Titles in four mixed grades were decided last Saturday at Suttonians RFC, who hosted for the third year running the IRFU Volkswagen Tag All-Ireland Championships 2012.
Teams from IRFU Volkswagen Tag venues in each of the four provinces contested each grade’s respective trophy on a day basking in sunshine, with tunes pumping and the BBQ sizzling for the biggest championships yet.
Starting the day at 11am in a balmy 23C, were B Grade and D (or Beginners) Grade with playoff stages kicking off before 2pm. In the B Grade Cup, Ballyhoura Hawks (from Garryowen FC venue) and The Trophics (from Malone RFC) emerged as winning semi-finalists. Ballyhoura then won the Cup Final by 7 to 3. In the B Plate, Tagging Badgers (St Marys) lost out to Red Card Kings (St Marys) by a golden try winner, 4-3.
The Beginners Grade was also very competitive and eight quarter-finalists were only finalised by the time of the last round’s completion. D Bowl winners were Tag Hard 4.0 from Galway Corinthians RFC, Ireland’s largest tag rugby venue bar none, who faced Dublin Welsh, a team who qualified after playing at Lansdowne FC, a venue in only its first year with IRFU Volkswagen Tag already proving popular. Final score with the ‘Hards’ winning 7-4.
D Plate winners were Suttonians locals. Warrior Robots after their defeat of Temple St Tigers (St Marys) by 5 points to 3. Last but most certainly not least were Tag Me If You Can (St Marys) who beat Stevie’s Wonders, from Old Belvedere venue by 5 points to 0.
Before the final games of these two grades began, grades A and C commenced their own leagues and again, competition was high yet matches were gamefully played. The C Grade delivered winners from three different provinces as home team, Tryrific won the C Bowl over Malone opponents, Le Racing Club de Carrick, 6-3.
C Plate gave us another thriller as Garryowen’s Tagtanium beat Old Belvedere’s Tag Alongs 8-7 for the spoils. The C Cup final saw two teams who overcame tight matches preceding, contest a great final. Winners were Lansdowne’s Titans over Belvo’s World Sports Team, 4-2.
The battle for the Paul Flood Memorial Trophy and IRFU Volkswagen Tag All-Ireland title was a fascinating affair. Following middle rounds, the likely teams for both Cup and Plate competitions settled into what would be their eventual seedings. In the C Plate, Malone’s Wolfpack won a great game vs Suttonians’ Tic Tags 9-6. A superb game to watch. Not to denegrate in any way, it was to be the A Cup final which would show to all that its never over until the whistle finally goes. The incumbent champions, Bircroft Panthers were to play Belfast’s Mengal Taggers. Having already beaten them and also scored a very early female try (worth 3 points), it would seem that the Panthers were on the way to retain the trophies. However, scores evened up forcing the game to go to extra-time with first to score the ‘golden try’ getting the result in front of an excited crowd on the touchlines. An intercept try by Mengal Taggers with 30 seconds to go ensured that the favourites lost out to the side they defeated the previous year. Final score was Bircroft Panthers 6, Mengal Taggers 7. Needless to say, the noise which followed the final whistle matched the excitement of players and spectators. Congrats to Mengal Taggers and commiserations to Bircroft Panthers.
Once again, the season ends in style (bar Clontarf’s own finals night this week, which will be another Fancy Dress Special to remember!) at a great venue with great teams and great spectators at a great club.
We thank Suttonians RFC, McAllister Volkswagen and Volkswagen Ireland, Sunshine 106.8FM, all the volunteers, players, and their supporters for everything that has made this IRFU Tag season grow even further. Special gratitude from all goes to all our fantastic referees and to Stephen Hilditch, Chairman of IRFU Domestic Games Committee, Scott Walker, Director of Rugby Development and the Club Game and to anyone else who has supported us this year.
To view images from the weekend’s events, join our Facebook group (click HERE). A video report will appear on www.irfutag.ie later this week with interviews and footage.