COMETH the hour and cometh Tullamore Rugby Club. With an All-Ireland League Division 2C relegation play off looming over them if they didn't get the win on Saturday, they turned in a massive second half of rugby to beat City of Derry 24-18, having trailed 8-5 at the break.
Played in front of a big home support at Spollenstown, they picked up a try scoring bonus point win which made them safe from the drop and kept them a senior rugby club.
The resilience shown by the players and the club in general to hold on to their senior status in the last few years has been incredible.
Saturday proved a massive day for the club as they not only staved off a possible relegation but they also welcomed Irish sevens star Jordan Conroy back to the club for the game while Irish Women's International and another former Tullamore RFC player Ailsa Hughes presented the club with an Ireland jersey.
Speaking on the events of last Saturday, Tullamore RFC president Donal Milne admitted that it was hard put it into words what it meant to the club to remain in the All Ireland league.
“You can't put into words how important that was for the club. To stay Senior with such a young team and with the lads that are coming through – they have two years under their belt now playing Senior Rugby so the hope now would be that they will push on.
“They were very unlucky with some of the results this year. We were in the position we were in but had it been for the bounce of a ball and stuff like that throughout the season, we could have been in a different position.”
Tullamore have a long tradition of producing top class players and two of those were back to the club on Saturday to join the rest of the club on their big day. Jordan Conroy and Ailsa Hughes both played big parts of their Rugby careers at the club and Donal Milne was delighted with the contribution they made to the day as well.
“Having Jordan and Ailsa there as well. The amount of players that come through our club and go on and play for other clubs but you take Jordan Conroy now who is on the verge of becoming a world superstar and he came up through the club and he spoke very well on the day. We had Ailsa Hughes presenting her Irish jersey as well. It was all very positive on the day.”
See report on page 62 and picture special from the club's end of season gathering on pages 60 and 61.