Since our first session together back in July, we have had one eye on this weekend’s round of fixtures, our first in the All Ireland League this year, so there has been an air of excitement and a great intensity this week at training.
In all honesty, no-one truly knows where they stand at this stage of the season, all we can do is have faith in the preparation we have put in and ensure we put in a good performance come 2.30 on Saturday. For my part, I have been really impressed with the work our lads have put in to this point, and I will go in to Saturday excited to see the lads put it all out there on the field.
Playing City of Armagh last week, far from a negative as some have suggested, was perfect preparation for the start of our AIL campaign. Whilst I was disappointed in our first 20 minutes, during which we were slow to adjust to the intensity Armagh delivered and the ruthless way in which they capitalised on our mistakes, I was delighted in the 50 minutes of rugby that followed, where we really stepped up our game and imposed ourselves on a strong Armagh outfit. We will need to replicate that intensity and accuracy for 80 minutes this Saturday against a Sundays Well side who will sure to be looking to bounce back from the disappointment of relegation.
Selection has been really competitive this week, and there have been some tough calls to be made, but that is testament to the strength in depth we are working hard to develop. The 2s and 3s have made unbeaten starts in their leagues, and again this is encouraging, the 3s will look to continue their vein of form at home to PSNI 2s on Saturday, with the 2s taking advantage of an off week.
On the injury front, Thomas Boyd is nearing a return from the ankle injury he suffered in preseason but Saturday may come around a little quick for him to feature. Rob Gamble will also sit out to make sure he doesn’t aggravate a slight groin strain but will come back in to contention next week. Adam McCusker is back from his wedding and honeymoon and has trained well this week so may feature off the bench.
Congratulations also to Mike Aspley for picking up Player of the Month for September 2019.