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Diary Of A Club Player: David Walsh (Suttonians)

Diary Of A Club Player: David Walsh (Suttonians)

Suttonians full-back and captain David Walsh assesses his side’s 29-8 defeat at Greystones last Saturday, the season as a whole and looks forward to the Dublin club’s fast-aproaching trip to Poland.

“Our last AIB League Division Two game of the season brought us out to Dr. Hickey Park to take on the already promoted Greystones. A clash which we were very much looking forward to, knowing that most aspects of our game would be tested.

“In front of a large crowd and in the finest weather conditions this season, we competed well for the most part in what was an open game. Playing into a slight breeze in the first half we were unfortunate to be trailing 10-8 at half-time. Some missed opportunities with the boot and with ball in hand cost us in the end. Our effort was not to be faulted as our players gave 100%, determined to finish the season on a high.

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“As the game wore on, Greystones’ ability to come away with points after each visit inside our 22 earned them a 29-8 victory. After watching it over again on DVD it was encouraging to see that we matched them in most aspects of the game, however as we have learned the hard way this season, if we do not convert our opportunities after working hard to get ourselves in position, we will not win games in this division. Congratulations to Greystones and Old Belvedere on their successful seasons as the top sides to gain promotion to the top flight.

“So it is into the off season for us and plenty to work on to build for next season’s campaign. Reflecting on our first Division Two campaign and on the season as a whole, we are understandably disappointed to have finished 13th in the table, having been third at Christmas.

“The final league table does not lie so you have to accept whatever position you finish in, however it can be difficult when we know we have the ability to be better placed. Plenty of lessons were learned both on and off the field as the season progressed.

“As players we now know exactly what is required to be in the top two come this time next year, and as a club we are aware of the required playing numbers to cope with a full league campaign. The key thing now is that we take what we have learned and apply it to next year’s league run. Importantly, the belief and commitment is there and all are looking forward to the coming challenges.

“I got more from my year as captain than I had imagined I would at the beginning. Any budding captains wondering whether they should or should not put themselves forward for the role, my advice would be to go for it. I definitely experienced the highs and lows – winning matches as underdogs and losing matches as favourites. I think, as captain, you are probably most effective when you play well yourself.

It is a great honour to lead your team-mates onto the field every week. I was lucky enough to have had a lot of other leaders on the park with me which made my role a lot easier.

“So that is our domestic season over but we do have one more game to go. On Thursday, April 19 we are flying out to Warsaw to play against a Polish national selection that evening. I did not think I was going to be on this trip – we have a baby due on May 8 – but thanks to my fiancée Rosy for guaranteeing that she won’t go early!!

“This game is an opportunity for a lot of our guys to sample representative rugby and we were delighted when the invite came. Having two guys in the squad who have played over there before means we have some idea of what to expect, but with regards to standards, we are largely heading into the unknown.

“We know that they won their Division Three World Cup Qualifying pool and were knocked out at the following stage. It is a game that we are very keen to win and we are continuing a full training schedule right up to the game. With Polish-Irish economic relations so prevalent at the moment, this tour will hopefully be beneficial for Suttonians RFC. Thanks to the Bloody Stream Seafood Bar/Café for their kind sponsorship of the tour.

“Many thanks to all who were involved with the Suttonians RFC senior squad this season. It was an honour to have been your captain.”