The Invincibles!

After the perfect season where the Roscrea RFC senior team succeeded in achieving the improbable, winning every game and topping the table despite the deduction of 7 points for an indiscretion early in the season. This is the story of how John Maher’s men overcame every obstacle that lay put in front of them and became the invincibles!

Dogos RFC 7 Roscrea RFC 22

September 23rd saw the Roscrea team travel to Sydney parade in Dublin to play Dogos RFC in the Leinster league Div 3. What was most impressive about this game was the Roscrea performance in defence. Although eventually winning with a score of 22 – 7, Roscrea team Coach John Maher praised his team collective defensive effort and commented that it was the main contributor to the victory.

Roscrea RFC 52 Ardee RFC 8

On September 29th Roscrea welcomed Athboy RFC to Streamstown for their first home game in the leinster league. A final score of 52 – 8 to Roscrea underlined the attacking intent from the home team on the day. Heavy rain had preceded the game, but Roscrea adapted to the slippery conditions excellently running in 7 tries. Team Captain Ger Stone praised his team’s commitment on the day and had a special mention for man of the match, tight head prop Antoin Doherty who played fantastically in his second game in a row at scrum half.  Team Coach John Maher also singled out the excellent performance of Jack Feeney who played his first senior game for Roscrea.

RCSI 21 Roscrea RFC 38

The Roscrea RFC senior team have been in a rich vein of form lately with John Maher’s men unbeaten in the leinster league div 3. On Sunday October 13th they travelled to Railway union RFC in Dublin for their fixture against RCSI RFC. Playing in the capital against quality opposition is never an easy challenge. Roscrea started slowly and conceded early, exchanging tries with RCSI to make it 14 – 14 after half an hour of play. But such is the cohesiveness and tenacity of this team, that after sustained periods of pressure Roscrea gradually asserted themselves and pushed on to an impressive eventual 38 – 21 victory. Tries on the day were scored by Ger Stone, John Joe Ryan, Sam Queely, Stephen Carter, George Sutton and Jonathon Sutton. Captain Ger Stone was pleased with the performance, in particular the attacking display against a very strong RCSI defence. It’s evident from recent performances that this team has worked hard on the training ground and that investment in time is now paying dividends. Against RCSI we observed an all-round team performance with the likes of  Seamus Treacy, John Joe Ryan and Paul Mcnamara putting in excellent shifts in attack and defence while Delacey Byrne came on as a sub for his first game of rugby. Next up for The Roscrea RFC senior team is Clane away at Ballinagappa RD on October 20th.

Clane RFC 7 Roscrea RFC 45

On Sunday October 20th The Roscrea RFC senior team visited Clane RFC at Ballinagappa road for a 3:00pm kick off in the Leinster league. The team were in good form coming into the fixture after having recorded victories over Dogos, Athboy and RCSI in their three previous matches in the Leinster league. Roscrea Started strongly with a Michael Treacy try on 7 minutes followed quickly by Fergus Hannon crossing the white wash, Sam Quelly duly converted giving Roscrea a 12 nil lead. Just before half time Michael Treacy received a yellow card. Despite the numerical disadvantage for the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half Roscrea were soon on the score board again with Gavin Hannon racing over and Sam Quelly converting on 45 minutes making it 19 – 0. Subsequent tries from Malachy Maher, Seamus Treacy, Micheal Fitzgearld and a wonderful finish from Fergus Hannon after a great run by Brendan Toohey who played superbly on his debut led to a Score of 45 – 7 after Clane clinched the last score of the game on 78 minutes. Coach John Maher was delighted with the all-round team performance and thanked the players for their commitment and dedication to the club, he also thanked the travelling supporters and Clane RFC for their fantastic hospitality and wished them all the best for the rest of season. Next up for the mens senior team in the Leinster League is a home fixture against Portarlington RFC on November 3rd at 2:30pm.

Roscrea RFC 10 Portarlington 0

Sunday November 3rd was an extremely busy day at Roscrea RFC. Portarlington RFC visited for the scheduled leinster league fixture with a 2:30pm kick off. To make the day a true Rugby special occasion, Portarlington brought their entire minis contingent of under 7s,u8s,u9s,u10,u11 and under u12 boys and a u12s Girls team to play their Roscrea RFC counterparts before the headline match. Despite the wet conditions over 250 children from the 2 clubs between the ages of 6 and 11 showed the joyous supporters why rugby must have a bright future. Roscrea RFC minis coordinator Denis Delaney thanked Portarlington RFC for their participation and looked forward to many meetings of the clubs in the future. After 2 days of heavy rain the main event of the day was always going to be a battle of attrition, both Roscrea and Portarlington brought excellent form into the game and this was evident in the tight nature of the contest. In what played out as a physical and wonderfully tense game, Roscrea eventually came out on top with a score of 10 – 0, with the ever-impressive Gavin Hannon scoring the only try of the game followed by a conversion and penalty by the ever reliable boot of Sam Quelly. On the day the Roscrea Pack were immense, in particular the contribution of the front row, while Malachy Maher and John Carter were excellent throughout. Roscrea Captain Ger Stone thanked Portarlington for providing such a stern test on the day and wished them well for the remainder of the season.

Roscrea RFC 15 Ardee RFC 0

After a fantastic run of 6 wins in a row and in irrepressible form the Roscrea RFC senior team welcomed Ardee RFC to Streamstown for a crucial top of the table clash in the leinster league. One of the defining characteristics of Roscrea home games this year is the excellent level of support and attendance which always provides a brilliant atmosphere. In many ways the team’s performance and exciting brand of rugby have facilitated the atmosphere at the ground and that in turn has encouraged the players to new levels. Ardee RFC have been in superb form this season only losing once and playing some sensational rugby along the way.  The game was always going to be an epic encounter, as it was a winner takes all scenario and as expected it started at a frantic pace with either side refusing to give up an inch. But this Roscrea RFC side have an uncanny habit of finding a way when it seems that all routes are blocked. Indeed it was from 2 lineouts that the men in maroon found the ammunition to punch holes in the staunch Ardee rear-guard. Firstly Michael Treacy found the whitewash after a strong Roscrea drive from a lineout, this was followed by a similar try from Mikey Fitzgearld in the 2nd half. The ever reliable boot of Sam Quelly kicked a penalty and converted the Fitzgearld try to make it 15 – 0 at the final whistle. The win moved Roscrea back to the top of the league but it was the performance that most please Roscrea RFC head coach John Maher, who after the game thanked Ardee RFC for a fantastic game of rugby and providing the Roscrea team with their sternest test so far this season.

Dogos RFC 7 Roscrea RFC 14

The Roscrea RFC senior team have been in terrific form this season. They arrived at their Sunday December 1st  fixture against Dogos RFC on a run of 7 wins in a row. There is a certain pressure on a team on such a run of form, the pressure they put on themselves to keep the form going but also the pressure asserted on them by teams hoping to end their consecutive wins. Rugby in December is when the sport is at its most attritional, cold weather and poor pitch conditions often make an expansive running game almost impossible. This is when teams have to dig deep to grind out results, this is the period when leagues are won and lost! One of the greatest attributes of this Roscrea team is that not only can they cut loose and score tries at will when conditions allow, but they also know how to win ugly, to find a route to victory when what is needed is old fashioned grit and determination. The scheduled fixture on Sunday December 1st was one of those days, low scoring and a true battle where every inch was hard fought. Although Roscrea eventually ran out winners on a score of 14 – 7 to hold onto top spot in the league, they were made work for it by a determined and resilient Dogos who have improved immeasurably since the 2 sides previous meeting earlier in the season. The difference on the day was the staunch defence of the Roscrea team and their refusal to concede towards the end of the game when Dogos had looked likely to score a dramatic late try. Tries form Fergus Hannon and Brendan Toohey will no doubt get the plaudits but it was the collective defence that will have most pleased head coach John Maher as his charges now go into the next game against Athboy RFC in Townspark on a run of 8 wins in a row

Athboy RFC 14 Roscrea RFC  35

The Roscrea RFC senior team travelled to Athboy RFC on Sunday December 8th for their final game of 2019. They arrived with an incredible 8 match winning streak sitting top of the division and unbeaten at the halfway mark of the season. Form is a precarious thing, hard to find and easy to lose. However, this Roscrea RFC senior team have produced some sensational performances this season on the back of good old-fashioned hard work on the training ground and commitment on the playing pitch. Head coach John Maher has galvanised his team and instilled a belief in them that as a collective they are greater than the sum of their parts. Against Athboy RFC on a score of 35 – 14, with tries from the excellent Stephen Carter, the indomitable Seamus Treacy and Roscrea flier Fergus Hannon along with 3 conversions from the ever reliable boot of Sam Quealy, Roscrea recorded their 9th win of the season which leaves them unbeaten and sitting top of the league for the Christmas break. Captain Ger Stone gave deserved praise to his team mates and signalled out a special mention for Delacey Byrne who had an excellent game on the wing in his first start in a rugby match and Phenyo Ketsitlile a native from Botswana and in Ireland as a guest seeking asylum who played superbly on his debut.

Portarlington RFC 10 Roscrea RFC 18

Picture the scenario at the top of the leinster league Division 3 on the 2nd last weekend of the scheduled season. Portarlington RFC the league leaders have 43 points with 2 games left to play, Roscrea RFC in second place have 38 points and a game in hand on the leaders. The old adage of “a Winner takes all game” described the fixture in lea Road perfectly. Victory for Portarlington would all but secure the Championship and promotion, while a win for Roscrea would swing the reward pendulum in their favour. Roscrea had previously beaten their opponents in their earlier season home tie in a game that resulted in some controversy as Roscrea were subsequently docked 7 points for mistakenly fielding an ineligible player. Remarkably, Roscrea who are unbeaten this season and have won all their previous 11 games found themselves in a must win situation when visiting Portarlington RFC despite their endeavours since the season started in September.

Numerical permutations and calculations are one thing, but you still need to make it count on the pitch! When the 2 teams ran onto the field at Lea road, we knew we were in for a battle. We certainly were not to be disappointed. The contest itself started at a ferocious pace, with no quarter given and no territory easily relinquished. The 2 forward packs went at each other relentlessly and every yard gained could only be won with determination and courage. Both out halves kicked for field position intermittently with the swirling wind making finding touch a lottery at times. Roscrea landed the first punch after some great work by the forwards was awarded with a penalty which Sam Queally kicked despite the strong breeze. Portarlington responded in kind to level the score. After that the Roscrea forwards began to find some territory with Mikey Treacy, a veritable wrecking ball put to great use all match, punched his way through the middle.  Roscrea scrum Half Stephen Carter found out half Jake Lawlor who fed his back line and after a few recycles, the superb Paul McNamara crossed the line. With halftime approaching Roscrea found themselves 8 – 3 ahead and containing a resurgent Portarlington. With the clock in the red Roscrea attacked the Portarlington defence pushing them back to their own 10m line. Then the sucker punch came as the Roscrea backs decided to go for width and a pass was superbly intercepted by the Portarlington outhalf who fed his winger to race under the posts. Portarlington scored the subsequent conversion giving them a 10 – 8 lead at half time, putting them in the driving seat while Roscrea had it all to do.

The second half started as the first had finished with play moving at a frantic pace. Some excellent work by Antoin Doherty, Ger Stone and Malachy Maher saw Roscrea awarded with a penalty, the ever-reliable Sam Quelly duly converted, giving Roscrea the slenderest of leads. As if it were possible, both teams upped the physicality in search of that season defining score. Every dominant tackle, turnover, territorial advance and strong set piece pushed the teams on as they drew motivation from each small victory. Some great lineout work by the towering 2nd row John Carter aided by fantastic accuracy by ferocious hooker Mikey Fitzgearld, saw Roscrea push closer to the Portarlington line. Sensing a score, the pack formed a maul and pushed over with Mikey Treacy eventually touching down, just reward for his endeavours. With only minute remaining Roscrea were in touching distance of destiny but knew that any lapse in concentration would allow their opposition in for a possible match winning score. Roscrea kept putting the pressure on at the ruck and some excellent work from the pack saw Sam Quealy afforded the opportunity to give his team a 2-score lead from a penalty kick, he duly converted making it 19 – 10. To their eternal credit, Portarlington would not go down without a fight and continued to probe and attack and spent the final minutes hammering at the Roscrea line. But the defiant Roscrea rearguard would not yield, phase after phase of seismic collisions followed. But the day would belong to Roscrea, through raw courage, pride, determination, resilience and an indomitable will to win they seized and won their date with destiny.

Starting Team

1.Kieran Stone 2.Mikey Fitzgerald 3.Mikey Treacy 4.John Carter 5.Antoin Doherty 6.Ger Stone (captain) 7.Malachy Maher 8.Seamus Treacy 9.Stephen Carter 10. Jake Lawlor 11.Sam Quealy 12.John Joe Ryan 13.Paul McNamara 14.Johnathon Sutton 15.Gavin Hannon

Roscrea RFC 15 Clane RFC 8

Sunday, February 16th at 3:00pm in Streamstown was truly a day for only the committed rugby fan. To give a sense of the conditions, imagine 50km gusts, cold driving rain and a negative windchill factor and add to this a soft, water logged pitch and you get a taste of the conditions facing the Roscrea RFC and Clane RFC teams that braved the weather for their scheduled leinster league clash.

By the end of this contest, as the players, frozen and covered in mud clapped each other off the pitch, both teams took a sense of achievement with them to the dressing room. Clane RFC can be proud of the fact that they gave Roscrea a proper test and indeed were leading at the break and despite being under pressure for large spells in the second half, they never relinquished territory without a battle. Roscrea RFC on the other hand, found it within themselves to turn the halftime deficit into a hard-earned win despite the conditions and a defiant Clane defensive effort. The reward for their endeavours was elevation to the top of the league and the prize of being masters of their own destiny.

The game started at a ferocious pace, with both teams vying to gain control and fight the weather simultaneously. Roscrea played against the wind in the first half and played a running and offloading game as the conditions demanded while Clane kicked for territory, invariably finding that the wind made kicking a lottery. Roscrea scored first as their scrum made gains 5 meters short of the Clane try line, with Roscrea no 8 Seamus Treacy eventually going over to make it 5 – 0 to the home side. Jake Lawlor subsequently missed the conversion on a day where accurate kicking at goal was virtually impossible. After this Clane rallied scoring a penalty and after a series of drives towards the Roscrea line scored an a wonderfully opportunist try after an attempted clearance kick was blocked down. At half time the score was 8 – 5 with Clane in the driving seat. Roscrea came out in the second half and immediately started to find territory with the swirling wind at their backs. John Carter and  Malachy Maher who had an excellent game helped gain ascendency in the line out winning Roscrea and Clane ball on numerous occasions, with the Roscrea hooker Mikey Fitzgearld who seemed to be everywhere showing fantastic throwing accuracy in the conditions. The half back pairing of the lively Stephen Carter and Jake Lawlor who seem to have developed an almost symbiotic understanding of one another continued to push the team on and probed the Clane defence where ever possible. It was at the set piece where Roscrea began to find some dominance with props Keiran Stone and Peter Hennessy in fine form and it was from the scrum that the 2nd and crucial score arrived. With the indomitable Seamus Treacy touching down after the pack pushed over the Clane line from 5 meters out. This brought it to 10 – 8 in favour of the home side. It was Roscrea who scored the next and final try of the game, in an almost identical fashion to the previous score with Seamus Treacy scoring his hat trick pushing the score board to 15 – 8. After this Clane regrouped and began to find a late foothold in the game, John Maher brought on some fresh legs and a strong defensive effort helped the Roscrea team see out the game.

Afterwards Roscrea RFC captain Ger Stone thanked the Clane team and their coaches for braving the elements and wished them well for the rest of the season. He also paid tribute to the supporters who endured the conditions to cheer on the team. Roscrea RFC now sit top of the leinster league division 3, they have 2 games left to play, visiting Ardee RFC on February 23rd before welcoming Swords to Streamstown for the last and season defining game of the year on the 8th of March.

Roscrea Starting team

1.Kieran Stone  2. Mike Fitzgearld 3.Peter Hennessy 4. John Carter 5. Mickey Treacy 6. Ger Stone ( capt) 7. Malachy Maher 8. Seamus Treacy 9. Stephen Carter 10. Jake Lawlor 11. Sam Quelly 12. Denis Kelly 13. John Joe Ryan 14. Jonathon Sutton 15. Gavin Hannon

Ardee RFC 0 Roscrea RFC 62

With only 2 games remaining in the season and trailing Portarlington RFC by 3 points, The Roscrea RFC senior team knew that anything less than victory against 3rd place Ardee RFC would extinguish any hopes of winning the league and the reward of automatic promotion. In the previous week’s victory over Clane RFC, the Roscrea team were forced to fight for every inch and delved deep into their reserves to find a victory, down at half time with the weather and the opposition proving an almost insurmountable challenge, yet still somehow through pure doggedness, they prevailed.

Ardee RFC had put together a formidable run of their own and were in top form. The original venue was another victim of the incessant rain, the game was moved to Kells to be played in North Meath RFC after Ardee’s home ground was deemed unplayable. With a tiring 2 hour drive, a change of venue, poor conditions and playing a resurgent opposition, You could have forgiven John Maher’s men if they had fallen into a more cautious and reticent style of play. However, this team have a special quality. Not unique but certainly rare enough to make it significant, they have been emboldened with a determination and a sense of togetherness that empowers them to accept nothing less than the best from one another. In essence they are a team that is greater than the sum of its parts and there within lies the secret of their success. They started the game against Ardee RFC with a brutal efficiency and relentlessly maintained that standard until the final whistle had been blown. When the 2 team walked off the pitch the score board read Ardee RFC 0 Roscrea RFC 62.

The scores came from out half Jack Feeney, Seamus Treacy, Malachy Maher, Mikey Treacy, Sam Quelly, Ger Stone and a hat trick from winger Jonathan Sutton who was in sensational form. Penalties and conversions came from the boots of Feeney and Quelly. At scrum time the Roscrea pack were unmovable with the indomitable front row of Kieran Stone, Mikey Fitzgearld and Mikey Treacy. The lineout was immense with John Carter, Malachy Maher and Antoin Doherty in dominant form. At the rucks where Ger Stone and Seamus Treacy were a menace, scrum half Stephen Carter demanded quick ball and when he got it which he invariably did, he fed his back line with accuracy and intent. The centre partnership of Jake Lawlor and John Joe Ryan were a tour de force in defence and attack, while out half Jack Feeney had his finest game in a maroon shirt. Gavin Hannon and Sam Quelly added pace and mesmerising foot work to every contribution, while Johnathan Sutton was simply sensational. Head coach John Maher has always been a strong advocate of using his squad to maximum affect, he maintained his teams momentum and supremacy by introducing subs when the situation deemed it necessary. Brendan Toohey, Peter Hennessy, Paddy Walsh, Cathal Hogan and speedster Fergus Hannon all entered the fray galvanizing the team with their introductions. After 13 straight victories Roscrea RFC now sit on top of the leinster league division 3, leading 2nd place Portarlington RFC by 4 points. They welcome Swords RFC to Streamstown for their final season defining game on March 8th, only then will their destiny finally be decided.

With Swords RFC eventually conceding the final game of the season, the rest as they say is history!

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