Yesterday, Sunday 1st April 2012, Rathmines won Leinster’s top league, the Armstrong, by beating St. Benildus 7-1 in the final round. This was a comprehensive and truely convincing win, with only two draws conceded and six wins. (I will be posting a couple of pictures later today and showing you all the 8 move minature from Leon!). When the dust settled, we won the league by 3 clear points. Despite almost throwing away our lead over the final couple of matches, we pulled out our second-strongest result of the entire season just as it mattered most.
Congratulations to the entire team and substitutes. We managed to maintain a fairly consistent line-out all year which was part of the success of the team. Credit goes to Leon, captain, for organising the board orders to maximise our chances in every match.
Mel played board one most of the year and held his own with 7/11. Darren won a board prize in stunning fashion, winning 9.5/10.
Manuel won two crucial games, against Sam Collins and David Fitzsimons, which both boosted the team and allowed us to win those matches. Aside from that, Manuel was a really positive influence on the team, always reminding us of what’s important and providing calming advice throughout. Killian, aside from a little stumble near the end, finished very strongly on 8/11. No one would have been surprised if he had won a board prize. Leon only lost a single game all year and finished on 8/11 too. Sam didn’t lose a single game all year, including a last round draw against Gerard O’Connell on board one. He can rue a few missed opportunities. Thomas finished very strongly and ended on 7/10. His win in Phibsboro kept us in the league lead just as the team had its worst day. Tony couldn’t play the last two games because of the birth of his beautiful daughter Amelia on 11th March, but had accumulated 5.5/9. The subs Daire, Peter Lynch, Paul and John Delaney all played their part in helping the team over the line.
The Rathmines B team managed to survive in the league, comfortably enough in the end, due to a very strong end to the season. Well done to everyone concerned. In particular, Ian Maloney provided one of the highlights of the year for the team, beating Yuri Firstov in the last game to finish yesterday. I have only one word to describe the finish – GUBU. Ian held his nerve to record a brilliant win.
As for the other teams and their performances – I don’t have that news. I apologise to everyone involved for the apparent snub! If anyone can update me on how they did, do email me and I’ll happily post it.