing by 2 points with only minutes to play. Our team applied relentless pressure and won the game 27 ‐26 with a stunning drop goal in the last minute of the game. This will live in the memory for a long time. The quarter‐final winner is scheduled to play Skerries (Division A) in the semi‐final.
In early April, ably abetted by Gordon’s U14’s, we also hosted Bishop Stortford RFC, who travelled across to us from London. Without the pressure of league or cup rugby, a fantastic match of open, running rugby was played, followed by some traditional Suttonians hospitality in the clubhouse. Much fun was had and it reminded the U13 coaches and management that it may be time to plan our next tour!
The season was a tremendous journey of fun, development and dedication.
The players all progressed in skill but most especially in character, evidenced by our several narrow victories. Thank you to all our dedicated band of supporting Parents and especially Dr. David Madden who always keeps a watchful eye on the players (and coaches!).