May 052018

It promises to be a battle royal between Bruff and Bandon at Kilballyowen Park as the Limerick men try to hold onto their Ulster Bank League status, while the west Cork side will make an historic leap out of the junior ranks if they win. ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 2C PROMOTION/RELEGATION PLAY-OFF: Saturday, May 5

BRUFF (9th, Div 2C) v BANDON (2nd, Round Robin Series), Kilballyowen Park, 2.30pm

Enduring a hugely frustrating end to the regular season, Bruff finished just one victory away from safety with their inferior scoring difference leaving them second-from-bottom, just behind Tullamore. So it is now win-or-bust for a proud club that initially gained promotion in 2004.

Bruff have been a fixture across a number of divisions since then, but Brian Cahill’s current crop found the going tough in the bottom tier this year. Missing a much-needed streak of consistency, they went from drawing with eventual champions Sligo and defeating local rivals Thomond to losing to fellow teams in the lower reaches.

Sadly, long-serving hooker and captain John Hogan can only watch from the sidelines as Bruff’s survival mission plays out. He had to retire earlier in the campaign due to a neck injury, and while Cahill has a mostly young squad, he can call on the experience of his brother, out-half Tony, prop Dave Horan (younger brother of Marcus) and lock Neilus Keogh, the former Ireland Under-20 Grand Slam winner.

Bruff’s narrow loss at promotion-chasing Omagh three weeks ago, combined with their prior defeat of Bective Rangers, suggests that they can pull off the required result today, especially with the backing off the home support. However, Bandon will not be daunted by the challenge having gained momentum through their runners-up finish in the All-Ireland Provincial League Championship.

Back-to-back wins over Ashbourne (55-26) and Instonians (21-17), with a try-scoring bonus point also earned against eventual Round Robin winners Ballina, have Regis Sonnes’ Corkmen on the cusp of an historic breakthrough into the Ulster Bank League.

Frenchman Sonnes is leaving the club to return to Toulouse as their joint-head coach next season, so the players are determined to send him off in style. Bandon captain Tom Ferguson told the Southern Star: “We had a massive crowd supporting us at Old Chapel last week and also up in Mullingar for our Under-18s’ All-Ireland final win.

“It is unbelievable to have that kind of backing and support behind us, so hopefully we can go on and do the business against Bruff. I think it is an advantage for us in a way that the play-off is against another Munster team in Bruff. A lot of Munster teams play similarly and we are playing away to those teams all year.”

Bruff will have to keep close tabs on the visitors’ Argentinian scrum half Santiago Gonzalez and former Cork Constitution centre Kerry Desmond, who struck for a late match-winning try against Inst seven days ago. Bandon’s back row are also a very strong unit, with number 8 Ferguson combining well with Kiwi recruit Conall Bromwich and Ryan Hayes.

Bandon are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Omagh who won the corresponding play-off fixture last year, coming away from Boyne with a 29-9 triumph and the ultimate prize of a ticket to the Ulster Bank League. Bruff can look to Sligo for inspiration as they recently won the Division 2C title – a little under two years on from their 24-22 promotion/relegation play-off win over junior challengers Enniscorthy.

May 032018

Promotion Relegation playoff

A big crowd is expected in Kilballyowen on this Saturday 5th of May as the Clubs senior status is put on the line in a Promotion / Relegation play off Versus Bandon RFC. Bandon are on the back of a Munster Junior League title winning run and a 2nd place finish in the Round robin series.
Bruff on the other hand are after a very mixed season which saw them win 7 of their 18 games with 2 draws also in the mix. Bruff have showed signs of improvement in their last two outing, beating Bective Rangers and narrowly losing to Omagh away in the North last day out.
All supporters are urged to arrive early and be careful when approaching the grounds as a large support is expected from both sides.
Munster Junior Bowl Title for the seconds.
The 2nd Xv won the Munster junior Bowl on Sunday by beating Bantry in the final played in Musgrave Park.
Cian Clifford opened the scoring with an early penalty which was followed shortly after by an Ordhan Ring try. The young no8 powered over from short range after taking a quick tap penalty close to the Bantry try line. Bantry made it 8-7 midway through the half with a converted try before Paddy Thompson went over for a second Bruff try to make it 13-7 to Bruff.
Bantry took a 14-13 lead early in the second half but it was Richie McAuliffe who yet again showed the value of having a good place kicker landing 3 penalties from the tee to push Bruff into a 22-14 lead. Bantry hit a late long range place kick to make it 22.17 but it was too little too late for the West Cork side.
Eamon Cooke who was Bruff captain on the day collected the cup from fellow Bruff man Ger Malone and lifted the trophy for the first time in the clubs history.
Well done to Eamon & Neilus Keogh who have looked after the 2nds this season and also to Pauline McAuliffe who has been on hand to help out with the first aid duties.
Team, E Cooke, J Fitzgerald, B Bulfin, T O’Dwyer, T O’Dwyer, O Ring, C Rea, M McCarthy, C Clifford, R McAulliffe, C Ryan, S Darcy, B Cahill, L Tracey, B Deady Subs N Keogh, M Carroll, M Cooke, T Carroll, P Thompson
Please note the following dates for the Pre AGM & AGM –
Pre AGM Tuesday 15th
AGM Wednesday 30th May – All members are urged to attend.
We have 3 CE positions in Bruff RFC for Caretaker/groundsman responsible for maintenance of clubhouse and grounds. 19.5 hrs per week. Applicants must be in receipt of DSP payment for over 12 months and apply through local employment services. Please contact Harriet Cunningham on 0860598312 for further info

May 022018

The Bruff RFC Senior team play Bandon RFC in the most important match of the season this coming Saturday 5th May at 2:30 pm, Kilballyowen Park. We are looking for all of our current and past members to come out and support the lads for this extremely important match for what is a make or break game. As always your support is extremely welcome.


Relegation playoff awaits seniors

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Apr 162018

UBL final round

It’s a bitter pill to swallow but the seniors are in a relegation playoff after leaving Omagh with a 19.14 loss on Saturday. The losing bonus point would have been enough to keep them out of a play-off but for Tullamores 42-12 win over Bangor. The 30 point victory meant that Tullamore leap frogged Bruff on points difference.

The Bruff players were visibly disappointed after the game but every one of them can hold their heads high after a massive effort and showing of courage, spirit and a never say die attitude.

Bruff got off to a flying start going up 7-0 with a converted try. The move was started when winger Liam Tracey blocked an attempted clearance kick from the Omagh scrum half. The bouncing ball led to confusion and resulted in Bruff being awarded a scrum near the home sides 22. The Bruff front row of Dave Horan, John Clery and Keith Laffan had already asserted their dominance and the stable platform helped to put the wheels in motion for a Jack O Grady try under the posts. The young centre took a good line off his veteran out-half Tony Cahill who added the extra’s to make it 7-0.

Omagh went on the attack and enjoyed a long period of dominance which saw them go in 8-7 ahead at half time. It was a ferocious half of rugby with big hits coming from both sides. Unfortunately it saw Bruff ship 2 big injuries with both Danny Keogh and Tony Cahill leaving the pitch early due to hard knocks. There was able replacements at hand with David O Grady coming in for Tony and Maghnus Collins replacing Keogh.

Omagh added another penalty after half time but Bruff hit back with one of the tries of the season. A loose kick to the Bruff back 3 was returned with interest when picked up by the Bruff winger who made a 50 yard run before linking with Conor Fitzpatrick to score to the right of the posts. David O Grady hit a lovely conversion to make it 14.11 and move Bruff into the lead. But it was Omagh who enjoyed the best of the remainder of the game scoring a Penalty and a try to close out the game 19.14.

It was a disappointed dressing room after the game but the performance given by every player at the weekend gives us the supporter’s great hope that the squad can circle the wagons, regroup and come out fighting.

The playoff is scheduled for May 5th in Kilballyowen so we ask that all supporters, members, underage players, parents, past players and friends of Bruff RFC mark your diary and make the effort to come out and support the team against whatever opposition makes it through from the promotion play-offs.


Bruff Team: Davy Horan, Johnny Clery, Keith Laffan, Neilus Keogh, Tadgh O Dwyer, Seanie Hartigan, Cillian Rea, Danny Keogh, Cian Clifford, Tony Cahill, Liam Tracey , Conor Fitzpatrick, Jack O Grady, Davy O grady, Graham Whelan, Paddy Clery, Colm O Sullivan, Mike Cooke, Magnus Collins

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