Bruff have made a habit of punching above their weight at underage, junior and senior levels and clubs with far greater resources have been unable to achieve as much.
On Saturday, at Kilballyowen Park, they took a big step towards a promotional spot in Division 2C of the Ulster Bank League.
Given that their opponents were lowly Sligo, Bruff won’t be getting ahead of themselves, not least because they have lineout issues to address — the home side lost four of their own second-half throws deep in Sligo territory and that probably cost them a winning bonus point — but the win has helped push them into third place, a point behind Tullamore and six adrift of impressive leaders Old Crescent.
Other than those hiccups out of touch, Bruff dominated for long spells, notably in the opening and closing minutes during which Bruff’s head coach Tony Trehy will have been happy with his side’s highly motivated defence.
“It was a very professional performance in terms of getting the win and sticking to a game plan in those conditions,” said Trehy. “When you’re trying to play a bit of rugby, you’ve got to recognise the weather didn’t really suit. I suppose, when you’re three tries up, you go looking for that bonus and maybe we switched off a bit and tried too much at the same time, but we’ll learn from that.”
Having beaten Tullamore and Wanderers, two of the three teams above them before Saturday — victory saw them leapfrog Wanderers, who lost to Tullamore — Bruff will be seeking a hat trick of top-of-the-table wins when they face Crescent at Rosbrien on Friday night. But victory there will be a tough ask, as Trehy acknowledged. “Just to get this win was important, and next time out we know we can’t cough up four lineouts, not against a team as good as Crescent. They’re top of the table for a reason, Eugene McGovern (coach) is doing a fine job; I know him probably better than most and he has helped turn that club around. They’re playing great rugby and picking up bonus points and this will be a typical Limerick derby next week.” Bruff have their own ambitions for this year and beyond, one of the main reasons Trehy came on board, and his words should serve as warning for the leaders.
“Apart from the firsts, there is a fantastic underage structure the whole way up from sevens, there are some great young players coming through and we all want to push on from here.”
B Cahill (2), P Kilcoyne tries, D O’Grady (2) conversions.
G Whelan, M Cosgrave, B Cahill, S Darcy, P Kilcoyne, D O’Grady, T Cahill (captain), D Horan, J Hogan, B Keogh, B Laffan, K Madigan, C Rea, M Carroll, M Cooke.
K Laffan, S Hartigan, J Considine, B Enright, D Mulcahy.
R Feehily, T Mulvany, M Rooney, D Byrne, E Gavin, J Keegan, S Kerins, R Mannion, M Davey, C Mitchell (captain), J Wilson, C Carroll, M McMorrow, M Cosgrove, S Boyle.
C Tansey, P Mannion, D Heath, C Cassidy, K McGloin.
T Townend (IRFU)