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AIB League: Spotlight On Suttonians

AIB League: Spotlight On Suttonians

It is a record of sorts but quite an unwelcome one. Suttonians have lost their last five AIB League matches and all with losing bonus points. Team captain Joey Walsh wants an improvement ‘across the board’ as they prepare for a must-win clash with Dublin rivals Old Wesley.

Suttonians have slipped down to ninth place in AIB League Division Three having lost their last five matches.

The Dublin 13 club were pushing for promotion before Christmas but their bad run of results has turned things on its head.

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Saturday sees them entertaining a fifth-placed Old Wesley side at the John J McDowell Memorial Grounds, and with Wesley ten points above them, a home win is crucial if the Sutton men want to stay in the hunt for a top four finish.

Commenting on last weekend’s 20-17 loss to Ards, team captain Joey Wash said: “It was a disaster. We stormed off into a 17-3 half-time lead and were in total control.

“Ards scored an intercept try in the early stages of the second half and gathered momentum from that. We failed to get back into our groove and conceded penalty after penalty.

“Ards made it 17-13 and then a well-worked move saw them power over for another try, the conversion, with 20 minutes remaining, left it at 20-17.

“We never really threatened to get back into it, to be honest. With poor discipline, we conceded territorial advantage whenever we worked the ball into their half.

“Ards were good for their victory though. They deserved it after we took the foot off the gas at 17-3.”

With only four games left in the regulation phase, Suttonians have an 11-point gap to make up between themselves and the club currently in the fourth semi-final spot, Midleton.

Admitting that his side are ‘struggling for form’, Walsh is philosophical about their chances of turning things around and making the semi-finals.

“We need to improve across the board. Reaching the semis is a tall order at this stage.

“All we can do is take each game as it comes and do our best to pick up as many points as possible and see where it takes us.”

There have been some cracking games in Division Three this season, with Suttonians involved in some of them.

The division is particularly competitive with 15 points separating the top nine sides as we head into the business end of the season.

Walsh can at least hold onto the notion that most of the top clubs are capable of beating each other and taking the points both home and away.

Reflecting on the season to date, he added: “The positives for us are few and far between, if I’m honest. As a squad we’re very disappointed with our league position and we know we’ve underperformed this season.

“Division Three is a high standard of rugby and a very tough division to get out of. This season everyone has lost at least two games, with the majority losing four or five.

“Old Wesley, our opponents this weekend, have already lost four games out of 11 and they’re still in contention for promotion.

“Every team has a chance of beating each other in this division. There’s no easy games.”

For more information on Suttonians, please visit the club website.