In his fourth diary installment, Suttonians full-back and captain David Walsh discusses how his team coped with the international break and previews their Division Two duel with Dublin University.
"After a four-week break from the AIB League we are really looking forward to Saturday's game against Trinity, the Colours match winners, at home at the John J McDowell Grounds in Sutton (kick-off 2.30pm).
"The break gave us a chance to take a physical and mental breather after what was an intense start to our first AIB League Division Two campaign. I use the term 'break' lightly as the intensity and frequency of training was maintained throughout the four weeks, with the exception of the first few days after our win over Malone (last time out) when we rested up a bit.
"The four-week break also allowed our two Tim Henman fanatics, veteran Anthony 'Roundy' Ronan and his protigi Ciaran 'Squash' Kavanagh to set up 'Henman corner' in the first team's changing room. The two boys are crazy about Tim and are planning to go cheer him on during their end of season break at Wimbledon in June. (Ed: IrishRugby.ie accepts no responsibility for the Suttonians' stalkers!!)
"Our squad training for the past four weeks was as follows:
"Monday, November 6: One-hour training, video review and first four-game debrief - this gave us a chance to reflect on our previous four games and discuss what we were and weren't content with, and more importantly what we needed to tweak in training and in our preparation to help us for the rest of the season.
"Tueday, November 7: One-hour injury assessment review with the physios - this gave the lads with any knocks a chance to find out how best to heal over the coming weeks
"Thursday, November 9: A night off!! No one could believe it!
"Monday, November 13: Conditioning session - Very important to maintain necessary fitness levels as Tuesdays and Thursdays are taken up with skills and tactical-based training.
Tuesday, November 14: AIB League squad training
Thursday, November 16: AIB League squad training
Saturday, November 18: AIB League squad training
Tuesday, November 21: AIB League squad training
Wednesday, November 22: AIB League squad training game
Thursday, November 23: AIB League squad training
Saturday, November 25: Game versus Wanderers
Monday, November 27: Conditioning session
Tuesday, November 28: AIB League squad training
Thursday, November 30: AIB League squad training
"Individual players also did gym sessions on days in between the squad training sessions.
"As you can see the first week after the Malone game was light enough to give players a chance for all knocks to heal. The week after that it was back to full training. We also had a few games during the break to keep match fitness to a level that will be required for this coming Saturday.
...Anthony Ronan - Suttonians' resident 'Henmaniac'...
"Trinity have obviously had a great start to their season especially considering how their squad was reportedly decimated after the completion of last season's campaign. They will obviously be full of confidence coming out to Station Road, after their great win against UCD in the recent Colours match at Donnybrook.
"As with all college sides in the AIB League, you have an idea of what to expect from them as they all tend to play a wide expansive game where they will the run the ball at you from anywhere on the park and usually at a frantic pace. We know we will need to be at our best to get a result.
"The next three weeks will be the most important for us with regards to achieving our goals for the season. Historically it's the time of the season where realistic title contenders come to the fore. These three weeks and maybe the first and second games after Christmas are crucial for all teams vying for success.
I have really enjoyed my role of captaincy so far - it's a great feeling to lead out your team on match days. I've only experienced this once so far at home as our other three league games have been away ones.
"I'm looking forward to it more so this week as we are expecting a large home crowd for the game on Saturday. It's a clichi, and it is one more regularly associated with the professional game but at AIB League level, a big home crowd can be that extra man you need on the day to swing a tight game."