Leinster Blitz - Under 9's in Arklow (23/4/16)
The final few weeks of April always provides coaches, parents and the players themselves with the opportunity to reflect on the progress made during the course of the season. Have we moved on as a team? Have our individual skills developed? Have all the cold, wet and muddy mornings spent running around the training paddock been worth it?
The Leinster Blitz Weekend proved to be the perfect platform to assess this and measure ourselves directly against a variety of opponents. We travelled in good number, high spirits, took advantage of some unusually fine weather and performed exceptionally well.
The Under 9's boys and girl have worked so hard on the technical aspects of the game all season (tackle technique, presenting / sealing the ball, passing on the move and competing at rucks/mauls). Given their proficiency at these aspects of the game I'm confident that we can, quite literally, punch well above our weight. However, to see these skills executed so well against significantly larger and heavier opponents was a delight for the coaches and supporters alike.
Both Wicklow and a particularly fearsome Arklow side were felled with some sensational running, great commitment in the tackle and some of the best breakdown work I've seen in mini's rugby. Neither opponent had a sustained answer to our quick ball, quick hands and even quicker feet!!
Simultaneously we had up to 5 players supplementing New Ross's numbers helping them to win at least one of their matches. It was great provide additional game time for our players and ensure that all the fixtures could be completed.
Our last match against Enniscorthy ended tied. A more or less constant rotation of substitutes in this final game proved a little disruptive allowing Enniscorthy back in to a match that we'd have ordinarily have closed out!!
The event was a triumph of organisation and our thanks are extended to our hosts for their hard work.
At times its difficult to believe that the players competing so hard on Saturday are only 8/9 years old. The skill and commitment levels on the pitch are way ahead of what I remember myself [ahem] number of years ago at a similar age. The benchmark has been set and the challenge is to push on again next season and build upon this success!!
Speaking on behalf of the coaches, Keiran, Aidan, Dan, Paul, Mark and myself, we took an immense amount of pride in the performances at the weekend (and indeed the whole season) but also the conduct of the players on and off the pitch which was a credit to both the club and the parents alike.
We're looking forward to next season but there is still the small matter of the Casey Cup fixture this weekend. So if you missed the Arklow event its a great opportunity to close out the season, watch some great rugby and support all the Wexford teams!!