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TMO2: Meat Packers

TMO2: Meat Packers

Two blogs in two weeks from the TMO? He must have the rugby bug for real.

The Meat Packers

I’m off to New York this week. No doubt I will be dragged around the various shopping districts, outlet malls and discount stores. In New York the meat packing district is now synonymous with avant garde fashion (although this changes so fast that it will probably be retro chic by the time I finish this blog).

In Leixlip the meat packing district is now synonymous with Barnhall Rugby Club. A tenuous link I know but a nice symmetry all the same.

Founded in 1969 by staff from the Irish Meat Packers factory, the club’s most famous son is of course Trevor Brennan, but a club is about more than one person or one player. In New Zealand every club that can boast an All Black is justifiably proud of that and so too Barnhall of  Brennan, but it is very evident in the clubhouse and in the people watching the game that this is a young club.

There are the usual older heads around the place but I was delighted by the number of people in the under 30 age bracket that were around the club last Saturday when Wanderers came calling.

Barnhall has always been a strong club at youth level and that policy is evident in the pennants on the walls of the club house and the people that have come up through the ranks and are still about. The next generation is evident too, in the 5 to 10 year olds running about, kicking a ball, asking Dad for a burger and generally enjoying a Saturday afternoon out and about. My old coal man used to be involved in the club and all his kids were involved. I used to get updates with our smokeless coal. I have never been a member but I have an affinity for the club.

The match wasn’t half bad. A tight game, not short on endeavour. Wanderers enjoyed a lot of possession and territory but could not break down a dogged Barnhall defence. I was also interested in the “League of Nations” team sheets of both sides. A French scrum half, a Dutch name, a handful of Pacific Islanders. I know Clontarf have signed a Polish international and it is only a matter of time before the changing face of our population manifests itself on our rugby pitches – I hope.

One thing I noticed, as we watched the Barnahll outhalf run half the pitch for an intercept try, is how similar the patterns were to the game I watched the night before in the RDS (Leinster V Connacht). Two very flat backlines, throwing very flat, near forward, passes. I don’t have the stats to back it up but we seem to be seeing more intercepts.

Like Connacht, Barnhall also enjoyed some great turnover ball, unlike Leinster, Wanderers were unable to wear their opposition down.

Two live games in one weekend was a treat – I must have built up and now spent a fair few brownie points on the home front to have got along.

Now all I have to do is figure out how I can watch the Heineken Cup in New York next weekend…….