2005-07-29 / Sports

Youth Is Served As Young Fisheads Defeat Seniors

Shilelagh Law performed at the Irish Festival after the game.

The Rockaway Junior Fishead “Young Boys” Rugby Club showed up this past Saturday with something to prove, and prove it they did, handing the Senior Fisheads a 39-25 defeat. Wearing green and white jerseys emblazoned with the phrase “Prove It” on the back, the youngsters took it to the old timers with speed and youthful enthusiasm.

The popular wisdom favored the old timers guile and experience over the speed and athleticism of their younger opponents. The experts were wrong. After jumping out to a big lead in last years match and letting it slip away late to a 36-36 draw, the win was especially satisfying this year for the youngsters.

“I hope that finally shuts Tufano up” said the ultra-talented Danny Lunny, referring to veteran Fishead and professional chop-buster Phil Tufano after the match. “He’s been riding us for a year about not showing up, showing up late etc. I know he only wants us to become more reliable team members. But he gets on our nerves and it was nice to beat them, him especially.”

Tufano’s reaction was subdued as he was clearly tired and eating some humble pie after the game. With sweat cascading down his massive bald head, he had this to say: “That’s what should happen when teenagers and 20 somethings play guys nearing 40. It only illustrates what I’ve been saying for the last year. If more of them showed up on a regular basis we would be an unstoppable club in Division 2. Instead of a perennial play-off club that always comes up a hair short in the biggest matches, we could be champions.

We need them to commit fully.  Old guy power and young guy speed is a tough combo to beat. We compliment each other well but we need them to show up in larger numbers on a more regular basis. At the end of the day, this is all just for fun and we do this once a year. We are all teammates and I hope they will grace us with their presence on more Saturday’s during the season. We definitely need them.”

The match played out like Clydesdales vs. Thoroughbreds as the old timers had the clear edge in power and dominated all scrummages, rucks, mauls, and most lineouts. Callahan and Curly tried valiantly but they were no match up front for Tim Kelly, Mike the Russian, and Jim Turchiano.  When the big plowhorses had the ball, they were generally able to power it into scoring position. The match was close at half, with the youngsters leading 17-10 courtesy of some slick running and passing. The speed of Lunny, French, Crazy legs and the young “Irish Boys” duo was being contained but still breaking loose enough to keep the old guys gasping for air.

The youngsters were also tackling effectively, and even Paul OLAY!! Pace made a few good sticks. The normally less physical Pace had an edge to him on this particular Saturday and his usually half- hearted tackling efforts were galvanized with a fierceness rarely seen from the “Kick and Chase” expert. That fierceness seemed to be contagious, for even though they were no match for the old timers in the physical aspects of the game, they never stopped chopping away at the seniors and it paid dividends late. It didn’t help the seniors when Grouch McCann arrived late and almost immediately found himself in the “Sin Bin” forcing the seniors to play a man down.

The old timers seemed confident they would wear the youths down in the 2nd stanza and didn’t appear concerned. They should have been. The hot sun began to take its toll almost immediately in the 2nd half as the senior side began to tire and the kids scored a few quick tries to put the old men in a hole. Down 27-10 and wilting in the heat, all appeared to be lost for the seniors.

When Grouch McCann was released from the familiar confines of the “Sin Bin”, however, things began to turn around. The old men were able to summon up some of the old “rough stuff” and used Dave “Rat Man” McGowan, Arthur “Ooch” Boylan, Tim Kelly, Phil Tufano and Mike ther Russian to their advantage.

A lineout win by McCann at the young guys 40 meter line resulted in a 40 meter maul, driving the Grouch to paydirt. Shortly afterwards, a gassed Tufano summoned up a late burst of energy, taking a misplayed ball off Kelly’s back for a circus-like catch and run for a score. Kermit Egan and Bob Johnson were directing the seniors brilliantly and with the affair narrowed to 32-25 and a few minutes remaining, shades of last year’s late collapse beginning to loom in the minds of the youngsters.

Lunny and company decided that enough was enough. With the seniors threatening deep within the young boys end and on the cusp of tying the match, the young boys snatched a loose ball, then juked and jived 70 meters with sharp passes to put the old dogs to bed. Youth was served in a most spectacular climax as the youngsters put the finishing touches on a well deserved win. Both sides were gracious after the match and vowed to be a more effective combined unit in the fall. Here’s hoping they will be. Two parts of a potentially great team gave it their all for 80 minutes as opponents this past Saturday. Let’s see them do the same together, and stick it to Met Union Division 2 rivals this fall!       

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