Munster Rugby Open Training Session

 Posted by on January 6, 2011  Add comments
Jan 062011

I blundered out to Thomond Park today, to check out the lads doing the open training session.  I was a bit late, because of prior commitments, but I managed to snap a few nice moments with some of the boys signing autographs for the kids.

Good to see.

  32 Responses to “Munster Rugby Open Training Session”

Comments (32)

    Boy oh boy.. oh my.
    Great pics. Thanks Bock.


    Not bad for stab city.


    Better than Tullamore anyway. What do you do down there apart from shagging sheep and breeding Biffos?


    Your photos are as great as ever. You capture people like no other. Simply stunning. Really.

    However, what I always wanted to ask in this round:
    Call me ignorant, if you like – but what is the fascination with Rugby?
    Apart from rough looking guys fighting hard and ruthlessy, I assume…. (just a female fantasy…)

    I’m not into sports as such, but I do understand the international allure of soccer and do understand the meaning of GAA sports in Ireland.

    But rugby?
    Seriously, Id’ like some explanation from a brainy fan.

    P.S.: If this is a post just for rugby fans, fine, forget my comment.
    But then, couldn’t you start a post about preferences of sports, and why a quintessential English sport as rugby is so popular in Ireland?
    Right, thinking about it, soccer is quintessentialy English as well, but still dominated by Germans (har, har) and a world-wide obsession, or so I think…
    Not that I care. But I’m still wondering.
    Any enlightenment?


    Great stuff Bock. my Smallie girl spent the last of her Christmas money on a new Munster jersey yesterday, it was better than anything Santa brought! Fair play to the lads for giving the kids so much time!


    Carrig — Rugby is not a quintessentially English sport. It has been in Ireland longer than the GAA.


    Oh? How so?

    My research (as a writer) is such that rugby is English. But I did admittetly the research for a book on England and looked only for English resources.
    But then I did research Irish resources for any national games as well. There was no mention of rugby anywhere.
    And my very Irish and historically knowledgable friend is never tiring to explain that rugby is quintessenatially English.

    So what’s your explanation?

    Never mind that any ball games are common in any society one way or another. But rugby as such still seems to meto be very English.


    Rugby is older than Gaelic football (though not hurling). It was played in Ireland before the rules of Gaelic football were drawn up. Many of the Kerry football clubs were originally rugby clubs which converted to Gaelic when its rules were finally written. I realise that some patriots will be enraged by this statement, but it is nevertheless true.


    Bock – might be so, that rough ball games were played all over the world, or in this case, all over Europe and hence Ireland.
    But fact is, that the rules for some games are made by English school clubs, like for rugby by accident in the English town of Rugby. And the rules are valid even in Ireland, might the Irish claim they played it already in medieval times or not.

    You see that I’m not yet satisfied with your answer.
    Ball games might be ancient, but the current rules for special games (for rugby or soccer) are quintessentially English.
    Not that I mind if a game is English, Irish, German, Nepalese or Marsian. As long as the guys have fun.

    But I still wonder why rugby is so popular in Ireland, but only popular in some circles.

    Your explanation isn’t enough. Only because you say it’s true that rugby is older than Gaelic football, doesn’t convince me.
    I’d like some understandable explanations for it.
    Not to ennoy you but just to know!


    I don’t know what circles you have in mind. Could you be more specific?


    Bourgois circles, as in a poor translation of the German word “bürgerlich”. You would call it middle class, perhaps.
    That is, rugby is apparantly very popular in Dublin 4 and in wannabe D4 circles in cities like Limerick and Cork.
    To me it looks like an upwardly mobile sporty interest.

    But still, how is rugby older than Gaelic football?


    That has certainly been said about some places, but I think you’d need to refine your research before you apply it to Limerick, which is the only place I can talk about.


    I see Marcus Horan in one of the photos, was he training, and is he due back soon?


    I didn’t get there till very late, so I don’t know if he took an active part in training.


    Carrig as a rugby fan and former player allow mw to try and explain he attraction of rugby as a game.

    You are right rugby os and English game and Bock is right about various Kerry football teams being rugby teams. Rugby was introduced to Limerick by the British army stationed in what is now Sarsfield Barracks on Edward St. Limerick. The locals being seriously poor at the time (sounds familiar) grasped the game as a relief from the tedium and a change to beat the shit out of the gentry and the Brits, legally. I presume the appeal to Limerick men was that it allowed them to play a very physical game under strict rules and discipline. 1884 saw the founding of both Shannon and Garryowen still 2 of the biggest names in Irish rugby. others such as Bohemians, Young Munster, The Gaubies and Presentation followed. Limerick is unique in Ireland in that all “social classes” took passionately to the game and people were picked on merit as opposed to their class, hence Doctors and Dockers. Men of so called lower classes gained respect and esteem among the upper echelons and this lead in my opinion to a fairly open society. This could be seen to some extent by the support for the 1919 Soviet, but I digress. Today rugby is played just as passionately in Limerick by 9 city teams and by their brothers in Bruff, Abbeyfeale, Newcastlewest. The newest member of the family is Estuary down in Shannagolden just 5 years old.

    I hope this answers you query to some extent. I believe all above is true and accurate but open to clarification.


    Re the origins of rugby:

    Webb Ellis, who codefied rugby actually spent some of his youth in Nenagh (which is about 20 miles from Limerick). His father was in the British Army there. Webb Ellis would have seen the locals playing this ancient celtic game, similar to rugby called ‘Caid’. Gaelic Football is also a codefied version of Caid.

    De Valera played rugby to a fairly decent standard and was said to favour it over gaelic football because he felt it was a game suited to the Irish psychic.


    De Valera was an American, what did he know about the Irish?


    yay im in these pics :P
    twas an amazing day :)


    Eh, he may have been an American, but he grew up in Ireland so he might know something about the Irish psychic. I only point out his interest in rugby because it surprises most people to learn that he actually favoured an ‘English’ sport over one of the native Irish games.


    Carrig your questions about the potential “irishness” of rugby.. the basic story over here is that William Webb Ellis (the “inventor” of rugby) used to holiday in Ireland as a kid, specifially I think north Tipperrary. As such he would have witnessed games of cáid which was the precursor to both rugby & gaelic football. Cáid was played between parishes, and the ball was carried rather than kicked, and with the ball carrier being tackled etc.
    When he went back to school in England he got the idea of trying cáid tactics during a football game, and thus rugby was born.
    In terms of the middle/upper-class element, that perception arose from the cultural history.. in England it is/was a public school sport, in Ireland GAA players were not allowed to play any english sports, and those working for the english “overlords” were not allowed to join GAA clubs (both rules of the GAA). A large part of the rugby player development cycle involves their school background, and a lot of those schools would be seen as upper middle class except for those in Limerick. A large part of the toffs image is being done away with particularly with the success of Munster and the fact the majority of the munster players not being from the type of background that is perceived to be the stereotype.


    GN, i’m only ballhopping.


    Good ballhopping for a No. 8!


    I’d like to know more about this Irish psychic.


    Maybe GN meant Devs Irish Sidekick?


    That sidekick of Dev’s always fooled the full-back.


    Bock – stop right there – Freud reckoned the Irish race were immune to psychoanalysis apparently so I wouldn’t waste your time on that one. You could try Irish Psychics On Line, but I hear they are a bit costly.

    by the way – nice pics.


    Was a great day,lovely to see so many kids enjoying themselves and cheering on the lads.It was very cold but kids and parents held tight. It was more than just reward when the lads greeted them and gave of their time.

    Was nice also that the supporters club gave a number of flags to be given to kids along with reflectors. Hopefully this will become an annual event.
    Fantastic pics Bock.


    brilliant pictures Bock, well done

    afaik, DeV was in school in Rockwell and would have been introduced to the Munster version of game (hehe)


    It would be interesting to know what The Citizen thought. Does anyone have David Norris’s number?


    Carrig, the current popularity with rugby is simply down to good marketing which Munster are extremely good at. The current crop are on somewhat of a downward spiral. In fairness, it is very hard to continue at such a high level but hopefully the next couple of heineken games will give somewhat of an uplift. A successful team, at whatever sport, will garner a following (some might call it a bandwagon) but whatever is good for Limerick is good enough for me. Rugby at this level is now all about the money and marketing a brand. The next year/2 years will be crucial. The same amount of money is simply not there to hand out 40/50 euro to a game when it can be viewed on tv for little expense. Whilst I enjoy watching rugby, I would not be happy to see any son of mine playing due to the physical intensity now required at this level. I don’t beleive that the human body is made to endure the physicality of the tackles now an intrinsic part of the game. It can be brutal to watch at times. Some of those players are going to suffer long after their rugby careers are over. George Hook stated on tv last year that some player is going to be killed on the field and I think he is right. It’s all about the money, tv rights, sponsorship, perceived glamour but the real Limerick rugby fan knows it’s all about the Club. Ask anyone in Bruff this week after their historic win. Limerick is a great sporting city and county and we should acknowledge all our amateur sporting clubs be it G.A.A, Soccer, Rowing Clubs, Boxing, Athletics,etc. We have some of the best athletes and by comparison with other counties, the best sporting facilities and best supporters. By extension, we should be encouraging all the children to get involved in whatever other sports are out there and get them away from the rugby hype because very few will make it at this level. They should be encouraged to support their local club, whatever it is. Unfortunately, all sporting clubs are struggling financially and cannot afford the marketing that Munster rugby can. Nevertheless, a healthy interest in sport is to be encouraged and will prove to be an asset for life.


    Limericklass, I’m a bit confused by your post. You say that you enjoy watching rugby despite the fact that you claim somebody will be killed on the field. A tad masochistic, no? You won’y let your son play in case he gets hurt, would you let your son walk to school, he may get knocked down. You’re judging rugby from viewing the pro game where roughly 1% of all players are skilled and good enough to play. Your son would most probably play club rugby which you seem to embrace by recalling Bruffs excellent win last weekend. Then you say that children should be quided away from rugby incase of disapointment at not making the big time. I think kids should play as many sports as they want while they can and before thay have to decide on which one to concentrate on. However if you encourage kids away from rugby where are the next 1% going to come from. No Munster team means a serious blow to the local economy. Local clubs are not about marketing and in my experience do not have a marketing budget. Local clubs are about local people and volunteers putting a team on the pitch every week and going through the turmoil of emotions when winning and losing, something no pro game will ever replace. You’re right about the bandwagon.


    No 8, I think I was a little confused at 3.25 a.m. after being out! I would have no difficulty and would encourage all kids to play rugby at Club level. It’s the sheer physical intensity at pro level that scares me. I accept the players are skilled but I wonder what toll will it take on them in the long term. My son played rugby, soccer, Gaelic football and hurling. Concentrated on the hurling and has had a fair number of knocks from all of them which is part & parcel of sport. Definitely a strong Munster team is vital to the local economy but I would like to see kids wearing Club jerseys as well.

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