Boston Irish Wolf Hounds Match Report

Match Reports

Match Report from Texas
Sweet 16 National Playoffs

On the weekend of May 10th and 11th the Boston Irish Wolfhounds traveled to the now familiar environment of Ft. Worth, Texas to compete in the National Sweet 16's (Club division). First round opponents were to be the San Jose Seahawks, who play in the tough Northern California RFU. Success in the NorthEast championship ensured a high seed for the tournament. Despite a string of recent injuries, expectations of surpassing last year's performance remained high, and a large compliment of supporters made the trip to cheer on the team.

Day 1 May 10, 2002

Game day dawned hot and humid, with temperatures approaching 90. A very strong wind was blowing down the length of the field, promising to greatly impact the game. San Jose won the toss, and elected to play against the wind in the first half. The Wolfhounds turned the pressure on and San Jose settled down to play defense. Two John Dalton penalties were quickly matched by San Jose, and some desperate defending conspired to keep out a promising blind side break by Dalton and Jacob Mwafulirwa. With time ticking down, an enterprising break by Barry Bentley from a scrum put some breathing room between the sides, as Bentley took the ball in for a try. Dalton duly applied the conversion, and the score was 13-6 in the Wolfhounds' favor at the half.

Against the strong wind in the second half, it was the Wolfhounds' turn to defend, and things looked ominous when San Jose quickly tied the scores through their dangerous back line. Strong play from the Wolfhounds forwards ensured nothing would come easily for San Jose. Another try for San Jose was answered by two penalties from Dalton, and the last few minutes was anyone's game with just a point separating the two sides, with San Jose leading 21-20. Unfortunately it was not to be, as San Jose scored another converted try at the end of the game, to leave the final score 28-20 in the Californians' favor. The San Jose Seahawks progressed to meet Austin (TX.) in the quarter finals of the National Championship the following day, while the Wolfhounds would face the inappropriately named Cincinnati Wolfhounds in the consolation bracket. A quite talk from Coach Steve Teasdale ensured the following days game would get the appropriate attention levels.

Day 2 May 11, 2002

A much cooler and calmer day greeted both sets of Wolfhounds for the consolation game.

To their credit, both sided put their disappointment at losing the previous day out of their minds and played a high intensity brand of competitive rugby. Again the Wolfhounds (the Boston ones) played with the wind in the first half and again found it difficult to put the points on the board. One of the highlights of the first half showed Barry Bentley, playing in the fly-half position, weaving his way through the defense for a nice individual score. Despite this, the Wolfhounds had not left much room between the sides, leaving them with a lot of work to do in the second half. The Wolfhounds found themselves seven points down late in the game, with Cincinnati pushing for another score which would put the game out of reach. A huge effort from the pack enabled hooker Clay Gardner to steal two consecutive five meter scrums on the Irish goal line. One of these led to a movement the entire length of the field, culminating in Luke Garowski scoring a try. Another Dalton conversion tied the scores and the game was heading to extra time. The Wolfhounds character really began to show in the overtime period, with crushing hits from Aaron Zell and Paul O'Neill setting the standard. A rare Dalton missed penalty was covered up by the attacking Irish Wolfhounds, resulting in a try for newly created center and captain Jason Rose. That turned out to be the final score, with the Boston Irish Wolfhounds prevailing 32-27. Austin prevailed against San Jose in the winners' bracket, scoring a fine drop goal as time expired to take the victory. They will move on to the final four, where they will be joined by Hayward Griffins, San Mateo and Huntington Beach, all California sides in Pittsburgh early June

. That wasn't the end of the season however for the Wolfhounds, as the regional competition, the New England Championship takes place in Newport, Rhode Island this upcoming weekend (May 18th and 19th). Winners in 2000, the Wolfhounds will face some tough competition in trying to regain their crown.

North-East Play-offs 2002


Round 1 – Saturday April 20th


Boston Irish Wolfhounds….23  Albany Knickerbockers….7


The Wolfhounds were back in the North-East play-offs for the second year in succession.  The prize on offer was a place in the Sweet Sixteen of the US National Championship.  Four teams were in contention for two places.  In order to secure the number 2 seed in the country and avoid traveling to Sacramento to face reigning champions, San Mateo, the Wolfhounds would need to win two games in two days against two hungry teams…It was all to play for.


The tone for the weekend was set by the email sent to the team by Steve Durant the day before the playoffs were to commence.  Steve, in the way only he can, inspired the team to go and “enjoy the f… out of it”.  He encouraged the squad to believe in themselves and in their abilities and to remain focused on the moment.  There was also a quote from a Wolfhound great thrown in there… something about studs and their various uses.  The same Wolfhound great had the email taped to the mirror in his hotel room and, every time he passed the mirror you could see the smoke billowing from his ears in the reflective glass.


The team filed into the hotel without much fanfare.  It was clear that this was a team on a mission.  Straight to bed, not a rabble-rouser to be seen anywhere.  Up the next morning for breakfast and a team talk.  Coach Steve Teasdale calmly articulated the game plan.  The players nodded in agreement…still no fanfare.


Off to the field, it was raining, cold and blustery.  The field was 15-20 yards narrower than regulation – an advantage to any team that would have to face the pace and guile of the Hounds’ back-line.  The team changed and warmed up.  Steve gave his parting instruction and Jason Rose lead the team onto the field…still no fanfare.


The game started and the Wolfhounds drew a gain-line in the sand.  The gain-line was to be protected and that was that.  Albany was a physical side with a couple of Kiwi imports in key positions.  The early going was extremely tough, but the Wolfhounds were not long about imposing some control on proceedings…they did so without too much fanfare.


The game plan was flawlessly executed with Dixie Tyrell making astute decisions behind his pack, pinning Albany time and time again deep into their own half.  A key point in the game came when Clay Gardner was sin-binned for coming to the defense of Damien Dowling who was getting a bit of a kicking in a ruck.  Damien, interestingly enough, could not quite recall being the victim of the alleged abuse.  Regardless, Clay “the judge and jury” Gardner was going to the bin along with an Albany forward.


Shaq came in to temporarily fill the front row void and he announced his presence in no uncertain terms with a couple of big scrums and one vicious hit on an Albany forward who had reached his terminal velocity.  Soon after, the Albany number 8 was stopped in his tracks by a big hit from little Dayo.  The number 8 dropped the ball from the impact…there was a hint of fanfare in the air.


The Hounds unrelenting pressure, un-compromising defense and refusal to allow the game to be played anywhere but in their opponents half, set up a number of penalty opportunities.  John Dalton was more than up to the task of capitalizing on the sustained pressure.  In total, John Boy kicked six penalties and before Albany knew what hit them they were chasing the game.


The only blemish on a great afternoon’s rugby was a breakaway, intercept try (converted) against the run of play, as Albany eventually managed to register a score.


Captain Jason Rose demonstrated outstanding leadership throughout the contest.  He lead from the front all day, getting into the face and under the shoes of the opposition.  His troops had no choice but to follow their general into the breach.  The forward pack dominated their opposite numbers to a man.  Their efforts were well rewarded by a Chris Wheeler try, midway through the second half.


The backs played hard-nosed rugby making their tackles and cleverly varying the game by alternating strategically placed kicks with ball being crashed up the middle by Aron Zell who has a great future in the game of rugby.  Unfortunately the width of the field meant that the ball rarely found its way to Jabob Mwafulirwa and Frank Lupafya in space on the wings and thus Albany were spared the full effect of their devastating speed and power.


When the referee blew for full-time, the hounds knew they were going somewhere.  Could they beat New York the following day to ensure that somewhere was Texas?

















North-East Play-offs 2002


Round 2 – Sunday April 21st


Boston Irish Wolfhounds….17  New York….6

After the Albany game the Hounds had a couple of quiet celebratory beers and headed to an Italian restaurant located by the Wolfhound great with the alcohol-free car.  Vincent, the restaurant owner was a more stereotypical Italian New Yorker than a Tommy Lee impression.  He put a great spread in front of the team who happily carbed up for the following day’s test, singing a few bars of Molly Malone along the way.  Again, great restraint was shown, a quiet beer back at the hotel and the team was in bed by 10:30. 


The second game was played under much better conditions.  The Wolfhounds faced New York knowing that the North-East title was there for the taking.  The Hounds playing into a strongish wind at the beginning found it tougher to establish their patterns and fought a dour first half battle to a 6-6 stalemate at the interval.


John Boy kicked two superb penalties for the Hounds but nearly undid these good deeds with a moment of wanton willietonery just prior to the break.  The New York fly-half launched a ball from well inside his own half.  JB saw the ball had a chance to roll dead and expertly shepherded it over the end line.  The referee duly asked whether the Hounds would like a scrum back at the point the ball was kicked from (some 60 yards downfield) or whether he would like a 22 drop out.  Rosie sensibly elected to take the scrum.  However, JB decided it was time for some independent thinking.  So he mulled over the choices that confronted him…what do do?  After thinking for a period of time just a little shorter than his fuse, JB went for the cautious option – the ole “run up to the three opposition players standing on the 22 – take it quick – immediately lose possession and rely on Frank to make a try-saving tackle and their centers to mess up a five man overlap”.  It was a moment of epic madness that is the man’s trade-mark.


That being said, the Wolfhounds were beginning to hit their stride as the second half began.  The pack with Clay, Arlen and Wheels chewing up their opposite numbers were winning the scrums with ease – both their own and those of the opposition.  The line-outs were similarly being dominated by the hounds and Leo Leyes and Willie Tonery were wreaking havoc in the loose with Leo setting wingers Frank Lupafya and Barry Murphy off on sideline runs on numerous occasions deep into opposition territory.  Charlie Smith had made the most of the extra width added to the field with some great runs prior to being forced to retire with a hamstring injury prior to the break. 


The Hounds assumed total control of the game and their dominance turned into points with an inevitable pushover try claimed by Jason Rose.  The game finished with a sweetly-struck drop-goal from the left boot of Dixie Tyrell. By this time, President John Doody and the Wolfhound great were already booking the trip to Texas.


April 6th 2002 B side

So close yet so far, an unfortunate loss but a giant lesson for "da young ones". It was only two point separating the teams, close enough to wonder what could have if we only did this or that?

The game started very even with tries traded, but the opposition pulled ahead by half with two tries and a penalty. The "B's" scored two more tries in the second half - one coming in the last five minutes - showing that they refuse to give up. One can't help but think what would have happened in a full game of two forty minute halves.

Tries were scored by Captain Muffin (again), Burkey, Frank and Ken. Man of the Match went to hard working Mike "Two Bananas" Mooney, never thought I would describe a Limerick boy as hardworking.
March 30th 2002 B Side

The new look 'B' side showed that they are serious about the new season and will giving the 'A' side selectors some sleepless nights - not a bad situation for the club. This, combined with the good numbers we are seeing at practice makes for a rosy picture for the upcoming season.

With old and new players combining well the "Sweathounds" controlled the scrums and challenged well for all lineout ball. Looseforwards Powder Cleary, Providence Brian and South Side Joel recked havoc in the opposition ranks with the tight five following closely.

The backline showed some new faces in some new positions, not that you could tell from the playing. They breached the opposition line with ease and shut down any attack plan of theirs. Thanks to Charlie, Matt, Chris and Sang for helping out in some unfamiliar positions.

Tries were scored by Mike Mooney, Greg Bruce, Captain Muffin, Providence Brian and Texas Dave. Kicks were made by Barry Murphy, Mark Cole and Greg Bruce. Congrats to Man of the Match Muffin.