Monday, February 19, 2018

My Grand Return to the RDS by Ciarán Duffy

May 2016 in the RDS.  Leinster beat Ulster in a Pro12 (remember when it was the Pro12?) semi-final.   

That was the last Leinster match I had been to.  There was a time where I went to pretty much every home game.  And I enjoyed it.  But I stopped for almost two years.  I stopped for health reasons.  Medical reasons as I say to explain the gap on my CV.  These were mental health reasons.  I was unwell in myself.  I don’t write that for sympathy.  I write that because I think it’s important to talk about these things.  One of the main problems with depression is how lonely it is.  And it really does help to hear about other peoples struggles, and how it impacts on their lives.  I almost didn’t bother writing this introduction, or this article at all.  But then I thought about how helpful this openness can be.  I love rugby.  It’s something I’m incredible passionate about.  Depression can make you lose that passion.  It brings a state of Anhedonia.  This inability to experience joy.  I could barely get out of bed to watch a game on TV, let alone get on a DART, go to the match, and sit there around other people.  Comparing that to a few years ago where I watched every second of the World Cup it was completely alien to me.  I don’t write this to come off as ‘brave’, I don’t want to play the victim.  I think there is too much victimisation when it comes to mental health.  What we need is more openness and honesty.  And above all else, to remember that the person with a mental health problem is, a person, with good and bad parts, not a hero for having an illness, just a person.  

I was really excited to get back to going to games.  I thought about it all week, and for a change, I actually enjoyed the occasion outside of the game.  I loved getting the DART, the walk to the stadium, the chips, all of it.  It’s good to great to get back to doing these things.  Here are some of my thoughts from the game.  

James Lowe, Sweet Chariot

James Lowe had an outstanding game.  He was particularly good in the first half, where he consistently kicked Leinster into good positions.  He got two tries and did a lot more then finish them off.  He played like a man not worried about keeping his hair bun tidy.  Also deserving of a mention is Scott Fardy, who had another very good game.  


Luke McGrath went off injured shortly after scoring Leinster third try.  In round 14 against Edinburgh, Leinster game management improved when he came on.  This time around, when he went off that was an area Leinster suffered.  Hopefully his injury isn’t too serious and he’ll be back for the away leg and Saracens.  Rory O’Loughlin went off for a HIA and never returned, he’ll have to follow return to play protocols.  Scarlets also suffered, Johnny McNicholl left the field, injuring himself when he scored Scarlets try.  

Welcome To The Team

When O’Loughlin went off, Ciarán Frawley came on to make his debut.  All in all it was a good performance.  It’s hard to come into a game at such an early stage, as you don’t really have an advantage over your opposition in terms of energy levels, and you have to settle into the game.  He even landed a crucial kick to put Leinster out of Scarlets reach.  A solid debut.  

Does Leo The Lion Ever Question His Own Mortality?
Just a thought.  

I mean he walks around in a lion suit controlling the crowd with a drum

At some point he’s gotta start thinking he’s invincible.  


It was a good win against a good team.  I said before that I think this is a good time to play the Scarlets, they don’t have the squad depth Leinster do, and they’ll suffer more for losing internationals.  A win is a win, but it is a shame Leinster coughed up a losing bonus point in the end.  When Leinster were attacking with the score at 20 – 10, I said I would take it, as denying them the LBP was as good as getting a BP.  The away game will be difficult, but a win would be massive.  Would I take a LBP without them getting a BP, probably not to be honest, unless the injury situation gets worse.  With Isa to come back I think this side is capable of beating Scarlets in Scarlets.  

Regardless, it’s good to be back.  


Ciarán Duffy (@TheVoiceDepth) is a Leinster supporter and self-proclaimed ‘big cheese’ of Post To Post (@PostToPostSport).   He’ll write about anything rugby under the condition he gets to take it too seriously.

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