Friday, August 14, 2015

Leinster open training session at Skerries RFC

As the month of August progresses every year, one by one the signs keep coming that the new Leinster Rugby season is on the horizon...we have the Horse Show at the RDS, the arrival of the ticket to the Donnybrook friendly, and of course there is also the pair of annual pilgrimages to various clubs around the province for the Open Training sessions.

Sadly we couldn't make the one at Edenderry RFC but this morning we set off for the northern half of county Dublin to visit Skerries RFC to watch the squad Leinster plan to open our 2015/16 be put through their paces.

The event ran smoothly as far as I could see...I had twice as many small children with me as with previous incarnations of this event so my attention span wasn't quite the same as it has been in the past, but the crowd seemed well happy with what was happening.

There were competitions, a barbecue, stewards to help you find a decent viewing position and flags lining the route far and wide around the club for those like myself who weren't quite sure where we were headed.

If I had to make one observation that's a tad negative I really felt the clubhouse needed letters spelling "Skerries RFC" emblazoned in the most visible position along with the club crest but perhaps that's in the pipeline...the club has certainly grown extremely well over the years and now has pride of place in the third tier of the All Ireland League - best wishes to them for the new campaign which begins for them at home to Naas on Sep 11.'s a sample of the photos we took on the day...

Leo talks to the lads pre-session.  Best of luck to him in his new role, I made my feelings on the matter clear a few weeks ago and still feel the same.
All the extra activity was over by the dogs, crisps, competitions to enter, plenty to help you enjoy the day
Ben Te'o looks on
Dom Ryan is very unlucky not to be involved with the full Ireland squad and no doubt will be keen to make his mark throughout September
Aaron Dundon often impresses when he gets some first team game time and he should see a lot of it in the coming weeks
One of Leinster & Ireland's hottest prospects, Gary Ringrose

Extra training up and down the touchline for Mick Kearney, Mick McGrath & Tadhg Furlong...not sure they were impressed with my camera in their faces as they stood waiting for the next drill!
Kurt McQ surveys the latest crop of talent.  Another part of the "putting the old band back together" that's great to see yet not often commented on
It's like Isa was never away...
Mandatory Lineout Jump Pic
Thoughts could be along the lines of "One day, that could be me out there" but could also well be "How soon am I getting a hot dog?"
Of course we wish Jamie H all the best when he goes down under but in the meantime he will be valuable in blue for the first few months of the season
Royce Burke-Flynn poaches a pass from Hagan in this training drill to go in for an easy score
The "Byrne units" have done well at Leinster A level and will be pushing for senior places this coming season
"So we've Wasps up first at home lads...could've been worse I suppose!"
Go go go go go!!!!

Noel Reid is down from the Irish squad but Joe Schmidt made it clear that those "cut" from the camp still have every chance to make their way back
Mick McC is back and we'll need all his experience in September
Another unlucky not to be involved in the Irish camp is Locky...he took no part today and we wish him a speedy recovery

No prizes for guessing who was most popular with the autograph hunters!

We'll trawl through the rest of the snaps we took and add the ones we feel are worthy of the collection.

In the meantime, here is a little trip down memory lane with a few snaps from Open Training sessions in years gone by...

Ashbourne RFC 2014

Cill Dara RFC 2013
Tallaght Stadium 2011
Clondalkin RFC 2010
Cheiks looks after a young lad hit by a stray ball at Wicklow RFC in 2009
Hat-tip to John Curran for the loan of the fancy-shmancy camera


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019