Saturday saw the final game of the season take place in Anglesea Road. Before our own final, We watched Nenagh Ormond come within a whisker of taking the Division 3 Title. Despite dominating the game, they seemed to be out on their feet at the end and a try in the final minute cost them the title. It had been great to see the posters up on the bridge on the way up wishing us well and the Nenagh support was added to by the voices of Bruff wishing them well.
I thought that the Division 3 game was played at an incredibly fast pace until our own final kicked off. This turned out to be one absolute cracker of a game, for neutral fans it was probably the game of the season and befitting a final playoff. When Lansdowne touched down after five minutes courtesy of a try by the winger Matt Healy which Andrew Geraghty duly converted to give them an early Seven point lead, all but the Bruff fateful wondered whether this game would be a repeat of the match early last October. Massive pressure from Bruff on the Lansdowne pack up front, coupled with some beautiful mazy running from all over the park by the backline gave Bruff a great edge from then on, the stiff breeze not helping Bruff captain and out-half Brian Cahill with two penalty opportunities but the Lansdowne defence stood firm until a sliced clearance on twenty two minutes, John Moore charging down the Lansdowne Winger Gahan just in front of his own line creating the slice which gave Moore a sweet opportunist touchdown in the corner to close the gap to two points. Bruff seemed to dominate proceedings up front but couldn’t break the line. Both defences took charge for the remaining period until just on halftime, a crazily crooked lineout led to the Lansdowne full-back cutting in for try number two which Geraghty again converted to give them a 14-5 halftime lead.
Bruff seemed to come out from the halftime huddle with even more vigour and fire and the pack took proceedings by the scruff of the neck, Bruff absolutely dominating the scrums and tight exchanges but even though they seemed to do what they liked with the Lansdowne pack at scrum-time, a penalty for Lansdowne twelve minutes in stretched the lead to twelve points. Bruff seemed to shrug this off and start again and after another seven minutes they reaped their reward with what was probably the best score of the game with nearly the whole team combining to put Pat Thompson clear in the corner following a sweet final run-in. Cahill failed with the awkward conversion attempt, 17 -10 and twenty minutes on the clock. At this stage everyone felt that Bruff could just shade it but time and time again the Lansdowne defence stood firm and the referees whistle gave them relief at vital moments, even though Bruff never gave up right until the final whistle. It must have been a cracker of a game for any neutrals watching.
I have to add that Bruff definitely warranted their second place in Division two this year and proved this to everyone on Saturday. As I stated at the start, this game was played throughout at a frightening pace from start to finish and if they can hold things tight right from the start of next season, I can see both of these teams doing very well in Division 1b.
Bruff Scores: John Moore, 1T, Patrick Thompson 1T.
BRUFF : P Thompson; A Cashman, J Malone, J Carroll, J Moore; B Cahill (Capt), T Cahill; D Horan, C O’Regan, S Foster, M O’Connell, A Bourke, D Gardiner, J Shine, M Carroll. Replacements : P Malone for O’Connell, D Murnane for M Carroll (both 45 mins), N O’Riordan for Thompson (temp-47 mins), E Maher for J Carroll (77 mins).