BUCCANEERS got the better of Bruff RFC, the rain bucketed down and our columnist John Hogan came off second best with a temperamental cow. Just another typical week, really.
Unlike the rest of this County’s senior clubs, Bruff RFC is located outside of the city in the idyllic surroundings of South Limerick where the grass is greener, life is a bit more slow-paced and the folks are salt-of-the-earth types.
The only disadvantage to our being situated in “Limerick’s Garden of Eden” has been that we have always had to travel quite a distance to play any other clubs. While the likes of Young Munsters, Garryowen and Old Crescent are all within spitting distance of each other, throughout our illustrious underage careers we had to undertake long journeys to hand out beatings to the city boys.
As time went on though we got used it and the prolonged journeys into Limerick just became another element of being a Bruff player, like having to play in a bright yellow jersey and mercilessly mocking those – such as this very misfortune - who didn’t have the common decency to go to secondary school in St Munchin’s. However irritating the drives to Limerick were in our formative years though, they were nothing compared to the travelling we have been forced to do this year as part of our fixture list in Division 1B.
Not one of Munster’s 14 other senior sides are in our division this year. Our league does, however, boast no less than five teams from Northern Ireland, which means bussing up and down the length of the country on five occasions this season - always a delight.
Such is the lack of Southern representation in Division 1B that this weekend’s fixture against Buccaneers in Athlone was the closest we would come this year to a local derby.
I did no favours for Bruff folks’ salt-of-the-earth reputation or my health this evening, when a punch aimed at the arse of a cow sent a painful shudder right up my arm and into my shoulder.
Allow me to provide some context.
After recently returning to college, I have reacquainted myself with the family farm and in particular with the milking parlour. On a few occasions a week I’ll milk the cows in exchange for some pocket money from parents who were convinced they had their hands washed of me at this stage.
As my fellow farmers will know, cows aren’t always the most intelligent, obedient, or understanding – especially when you’ve started milking them late and you’re in a rush to get them all done before it’s time to go training. In just that scenario this evening, I attempted to encourage one of the friesians to get a move-on by delivering an ill-advised smack to her rump after she failed to realise it was time to leave.
Gents, it turns out truly nothing good ever comes from smacking a female’s behind, no matter what the scenario. I winced and clutched my shoulder, cursing my luck at having sustained the most ridiculous injury of the season. To make matters worse, the cow didn’t even budge, instead choosing to turn around and send a mocking ‘moo’ in my direction.
I couldn’t bring myself to disclose my bovine-inflicted injury to our physio at training on Tuesday or this evening. Thankfully though the pain had subsided and my range of motion had returned almost to normal without treatment.
The bloody cow is still walking around the farm like she owns the place though. I am desperately hoping that her victory over me doesn’t serve as a catalyst for an all-out revolution by the rest of the herd and have advised my father to be vigilant in the coming days.
Athlone was as welcoming as ever with rain bucketing down for the Friday evening fixture, as though the Lord himself had just broken the seal for the first time on a big night out.
The opposition was as accommodating as the weather and not for the first (or second or third) time this year, we played below ourselves. Although we were in with a fighting chance of getting a bonus point at the end, two converted injury time tries for Bucc’s sent us packing back to Limerick dejected and with a lot of questions to ask ourselves.
Belfast Harlequins are up next and a win is essential for us to remain out of the relegation zone. Hopefully next week’s report will feature an account of a Bruff victory and not one of a ‘cow coup d’etat’ led by my tormentor.