Clontarf shook off the dust from Blackrock on Saturday and won section B of the Leinster League with a disciplined precise performance that asked the visitors plenty of questions that went unanswered. Clontarf scored 2 tries in each half which was comforting after last weeks profligate performance and, just as important, not only held Old B try less, but pretty much kept them out of the home 22 for the duration of the match. This was everything that was required the week before our visit to Cork in the AIL.
The defence is the rock on which performances are built and on Saturday Clontarf gave a blue riband example of communication allied with commitment. On the rare occasion that a tackle was missed the scramble effort was first class and more often than not isolated the offending player from his support. Also, the performance of the defensive lineout was a constant thorn in the opposition side with Ben Reilly and Conor O’Keefe assisted by Adrian Darcy messing Old B’s ball at will.
Going forward it was heartening to see tries scored out wide after the requisite amount of phases had been completed to create the space and Royce Burke Flynn will be awarded the “Hi everyone i’m here “ prize for an outrageous burst of speed from the 10 yard line for a try on his debut.
So a good afternoon of rugby after which we all adjourned to our recently upgraded bar courtesy of Michael Fitzsimons and a cabal of volunteers who, fired up with the frustration of being permanently stuck to the infamous Clontarf carpet or in mortal danger of injury from a bar so battered that it had a habit of collapsing under you if you leaned on it, took up the proverbial baton and organised a sponsored walk which raised funds for the explicit project of bar refurb and upgrade.
And oh god, it’s very clean. I found myself watching my P’s and Q’s because the environs felt so new. I’m sure there will be plenty of discussion about this and that and what should go on the wall and where the bull should be hung. That’s inevitable; we are an old Club, populated by traditionalists who, not surprisingly, are benignly change resistant. Good men whose comfort with the status quo is often defined in their decision whether to change their clothes weekly or monthly.
I have no idea whether the job measures up to any interior design aesthetic. I am simply in awe of the resolve and the effort and I am looking forward to supporting next years walk should it go ahead.