Clon’s Towns Cup target

by Karl Graham

CLONDALKIN RFC kick off their Provincial Towns Cup campaign this Saturday at 7pm as they seek the spark to ignite a fire under their league survival hopes.
The team impressed last year to finish second in the Leinster League Division 1B but currently sit bottom of the table this time round with three games left to secure their status.
Before all that, however, they welcome Edenderry to Clondalkin for the first round of the cup.
“We have had a ferocious run of injuries this year,” Clondalkin chairman Gerry Gilligan told the Dublin Gazette. “We had four guys selected for the Leinster Junior squad last year and we’ve had only one of them back playing this year. Naturally, because they were selected for that, they would be four of our best players.
“The team has been under-weight and, I suppose, lacking in confidence for the last while. A good game this weekend could give a bit of confidence because there is a lot of that, unfortunately, lacking with some of the guys at the moment.”
Edenderry play a division below their opponents this weekend but Gilligan believes this could increase the pressure on his side rather than relieve it.
“It probably adds a bit more [pressure] because we have everything to lose and they have everything to gain type thing. They are a level below us and at the bottom half of their league.
“Yet, the Provincial Towns Cup tends to raise the enthusiasm, particularly for real provincial clubs. It is the big event of the year rather than the leagues. You could see over the last number of years, the likes of Wicklow and Tullow winning, it generated enthusiasm in the towns.”
This time last year, Clondalkin were looking forward to some cup finals but this time around they could act as more of an unwanted distraction. However, Gilligan is hoping some of those injured will be back in action when the league gets back underway.
“It is going to be an end of season dogfight between Coolmine, ourselves and Portlaoise to avoid relegation and a relegation playoff.
“I was given the impression by the coach a week or two ago that he was hoping to have two of them back by the time the league resumes after the Towns Cup so hopefully that will happen. For his sake alone, I would like to see us survive this year”
Despite the first team’s troubles this year, Gilligan believes the future looks bright for the club.
“One of the big things we have had over the last 12 months is the underage. We have about three teams at Under-12s and two at Under-14s so the future is good. If we kept half of those players, then in five or six years we would be sitting pretty.
“But unfortunately a lot of them get to 17 and 18 they discover sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll and go to college or whatever it happens to be!”

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