We were prepared for anything: Gear bags packed, water bottles filled, the finest rugby kits in the school freshly washed, Ethan was coming; we were set. A full squad ready of the top u16 rugby players in the school (also Sean) were going to Omagh to win. Then the match was cancelled and we had to go back to class, despite the protests of three of our players who had missed breakfast that morning. Slightly disheartened, but unbroken, we once again prepared ourselves mentally and physically to play a bit of rugby as a team, despite a change in manager from Mr. McNally to Mr. Spencer. Then it got cancelled and we had to go back to class, again, to the dismay of the players and the manager alike. The next day, tired, and desperate to actually get playing rugby, we headed to Omagh without Ethan (singing his wee heart out at the talent show) or Ronan Kelly (rushed to NowDoc after scraping his knee), taking the wrong kits and a size 4 ball instead of a size 5.
After an uneventful bus journey, we arrived at Omagh High School. We ran towards the changing rooms before we froze and found private showers and fancy changing rooms, with a side for the usual starting team and a side where Coran got changed. After 15 minutes of the pack doing their hair we headed outside to find the pitches were a bit closer to home than we'd have preferred. You'd have sworn you were back at Moss Road, with your feet 6 inches into the muck and visible pools of water on the other field. Truly, we were in our element.
We started out in a dazed state, with the pack seemingly having forgotten what a ruck even was. Omagh wasted no time pressing this advantage. Their 8 took the ball from the back of the scrum and ran across the try line, while Anton dreamed of Turf and Mark tried to figure out his new position. Once he'd copped on that he was meant to tackle the players running at him he quickly got into the game, followed swiftly by his 14 team mates. Pressing on, we battled our way through Omagh's defence and despite Jesse and Darragh's "Who can throw the most hospital passes?" competition, we made steady progress towards the opposition's 22. Flash ball out the backline brought us within yards of the try-line with strong running from new signing Daire Porter, Coran "Golden SCAR" Donaghy, Mr. Keyes, Aaron "500cc" Jaki and me, the U16s knock-on specialist. However, it was the pack who brought us our first try of the match, with Paul McCallion driving it right down the middle of the pitch in a manner not dissimilar to a man possessed. As a result, the conversion was so easy that even Darragh McCormick managed to make it over the posts.
But we were giving away too many penalties and after losing Daire Porter to a recurring head injury he's had since his brief MMA bout with Sean "The Rock" Carroll, Omagh easily took their three points. Half time came directly after, with Mr. Spencer giving us a rousing team-talk with some tips from "I play Ulster" himself, Stephen Kelly. Diarmuid was told to try and take fewer leisurely walks when behind a ruck. Dean Toitin was subbed-on for Tony, and Mr. Spencer explained what an offside was to Adam, who hadn't a notion before and had been dandering about the place without a care. Christopher Diver was called upon to play out the wing while Coran was moved into second centre in Daire's stead, the theory being that Christopher was so thin that Omagh wouldn't be able to get a hold of him. It didn't pan out, but we enjoyed trying it anyway.
The second half started poorly, Omagh attacking with renewed vigour and CCS defending with an older, staler vigour. Omagh's pack ran at us till we could move no further back. Their next try was inevitable and as they knocked it over the posts with ease, by a prop no less, CCS resolved to fight on as hard as they could. Not before giving away another try to the same style of rugby, however. Two tries and a conversion ahead, Omagh began to get comfortable, and we started putting the pressure on. Liam Crua came on for Paul McCallion, and seeing this, Omagh panicked and started giving away silly penalties just as we did. After deciding flash ball out the backline wasn't going to work when the hospital pass competition started getting too heated, our pack dominated possession. Scott's line break was supported by Tony Keyes, who brought play well beyond Omagh's 10 metre line. But fumbles in the rucks resulted in a turnover, and after an unsuccessful attack by the opposition's back line, the counter ruck was won by Inishowen’s premiere first centre himself. James Kelly took the ball from the back of the resulting scrum and ran straight for the try line, rather than his usual method of running sideways till he could run sideways no more. Scott opted to take the conversion this time as it was a bit windy and Darragh was intimidated by the scary boys running at him.
It was too little too late however and the match ended 20-14 to Omagh High School, CCS having to accept defeat. Although John M. blamed the pitch and Mr. Spencer blamed the defence, the true cause of our downfall was all too clear. RUCKS!
Sean Carroll: 0.35/10 Forgot he was there to be honest
Adam McCarron: 6/10 Big shift from the big headed man
Paul McCallion: 6/10 Good try, shame about the rucking
Tony Meehan: 2/10 Was cleaned in a ruck by a sixth class student
Diarmuid McCarron: 5/10 Enjoys long walks on the beach and standing behind rucks
Anton McLaughlin: 4/10 Forgot his arms at school
Mark Scott: 8/10 Should replace Sean O’Brian for Ireland
James Kelly: 7/10 The REAL Kelly
Jesse Callaghan: 4/10 Shovel passes are his specialty
Darragh McCormick: 6/10 Hospital passes for days
Coran Donaghy: 3/10 Too much FortNite, not enough rugby
Odhrán Cavanagh: 7/10 Actually caught a ball
Dáire Porter: 3/10 Faked injury to get off
Aaron Jaki: 4/10 Had no clue where he was playing
Tony Keyes: 7/10 Line break central
Christopher Diver: 5/10 The next Devin Toner
Dean Devlin: 4/10 Still not sure if he knows what a ruck even is
Owen McLaughlin: 4/10 Was busy doing turf and not training, it shows
Ethan Harkin: -10/10 Traitor
Liam Crua: 14/10 Played as expected
Shane Gill: 10/10 Unreal performance marred slightly by the fact he didn't actually go
Stephen Kelly: 1/10 Assistant Manager (kit man)
Mr. Spencer: 6/10 Was just happy to be out of class
By Odhrán Cavanagh & Mark Scott