Club membership for Season 2023-24 is open. Thanks to all our members who have already paid their membership.
Membership can be paid through our club payment system on Clubforce through the following link – https://balbrigganrfc.clubforce.com/products/membership
Balbriggan mens team went on thier annual trip to Bilbao last weekend.
A great weekend was had in the lovely Spanish sunshine.
Balbriggan would like to thank Gernika Rugby Club for a great match and amazing hospitality, and we hope to see them again soon.
Balbriggan Senior Ladies team kicked off their Leinster league campaign with a narrow defeat on the road against Wicklow.
In conditions so wet the local animals were seen walking around 2 by 2, both teams put on a fantastic display of rugby.
After some early home pressure Balbriggan dominated the first half and got their reward when debutante centre Rachel Fanning forced her way for a thoroughly deserved try. Laura McDonald’s conversion gave us a 0-7 lead at the break.
Wicklow’s greater squad size told in the second half when, despite a Herculean defensive effort by Balbriggan, they were able to cross for 2 tries to seal the victory. Final score: Wicklow 12 Balbriggan 7.
A great performance from all 14 ladies who traveled with Rachel deservedly voted player of the match for her excellent performance on both sides of the ball. A special mention also to our other debutantes Lou McCleery playing in the unfamiliar position of out half and Tilly Meade playing her first ever game of rugby.
Next up for the ladies is a home game against UCD, next Sunday. All support is very welcome.
The Stingers stepped straight into their new season with a Blitz in Barnhall. Big shout out to Barnhall for organising such a great day and the first summer day since June! The Stingers were joined by four players from the Edenderry Sharks who had travelled light and were very happy to be able to get some game time. Their first match was against Seapoint Dragons and this was a very close encounter with Balbriggan only scraping home 4-3 in a very enjoyable game. Speed merchants James RB and Ashwin were everywhere, you would think it was their first day out after a long lock up. James used his turn of speed and jinky running to be the difference between the teams. Their second match was a different affair when they were up against the Barnhall Youths U16 side. The youths underestimated the agility of the Stingers and their quick tagging. The Stingers also had a secret weapon in the match from Edenderry, Tara McDermott, who scored a hat trick. Tim and Ashwin were also scorers as the Stingers ran out 6-2 winners. Their third game was against old friends DLSP. Their Coach Dave has a rule that no one is allowed score against them but the Stingers obviously weren’t listening, with James O’C getting in on the scoring this time. Arch poacher Philip was also on hand to get on the score sheet. In the final tally the Stingers had edged ahead. New Captain Andy had a quiet afternoon and spent time directing his team while vice Captain David was hoarse shouting instructions. The last match saw them up against Portadown. Stephen used his contacts to sign up Leinster and Irish star, Will Connors, for the Stingers. Though it seemed to backfire against them as it was hard to tell who was offside more Philip or Will, neither of them having a clue where the back foot was!! Whist it was only tag Philip managed to develop a ruck and Will couldn’t resist putting his hands in. Penalty Portadown, a substitution was quickly made. While Stephen and Tim got across the line, Portadown snuck the match 4-3.
It was a great day’s fun in the sun.. The team were very happy with their performance and a big tank you to coaches Kevin, Adrienne and Caroline for all their work with the team on the day. Also, thanks to Bob for coming out of retirement and reffing three of the Balbriggan games.
Notice is hereby given of the upcoming Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) of Balbriggan RFC. The AGM will be held in the Clubhouse of Balbriggan RFC on Thursday 22nd June 2023 at 8pm.
As per Article 10 of the Constitution of Balbriggan RFC “Voting Members” entitled to attend and vote at the AGM are those members who have paid their membership in full by 1st November 2022. The Constitution of Balbriggan RFC can be accessed on the club website: http://balbrigganrfc.com/
Nominations to the Executive Committee should be received by the Honorary Secretary no later than 8pm on Wednesday 14th June 2023.
If you intend to be at the AGM, please reply to me by email on email@example.com.
Balbriggan 12 Newbridge 17
It wasn’t to be but a valiant display by Balbriggan saw them come up just short. There will be a few what might haves but they did themselves proud on the day. A big thanks to the travelling support from the Club
Balbriggan kicked off and Newbridge returned with a kick deep into the Balbriggan half which was fielded by Andrew Brown. He evaded the first tackle and made a great run up the touch line, he kicked ahead and forced Newbridge to concede a line out on the 22. Unfortunately, Balbriggan messed the lineout and allowed Newbridge to clear but it was only to Andrew again and he ran the ball straight back at them. Newbridge conceded two penalties in quick succession and Balbriggan were able to maul the ball over for the first score.
Soon after the kick-off Mark Fay was penalised at a ruck and allowed Newbridge get back into the Balbriggan half, they then won a further penalty which they decided to kick to reduce the score to 3-5. Balbriggan looked better when they started to run the ball, Andrew Browne was always open to attack and a good attack was stopped when the referee determined that Balbriggan had gone off their feet at the tackle. On twenty minutes Cal O’Connor was nearly away when he intercepted the ball but a last gasp tackle put him into touch. The Newbridge No 8 who was their go-to player made a break but was downed by Graham O’Reilly but again Balbriggan were penalised at the ruck. Newbridge kicked to the 5 metre line. Conor Caldwell stopped the advance on the goal line but was deemed offside and perhaps a little fortunate not to see yellow. Newbridge kicked to touch but then made the cardinal error of a crooked throw. Balbriggan won the scrum and Mike Walls made a good clearance kick. Newbridge ran this back and what they would call in the professional game a system error in the centre let Newbridge in under the posts and allowed them to take the lead 10-5. , though Balbriggan attempted a kick from the ten metre line and whilst in had the distance it stayed out to the left. A further attack saw Tomas Murphy make a good run but his pass was knocked on by Rian Kavanagh. It was these little errors that were expensive for the Balbriggan side. Overall Newbridge were having the better of the game in the second quarter but the Balbriggan defence was resolute and halftime came with no further scores.
Brian Mollahan replaced Rian Kavanagh at half time. Newbridge kicked off and Ian Murphy returned the ball to the half way line. Another good Balbriggan break by Mark Fay was halted when Balbriggan were penalized coming in from the side. Balbriggan then got a good break with Graham Reilly and Andrew Brown making great ground up the left hand side. Balbriggan got to the five metre line but Andrew Brown was injured and Rian Kavanagh returned to the field. Balbriggan now spent the next 10 minutes close to eh Newbridge line but got nothing despite all the pressure piled on. A series of penalties must have had Balbriggan near a penalty try. The crowd thought it was coming when Newbridge got a yellow for pulling a ruck down but Balbriggan only got another penalty, the ball was spilled forward and the siege was lifted. Balbriggan just seemed to be their own worst enemies with a number of silly errors. This allowed Newbridge back up the field but great Balbriggan defence kept them out and repelled them to nearer the halfway line where they were awarded a penalty. Balbriggan were discussing their tactics as the kick was taken and the only player alert was jack Scannell for when the ball came back off the post but he was no match for the Newbridge number 8 who crashed over to score. So having been knocking on the door for the previous 10 minutes they now ended up 12 points behind.
Balbriggan took a couple of quick penalties but they were too hurried and no real progress was made. Cal O’Connor tried his best to find a gap to no avail. Conor Caldwell and Fiachra Tuckey had expended all their energy and were replaced by Jonny Davis and Andrew Miller. Conor Colman replaced Rian Kavanagh. Miller’s bulk made an immediate difference and perhaps he should have been introduced earlier to act as a third line of attack with Caldwell and O’Reilly. Eventually Brian Mollahan made the breakthrough and powered his way through a gap and scored at the posts. Scannell added the extras but time was against Balbriggan and a further knock-on allowed possession back to Newbridge who after one false attempt when they put the ball out but the match wasn’t over got it away with the next kick.
T Murphy, A Brown (B Mollahan), C O’Connor, R Kavanagh (C Colman), J Scannell, I Murphy, M Wall, A O’Connor, G Reynolds, C O’Donoghue (R Mooney), G O’Reilly, D Sweeney , M Fay, F Tuckey (J Davis), C Caldwell (A Miller)
As manager Cathal Myles said after “It was not our day but the learnings will make us a better side next year”.
A big thank you to Manager, Cathal, Coaches Mike Wall and Graham Reynolds, Skipper Ian Murphy and all who featured in the season. We may not have gone up but it was a joy to watch the team for the season. It was also great to see members of the youths making their break through. We have beaten all the other teams in the league, Portlaoise and North Meath will be joining us next season so we know what needs to be done. If we can maintain this years team and continue to integrate more youths coming through all augurs well. Getting a competitive second team out there will also be a good marker for the future. Roll on the new season but in between the players deserve a good break.
Garda 32 Balbriggan 22
An exciting, all action game of rugby at Westmanstown saw Garda come out on top. Garda attacked from the kick-off and Adam O’Connor was tackled into touch, from the line-out the large Garda second row came straight through the middle of the line and was only taken down short of the line by a brave tackle from Andrew Browne. Garda recycled a couple of times before their openside flanker crashed over in the corner for the opening score with less than five minutes gone. Garda attacked back straight from the kick off and Mark Fay, despite his valiant efforts to get out of the way, was penalized for not rolling away and Balbriggan were 8-0 down. Garda weren’t done as the siege continued and this time despite some heroic tackling on the line Garda managed to keep their hands on the ball and then they were 15-0 up. Balbriggan appeared to be in a bit of a haze but slowly they started to come around and Tomas Murphy in particular made some good runs out of defence. From one of these runs Balbriggan got into the Garda 22 and whilst they lost the line out managed to get the ball back and a good move across the line saw Rian Kavanagh get in and Scannell added the points. Garda then lost their flanker for 10 minutes after a deliberate knock-on. Garda didn’t really appear to miss the man as Balbriggan battled on. Mark Fay made great ground and managed to get the ball back after being tackled only for Balbriggan to be penalized for sealing off a the ruck. The penalty didn’t find touch and Scannell counter-attacked and after the next ruck it was flashed across the line. Cal O’Connor took on a couple of defenders before letting the ball out to Browne who scored in the corner. The half ended with Balbriggan training 17-10.
Garda came out all fired up for the second half and in the first scrum blasted Balbriggan backwards and then fed the ball for their winger to score those important first points of he half. A mix up in the Garda line saw Mark Fay claim the kick off and burst his way into the home team’s 22. The ball was fed across the line and from a distance it looked as if Scannell was over the line but was held up just short. Balbriggan got a scrum and won a penalty from it. Conor Caldwell looked to go quickly but was held up on the line, Balbriggan knocked on and the pressure was relieved. Garda then had another yellow card for a second deliberate knock-on. Murphy started another move and some great running from Cal O’Connor and Browne saw good ground made before knocking on a the ruck. Balbriggan continued to pressure but were not able to break the Garda defence so at the next penalty they took the three points. Calamity struck when on the next Garda attack they seemed to suck all the Balbriggan players in to a ruck to give their winger the easiest of scoring opportunities.
Conor Caldwell was then pinged for encroaching into the 10 metre zone at a line out. A great kick had Garda with a lineout 5 metres from the line and they duly added another try. Balbriggan did hit back with a good break by Brian Mollahan which Scannell converted to bring the score to 32-22. With time running out Balbriggan knew they needed at least a penalty to ensure there place in the playoffs however it was not to be. Thankfully Champions Edenderry squeezed home 17-7 against Roscrea to leave balbriggan in second place and a playoff against Newbridge.
The Balbriggan side will be disappointed with their display, they appeared a little lethargic and too many plays broke down. To stand a chance in the playoff they will have to up their game to the level they had against Roscrea in their previous match. Reilly and Caldwell did a lot of damage in mid field but Balbriggan struggled to progress from it. Graham Reynolds had a good game and made a lot of tackles and overall the scrum held up well and apart from a couple had the upper hand. Adam O’Connor was in better from than the last match and younger brother Cal had probably his best game of the season. Tomas Murphy also had another good game. Man of the match though was Mark Fay who never stopped going both in attack and defence for the whole match.
Some work to do but Coach Walls will be confident that his squad can give it one last big effort.
The Leinster League Play-Off takes place at Coolmine RFC this Sunday, KO 3pm.
Balbriggan 38 Roscrea 22
Well, it was worth waiting for! At last Balbriggan put on a display like they have been promising all season and on Sunday it came together for much of the time. There will be some reviews of the tries conceded but overall great satisfaction can be taken from the tries scored. The win puts Balbriggan in the driving seat for the play-off spot. At worst 2 points in two weeks time against Garda would secure it. Roscrea through their 4 try bonus point are still only 4 points behind so can still catch us. Edenderry have already won the league but hopefully will want to win their final home game. If we were to finish level they would have a better record against us!
Balbriggan had made a couple of tweaks to the team following the Portarlington debacle. Andrew Brown came in at full-back. Jack Scannell was restored to the wing with Rian Kavanagh going to nine and the backs all moving out one. The combination of Walls at out half, Murphy at 12 and O’Connor at 13 gave the backs a much better look. In the pack Conor Caldwell came in at 8.
Balbriggan won a penalty just after the kick-off and from the kick were able to secure good field position in the Roscrea half. The ball was run across the line and it was Brian Mollahan who made the decisive break and then off-loaded well to Jack Scannell who had trailed across and finished the job. Jack then added the two points.
Roscrea were certainly not here to make up the numbers and went all out to prove that they were worthy of second place. Mike Walls was, yet again, charged down and this put Balbriggan under pressure, only a great tackle by Mollahan saved them from conceding. The relief was only momentary as the Roscrea out-half noted that the Balbriggan defence was very narrow and sent a lovely cross kick which looked as it had beaten their winger but he somehow managed to gather and score in the corner. The conversion was missed. However, it was not long until Roscrea added a second try under the posts when they intercepted a Balbriggan move and their centre went the length of the pitch to leave it set up for an easy conversion.
Minutes later it was balbriggan’s turn for the intercept when Brain Mollahan got his hands on the ball and sent Cal O’Connor away. 15 Minutes gone and the score was tied at 12 all. Roscrea were next to score when they broke through some weak defensive play by Balbriggan.
Balbriggan were on the attack but were pulled up for a forward pass but they won the ball when they blew Roscrea off the scrum. Again, it was Mollahan who put balbriggan up to the line They kept the pressure up and won a five metre penalty when Roscrea came off side. Balbriggan got over the line put the ref deemed the ball was held up even if it looked as Grambo had grounded. The ref was on the wrong side and by the time he had got around a Roscrea player had inserted his arm under the ball! That’s the rub of the green.
Eventually the pressure paid off and Cal O’Connor found the gap to equal the scores and Jack Scannell added two to put the home side marginally in front.
From the kick-off Conor Caldwell caught the ball and charged up field before unloading to Ian Murphy who put Mollahan away, as Brian was tackled he off-loaded to Andrew Brown who was steaming up the wing and his speed and power kept him going right into the corner, to stretch the Balbriggan lead just before half-time.
Balbriggan started the second half at pace and Caldwell was making good yards, he put a good pass put to Scannell who nearly got in but play was called back for a penalty as the Roscrea winger had attempted to trip Scannell and was rewarded with a yellow card. Balbriggan went to the corner but Roscrea defended well. Balbriggan lost Ian Murphy to an injury and he was replace by Tomas Murphy, fresh back from Holiday. At this stage it was all Balbriggan and Cal O’Connor got over yet again in front of the posts to give Scannell an easy conversion to bring the score to 31 – 17. Roscrea were by no means done and put the home side under a lot of pressure and the Balbriggan defence held up well but eventually the pressure told and a try was conceded wide out. 31 – 22. Balbriggan probably had the stronger bench and in particular were able to bring on Andrew Miller to replace Tuckey who had a very comfortable game at 2. Reynolds went to 2 from 7 and Miller replaced him on the flank. Great to be able to make a change like that in the final quarter. Balbriggan won a scrum 5 metres out and were driving Roscrea back and scrum-half Kavanagh was able to take the ball and fall over the line for the final try of the afternoon.
A pulsating game, credit to both teams for putting up such a good display. The return of Caldwell made a big difference and gave a double carrying threat of Grambo and himself. Dan Sweeney also put in some good carries. Adam O’Connor was much more noticeable than the previous week gaining good yards in his carries. His front row colleagues Tuckey and O’Donoghue go about their work quietly but all season have been giving Balbriggan that edge in the scrum. Reynolds and Fay were making a nuisance of themselves all afternoon. The change in the backs seemed to deliver with Murphy having a good game at 12. This gave Cal O’Connor more space and his off loading was better, bringing the wingers more into the game. Andrew Browne was strong in both attack and defence but the man of the match has to be Brian Mollahan for a non-stop show.
It was great to see such a crowd at the game and it certainly helps the team. It also shows the community culture that we are a Club want to generate. There were people there from all across the different parts of the Club urging on the lads. Should just also give a shout out to the ladies who beat CYM Terenure on Saturday, a match they lost very closely at the start of the season so was great to get revenge.
Edenderry’s win means they have secured the league title, well done to them. A win against Garda in our final match would ensure the payoff spot against Newbridge. While Newbridge are in the playoff spot they have won 5 games in the year, including matches against Wexford, New Ross and Coolmine so nothing guaranteed there.
Next week is Cup Time and we travel to Tullow to take on the Carlow men on Saturday 3pm. Nothing easy going down there. Tullow are mid table in the II league level with Dundalk IIXV. All support will be appreciated. Make a day in County Carlow as our U18 girls have a final in Carlow IT that day – more on that final later.
Balbriggan RFC enjoyed a very hard-earned one point win at home to a very well-drilled Naas team. It was a tight game that left everyone on the sideline entertained.
The away side took the lead first with a very well-worked try by Jamie Garland but unfortunately pulled the conversion wide. Centre Megan McAuley evened up the score when she carried off the back of a strong Balbriggan attack; her carries gave Balbriggan an excellent platform throughout the game.
With the scores even, Balbriggan made good use of the wind with outhalf-for-the-day Laura Brown kicking deep and forcing Naas to play from their own half. Naas happily did so and made some very good inroads with their transition play, but Balbriggan’s defence did well to hold on, with the forwards working tirelessly; an appearance from Tracey McFadden helped keep the energy levels up. Balbriggan continued their attacking efforts and boxed clever, opting to kick the points from a penalty on the stroke of halftime to give them an 8-5 lead at the break.
The second half was almost a mirror image of the first, with clever kicking from Naas putting Balbriggan’s back three under pressure but Kate McFadden, Sarah McDonald, and Sorcha Murphy dealt with the pressure well, as did Nneka Uchegbu when she came on.
Against the wind it was a big effort for Balbriggan as they simply had to keep the ball and play, but Lorna McKenna’s carries helped in spades. At set pieces, Holly Keogh, Stephanie Campbell, and Caoimhe Colman scrummaged well and helped run a very clinical lineout. Laura McDonald ran very good lines against the grain and Giorgia Tanner organised her forward pack well.
Balbriggan continued to play and when a kick bounced favourably for Cliodhna Ní Chonchobhair, she collected it and almost ran in a try but for some excellent scramble defence from a Naas winger. She released the ball after being tackled, allowing her a second bite, but the Naas defence covered well. Captain Eadaoin Cannon discussed a later penalty with her vice captains and decided three points were the way to go; a decision that would ultimately prove valuable.
Naas stayed in the hunt and continued to attack well with Ali Miley getting in for a try to make it a one-point game. After restarting, with time running out, Balbriggan’s forwards continued to dominate possession before Laura Brown cleared it well into touch for the final whistle to sound. A huge team effort, with seven of the day’s team enjoying their first season with Balbriggan RFC.
FT Score Balbriggan 11 v 10 Naas
Having arrived late to the game, near the end of the first half, the consensus from the side line was that while we were 12-0 down we were very much in this game. The wind was blowing strongly down the pitch and the sun was making it difficult to see any high ball. Certainly, the last few minutes of the first half saw some great defensive work. Unfortunately the team lost skipper Ian Murphy when carrying one of his usual tackles had a rather large Edenderry forward fall very hard on his shoulder and that was the end of Ian’s game. Rian Kavanagh moved to scum half and Mike Wall went to the out half position. The sideline commentators were correct about Balbriggan being well in it and the majority of he second half was played in the Edenderry half. Balbriggan made many good breaks but there are still issues with handling and too often the ball was knocked on. The other issue was either white line fever or not trusting those outside of you. Too often the centres cut back in instead of letting the ball out, particularly when you have a speed merchant such as Dylo waiting on the wing. A couple of times Balbriggan put themselves in great positions but came away with nothing. Adam O’Connor as usual was having a strong carrying game as also was Graham Reynolds. Between them they carried well to the line and from a distance it looked as if was Dylo who picked up and squeezed in for a try. Despite a great effort Jack Scannell could not get enough draw on the kick to bring it back in.
Game on and the league leaders were struggling to get into the Balbriggan half. Any time they crossed the halfway line Balbriggan ensured they hoofed the ball back into the opposition 22. A lot of pressure from Balbriggan but no points, a penalty awarded just outside the 22 saw Tomas Murphy try his luck but the wind held the ball out. While kicking with the wind may look easy it certainly isn’t in Balbriggan. Tomas was also having a good game running the ball back at Edenderry. While Balbriggan had the upper hand time was running out and they were still letting Edenderry of the hook. Fiachra Tuckey had to retire injured which brought Andrew Miller into the game. Miller was really up for this and the fresh legs at that stage of the game gave Edenderry all sorts of problems. Substitute Brian Mollahan looked as if he again was going to be the teams saviour but was just tackled on the line after a very strong break. However, it took another substitute, Conor Colman, to eventually breach the line in front of the posts to give Scannell an easy conversion to tie the match. The game was in stoppage time at this stage and I think all would have accepted a draw. Edenderry got a penalty and kicked into the Balbriggan 22 for about the first time in the half. However great work by the pack saw them steal the ball and then the backs worked it up to near the Edenderry 22. A loud blast on the whistle but this time the penalty was in Balbriggan’s favour. Having missed earlier from a similar position young Scannell still had the confidence to step up to have a shot. The kick looked as if it was going to stay out to the left of the posts but Scannell had judged the wind nicely and it too the ball just inside the left hand upright. At least one Offaly man, Shane Lowry would have been proud of that shot. Balbriggan had beaten the league leaders, 15-12. The joy on the faces of the Balbriggan team was a pleasure to behold. This win should give them the confidence to go on to at least claim runners up spot. Yes there is still work to be done but the coaches should now where the work is needed and it should not be difficult to fix. At this stage there is a reliance on either Birr or Roscrea to do us a favour and defeat Edenderry and for us to win our remaining games. Roscrea are now only four points behind after their bonus point win on Sunday. Our next match is Portarlington away in three weeks time and then Roscrea visit us at the start of March.