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Diary Of A Club Player: David Walsh (Suttonians)

Diary Of A Club Player: David Walsh (Suttonians)

After a season of captaining Dublin club Suttonians, David Walsh reflects back on the club’s recent trip to Poland to play a Polish national selection.

“On Thursday, April 19, we flew out to Warsaw to play the Polish national selection as an end-of-season trip. It was 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 had played over there before, we had some idea of what to expect but with regards to standards it was largely heading into the unknown. We knew that they won their Division Three World Cup Qualifying Pool and were knocked out at the following stage.

“It was a game that we were very keen to win and we continued a full training schedule right up to the game.

“After an early 5.30am meet at Dublin Airport, we boarded a three-hour flight to Warsaw, arriving at 12pm local time we went to the hotel for a few hours to catch up on some much-needed rest before the evening’s game.

Suttonians V Polish XV

“After a one-hour bus ride to the grounds we arrived in good spirits as we looked forward to kick-off. A surprisingly large Polish crowd turned out to support the home team which added to the atmosphere.

“We treated the game like any AIB League game and applied identical match warm-up routines to bring some familiarity to what was a different experience.

“The game started at a frantic pace as was anticipated. The power of the Polish pack was obvious from the off. We were anxious not to be outdone at the contact area so we needed our physical players to step up to the plate which they did.

“After the first 20 minutes we found ourselves behind on the scoreboard as we struggled to gain a sufficient amount of time in possession.

“Indiscipline saw us concede penalties to the corner where their pack went over for two pushover scores from resulting lineouts. As the half wore on some of our more tactical play exposed weaknesses in the Polish defence which allowed us get back into the game with a well-taken try by our player-coach John Tainui.

“Half-time came and went and as the second half wore on we came more and more into the game and by the 70-minute mark we were well on top, before we conceded a late consolation to make the final score 27-18 (in our favour).
“After the game we were invited to a post-match reception in a local hotel, which included a lovely meal and plenty of post-match drinks. Our end-of-season party could begin!

“It was a good opportunity to socialise with the Polish players and find out more about rugby in Poland. Speeches were made and Suttonians club memorabilia was swapped with Polish Union plaques and ties.

“The next day was free to see the sights of Warsaw before our early flight back to Dublin on Saturday morning. It was a great trip which allowed us finish off our season with a win and also enjoy an end of season mini-tour. It was very well organised between the Polish Rugby Union and our tour manager Simon Sheahan, so full credit to him and his management team for everything running smoothly.

“Simon is also competing in the upcoming Somerset Triathlon with our forwards coach Daragh Dowling which they are doing for various worthy charities so the SRFC senior squad would like to wish the lads well with the race.”

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