Irish Rugby | Festival-like atmosphere promised to Terenure for #EnergiaAIL semi-final
Hospitality was also extended to supporters of Lansdowne for the meeting of the two teams at Lakelands Park with a kick-off at 2:30 p.m.
Mark Hamilton is one of Terenure’s team leaders. He is in his 13th season with the backstage side of their 1st XV and says it is a privilege to be involved.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ve met a closer group of guys, he told IrishRugby.ie.
“Everyone has bought into our goal this season. It is an absolute pleasure to be involved with them. There are huge capabilities in the first and second teams, but what really sums it up is how close they are as friends off the pitch. They train, gym and recover together, but they also spend time together away from rugby.
Terenure has worked hard over the past few years and throughout the pandemic to make Lakelands Park a welcoming place for everyone in its community with the right rugby offerings to match. Hamilton says this also influenced the mix of their 1st Men’s XV.
“There’s quite a few guys who came through the school of Terenure, but there’s another group of guys who didn’t and they bring a really good balance to the group. They would do anything for the club and they know what the club means to our community. We’ve had some close encounters already this season and that willingness and desire to represent the club has really stuck with us.
To like Clontarf on their half of the tie, Terenure College saw a real boost in support this season – one that helped lead the team all the way to the playoffs.
“The crowds were brilliant,” said Mark, who is also in charge of the Ireland XV squad. “It creates a buzz every game, not just at home but also away, as the away support has been phenomenal. Again, there’s a real mix of people who are new to the club, but we see all these minis, underage players and club parents really supporting us. The numbers have been huge and the guys are enjoying it so much.
It’s clear that success at the club isn’t solely defined by the fortunes of their AIL team. As Director of Rugby Ian Morgan said: “We have six men’s teams and one U20 team, we have developed offers for women and we have the Terenure Tigers team for disabled rugby players.
“Initiatives like our team of the month also help bring the club together as players from each team can be named. Coaches from each team attend a monthly rugby review meeting, they get to know each other and that helps with the huge buy-in we get from players going to each other’s games.
“The biggest producer of support is the players. They enjoy their rugby and they bring their friends. It’s a good place to watch a game, especially with the outdoor seating and the pizza truck. Most of our matches take place on a Saturday and when a second match takes place on the same day, you know there will be excitement in the club that evening.
“The coffee truck was a huge success,” says Ian. “It brings in people from the local community. They can walk around here, have a coffee and know they’re welcome at games, but people need to know when they’re on – you can go four or five weeks without an AIL home game and social media has been a huge help with that. People know they are welcome and know when the games are on. “
With great momentum behind the team’s results and a wave of full-voiced support, is there a risk of the players getting ahead?
“No”, says Mark Hamilton clearly. “Managing expectations can be difficult, but this team will continue to do what they have been doing. They are a grounded group and they take everything in their stride.
“A number of the squad would have been involved in the 2018 semi-final which we lost at home 22-15 to Cork Constitution and that will stand up to them too. I’m 13 in the squad behind the scenes but nearly 20 years of involvement with the club and they are the hardest working team I have ever seen.
While quality rugby between two of the division’s most exciting teams is assured, the ‘Nure pull out all the stops to ensure a full day of entertainment.
“We are bringing a marquee so that we can accommodate as many members of the wider local community as possible. We want Lansdowne fans to know they’re welcome too. The pre-game lunch is already sold out, but we have a waiting list and there will be plenty of food and entertainment options for anyone who can make it to the game. It will be a special day for the parish.
Terenure College RFC hosts Lansdowne at Lakelands Park on Saturday April 23 at 2.30pm. Admission (cash at the door): non-member adults €10, members/reduced €5 and children free.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE MEET
Saturday April 23rd
Men’s Division 1A semi-finals:
Clontarf v Cork Constitution, Castle Avenue, 2.30pm
Terenure College vs. Lansdowne, Lakelands Park, 2:30 p.m.
Men’s Division 1A Relegation Playoff Stage 1:
UCC vs. Ballynahinch, The Mardyke, 2:30 p.m.
Men’s Division 1B Promotion Playoff Semi-Finals:
Old Wesley vs. Naas, Energia Park, 2:30 p.m.
Highfield v Shannon, Woodleigh Park, 2:30 p.m.
Men’s Division 1B Relegation Playoff Stage 1:
Navan v Banbridge, Balreask Old, 2:30 p.m.
Men’s Division 2A Promotion Playoff Semi-Finals:
Queen’s University vs. Ballymena, Dub Lane, 2:30 p.m.
Cashel vs. Buccaneers, Spafield, 2:30 p.m.
Men’s Division 2A Relegation Playoff Stage 1:
Rainey Old Boys v Nenagh Ormond, Hatrrick Park, 2:30 p.m.
Men’s Division 2B Promotion Playoff Semi-Finals:
Greystones v Galway Corinthians, Dr Hickey Park, 2.30pm
Belfast Harlequins v Blackrock College, Deramore Park, 2.30pm
Men’s Division 2B Relegation Playoff Stage 1:
Galwegians v Ballina, Crowley Park, 2.30pm
Men’s 2C Division Promotion Playoff Semi-Finals:
Enniscorthy vs. Tullamore, Alcast Park, 2:30 p.m.
Skerries v Bangor, Holmpatrick 2:30 p.m.
1st Stage of Men’s Division 2C Relegation Playoffs:
Clonmel v City Of Derry, Ardgaoithe, 2.30pm
Saturday April 30and
Men’s Division 1B Promotion Playoff Finals
Old Wesley/Naas v Highfield/Shannon
Men’s Division 1B of the Relegation Playoffs, Second Leg:
Banbridge vs. Navan, Rifle Park, 2:30 p.m.
Men’s Division 2A promotion final:
Queen’s University/Ballymena vs. Cashel/Buccaneers
2nd Stage of the Men’s Division 2A Relegation Playoffs:
Nenagh Ormond vs. Rainey Old Boys, Ormond Park, 2:30 p.m.
Men’s 2B Division Promotion Playoff Finals:
Greystones/Galway Corinthians v Belfast Harlequins/Blackrock College
Men’s Division 2B of the Relegation Playoffs, Second Leg:
Ballina vs. Galwegians, Heffernan Park, 2:30 p.m.
Men’s 2C Division Promotion Playoff Semi-Finals:
Enniscorthy/Tullamore v Skerries/Bangor
2nd Stage of the Men’s Division 2C Relegation Playoffs:
City of Derry v Clonmel, Judges Road, 2.30pm
Sunday May 1st
Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division Final:
Clontarf/Cork Con v Terenure College/Lansdowne, Aviva Stadium, 3 p.m.