If it wasn’t for bad luck in Bruff, they’d have no luck at all. This week, John Hogan, who writes the Hooker’s Diary, details their latest woes
Last week I lamented about the spreading of the marriage bug amongst the Bruff team. This week however, the panel was feeling pressure from sources of a less spousal nature. Rather than being concerned with teammates’ Lady Loves, it was Lady Luck that was causing us the most headaches.
When this season started, we were already down half a team from the previous year, due to emigration, education and antiquation. The situation got worse this week, when a series of unfortunate events had me thinking someone must have a few needle-riddled voodoo dolls for selected members of our squad.
I’ll revisit the tail-end of last week for the start of this week’s instalment. It was on Sunday that poor old Paul O’Brien went to St John’s after suffering a leg injury against Malone the day before. Our winger spent a few hours in the hospital before getting an X-ray, only to be told there was no bone damage.
That would only remain the case for a few minutes however, as when Pauly was limping out the door of the hospital he stumbled and fell. One small step for Paul turned out to be a giant setback for Bruff-kind. A further X-ray, carried out a few hours later, showed that he had been successful in breaking a bone in his foot at the second attempt.
As if Pauly’s horrid luck wasn’t bad enough, the bloody marriages came back to haunt us again this evening. Our other winger, John Moore, informed the coaches that he wouldn’t be able to make this weekend’s game against Belfast Harlequins as he had a wedding to attend.
I really can’t wait for the day when it’s considered socially acceptable to attend a wedding by video link through your smart phone.
After this evening, you could also add Podge Clery to the list of Bruff players that are worthy of mention in your religious incantations. Tonight, Podge resigned to the fact that he would not recover from a dead leg in time for this Saturday’s game.
There was one shining beacon in an otherwise dreary week though, as our fullback Brendan Deady was named on the starting team. ‘Deads’ had been out of action since before Christmas due to a knee that doctors are fairly sure no longer consists of any cartilage at all.
A further piece of good news came this evening as our prop, Davy Horan - who had been suffering from a bout of flu all week - indicated he was much improved and would be able to take his place on the starting team.
Remember what I said about Davy? Scratch that. He woke up this morning, more fluey than ever, unable to eat a bite, and certainly not capable of playing a rugby match. In fact Dave was feeling so poorly that it was decided best to leave him stay in our hotel in Louth while we travelled to the game. At this point, I wouldn’t have been surprised if we lost a few players to spontaneous human combustion before we hit Belfast.
In a rare stroke of fortune though, we managed to get to Harlequins ground without anyone catching fire or acquiring any other inexplicable affliction. For the first 20 minutes of the game, however, we did encounter a collective and damaging case of ‘go-slow’.
We struggled to keep up with the pace set by Harlequins and, like last week, found ourselves with a mountain to climb after the first quarter with the score at 13-0. Matters weren’t helped just after half-time by Brendan Deady’s cartilage-free knee acting up and causing his early retirement from the match.
Bit by bit though, we managed to free ourselves from whatever shackles had held us back. Some teammates had more original methods than others of freeing themselves.
Take our winger Mark Cosgrove, for instance, who was a new man after vaulting over the hoarding during a break in play, to avail of the privacy offered between two cars to empty his bladder.
And while we didn’t all follow Cossie’s lead and start urinating freely at the first opportunity, a change came over the team.
Sadly it wasn’t enough to win the game but the final score of 26-20 was enough to guarantee us a bonus point. That puts us one point away from being out of the relegation zone with six games left.
Whatever your preferred method of acquiring good fortune - be it shooting stars, wishing wells, or novenas – you might keep Bruff in your thoughts over the next few weeks.
We’re due some luck at this stage.
>>> John also does a fortnightly podcast called Hoge ‘n’ Smith that can be downloaded on iTunes or from
www.hogensmith.com. He can also be followed on Twitter under the handle @thehogespot