...Suttonians captain and full-back Dave Walsh scores against 'old rivals' Clonakilty...
Suttonians are up to seventh in AIB League Division Two after their recent 23-14 win over Malone. See below for the thoughts of the Dublin club's captain Dave Walsh.
"Friday, October 27 - after a positive week on the training ground, the squad boarded a coach at 2pm to head for Cork in preparation for our third AIB League game of the season against our old rivals Clonakilty. We stayed at the Oriel Hotel, Ballincollig which is about a 40-minute drive from Clon.
"The journey went a little quicker than the one from two weeks earlier down to Midleton as we departed two hours earlier in the hope of avoiding the Bank Holiday traffic. More half days from work for the lads.
"Our half-back pairing of Paddy Maguire (New Zealand) and Kevin O'Dowd (Australia) had to wait for a late flight as they couldn't get away from work in time to make the coach. They were due to board a flight at 10.30pm on Friday night, but on arrival at the airport they were informed that the flight was cancelled, the only alternative was to wait for the 7am train in the morning which certainly made it a long day trip for them!
"Following our similar routine for away games, we arrived at Clon's grounds at 1pm - an hour-and-a-half before kick-off. The warm-up went well and we approached 2.30pm full of confidence. However it was to turn out to be a difficult afternoon for us - from the first whistle we never seemed to get into the game - difficult underfoot conditions and a greasy ball put a stop to our intentions to move the ball wide.
"The home side, who claimed an 18-3 victory, used the conditions well and we could have had no complaints at the final whistle. Importantly for us we learned more valuable lessons from this game and I'm sure we will be the stronger for it.
"A good weekend was had afterwards with a number of our players and travelling supporters deciding to stay in Clon on the Saturday night - Con and Maura's pub in Clonakilty was jammed to the rafters with Clononians and Suttonians going tit for tat again in a sing off led by the Suttonian from Clonaklity Joe Walsh, witnessed by the Mayor of Clonakilty Peter Walsh.
"Sunday was back to business for us as our next match was away again to Malone up in Belfast which has now become a 'must win' game in our eyes. A quick debrief from our first three games saw us with 6 points which is below where we wanted to be at that stage.
"Probably our best week's training to date followed which is great credit to the guys and confirms my belief of the strength and maturity within the squad. With a few of our guys coming back from injury selection was particularly difficult for our management which is a great headache for them to have. When you are training as hard as our squad is at the moment nothing less then our best will ever be enough to completely satisfy us.
"With the new M1 to Belfast cutting journey time to only two hours, it allows us travel up the morning of games, its also increases the travelling support which helps greatly. We met at 10am for breakfast in Sutton before departing by coach. We arrived in Malone an hour-and-a-half before kick-off, and as with all AIB League games to date, preparation was good.
"After this game we were heading into a four-week break due to the Autumn internationals so it was crucial for us to go into it on a positive note.
"We started slowly against Malone but came into the game more as it wore on, and in parts we produced glimpses of the rugby that will get us to where we want to be - we eventually won 23-14. Consistency is key in this division, the team that are top next April will be the team that has produced the best rugby, most consistently.
"We have set ourselves out a busy training schedule for the next four weeks. The break from AIB League action is nice after a month of intense games, but its important that the results, from all of the hard work done up to now, are maintained by doing enough of the right sort of training during the break."