Saturday was definitely an ideal day for rugby. Dark,overcast and and a slight changing wind were the weather conditions. It had been weeks since any senior rugby was played and Bruff were host to Blackrock. While Bruff can lay claim to John Hayes as their best known and most successful player, Blackrock could field an entire team with past international’s. Saying this both clubs were level on points on the wrong end of the table with the match a most win to give some breathing space from the relegation places.
Blackrock’s team looked quite big and physical but from the start Bruff matched and bettered them in ruck,maul and tackle.
A familiar looking second row on the Blackrock team had people checking the team sheet to see if it was Leo Cullen(Turned out to be his brother but equally as pretty)
Bruff staged an early encampment in Blackrocks half. Both sides seemed confident to run with ball in hand. An early penalty was missed by Brian Cahill. After a barrage of kicks and lineouts on the far side of pitch Blackrock slotted the first points of the afternoon. Bruff responded with great displays off strength from their captain o’Connell and the pack. Eoin Cahill returned to Kilballyowen with the same confidence and flare that he seems to always display when playing with Bruff. Another Bruff penalty from further out saw Bruff go in level at half time. There was a sense during the break that both teams were holding back or slow to kick on after the Christmas break.
The second half began with slight drizzling rain and silly mistakes by both teams. A couple of missed kicks for both sides had the spectators quite frustrated until Bruff started making great strides to the oppositions try line. Wave after wave of attack was halted by a good defence but Bruff did not look like the had the killer edge or the ability to cross the line. All of which resulted in another penalty which was agonisingly missed. Towards the end Blackrock pushed downfield.Knowing they would not brake a defence that was rock solid all day, they took the wise and victorious decision to slip into the pocket and slot over for 3. Bruff 3-Blackrock 6
This was Blackrocks first senior visit to kilballyowen and no doubt they will return to Dublin with a new found respect for this southern team that displayed hard fought rugby and a welcoming atmosphere. A shaky start to the new year with only one point separating us from the bottom two clubs.