Clontarf President Blayney Russell, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, Under-9 Clontarf player Kealan Feeney, club chairman Geoff Curran and IRFU president Martin O’Sullivan on the day

LAST Saturday proved a day to remember for Clontarf Rugby Club as the Bulls officially opened their new state-of-the-art 4G pitch and the senior side retained their lead at the top of the Ulster Bank League Division 1A.
The club’s new immaculate playing surface was shown officially opened by Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt and IRFU president Martin O’Sullivan before the Division 1A clash against Galwegians, which Tarf won 16-9.
Speaking on the morning of the opening, Clontarf Rugby chairman Geoff Curran commented: “This new all-weather facility is the biggest development in the long history of Clontarf FC. It is a result of our club members and the local community pulling together to allow us to produce a state-of-the-art playing surface.
“As a result, our playing membership has increased across all levels and we now have 700 mini rugby players out playing rugby every weekend.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in making this happen and we are delighted to have produced such a fantastic sporting facility within our community for future generations to come,” added Curran.
Also speaking at the official opening of the pitch, Clontarf, Leinster and Ireland prop Cian Healy said: “The new pitch should really benefit the club long term, as it means there should be no more cancelled training sessions or matches and it will give kids and older players the chance to improve their skills and play a brand of running rugby – something I’m a big fan of!
“I remember playing on the old back pitch during my minis and youths days with Clontarf, and in the very depths of winter you would struggle to find a blade of grass on it due to wear and tear and the usual Irish weather.
“I just wish that such a facility as this was available when I was younger – and I’m sure my Mam does as well, as the amount of mud that she had to clean off my gear back in the days was mental!”
Clontarf didn’t let down the masses who turned up for the opening when they took to their new pitch. The only try of the game, which came via strong-running centre Matt D’Arcy proved to be the difference in a tight encounter with the Galway side. A couple of Rob Keogh penalties put the hosts ahead early and it could have been more but for two efforts which hit the woodwork.
The north Dubliners began to dominate the ball and were rewarded when D’Arcy spotted a gap and exploited late on in the first half to go over for a try which Keogh converted. Galwegians hit back with a penalty before Keogh struck again with three points two minutes before the break to leave the score at 13-3 at the break.
Galwegians pushed hard in the second half but could only add six more points while Keogh kicked another penalty to seal the points late on.