2011 Des O’Neil Labour Day tournament one to remember
It was another great year for the Des O’Neil labour day tournament. It all started on Friday night with a welcome party held at Hurley’s. Many were in attendance and teams were rolling through throughout the night. Big numbers were seen by the Burlington Centaurs, the ladies of the Truro Saints, the West Potomac gents and the Connecticut Yankees. Fredericton Loyalists also made a strong showing once they arrived in town at around 11pm at night.
Saturday morning saw many of the same teams, as well as a bunch of other teams, come to St Julie to play three exciting games of rugby each. The rugby was good, the games were close… and yet, the laid back spirit that marks this event persisted throughout the day. On the men’s side, the Yankees RFC, West Potomac, Algonquin, Montreal Irish and the Loyalists all seem to be doing quite well. U de M had a strong showing, as did Sherbrooke. The day did belong to the Burlington Centaurs who went undefeated on the day.
On the women’s side, Bishops, the Loyalist and Saints combined all played some excellent rugby and finished close in the standings. Norwich and the Montreal Irish were, however, on top of the division and were set for a meeting in the cup final.
The day was capped off by a pig roast…
Saturday night was another good party. This one also started – and for many ended – at Hurley’s. The craic was mighty and the pints and shots were aplenty. West Potomac was out in force on the Saturday, and if they return next year, and we’re hoping they do, they will surely be strong favourites to challenge the Loyalists for their “Best social club” award won this year.
The centaurs then invaded Sir Winton’s up the street, and we can only imagine what happened from there….
We should also mention that the refs very much enjoyed being a part of the tournament and we thank Bill and John Weller for their help. Brian and Thomas, our friends from Ontario, were also fantastic and we very much look forward to having them back.
Sunday morning was a little wet to begin with, but the skies cleared up and the games were back on. In the men’s social plate, the Fredericton Loyalists, having beaten Sherbrooke earlier in the morning in a great game, took on the gents from Washington D.C. – West Potomac (pronounced West PO-TO-MACK by Mike Magee…). It was a great final and was close throughout with West PO-TO-MACK taking it on a late score. Congrats to both teams.
The women’s plate final was between the Saints and Loyalists combined, who had beaten Bishops earlier in the day, and the ladies from UPEI. Another entertaining final saw UPEI take the win and claim women’s plate award and catch their bus home with minutes to spare!
The women’s cup final was a rematch of last year : Montreal Irish v. Norwich. Let me tell you that as a rugby fan, this was a great game to watch. A close game marked by competitive play and strong tackling on both ends. In the end, a seemingly endless goal line stand by Norwich was the difference as they took home the cup. Congrats to both teams for the fantastic display of rugby.
The men’s cup final pitted the Burlington Centaurs v. Montreal Irish. This was another great final full of hard hitting, heavily contested breakdowns and good rugby. Weathering the attack from the Centaurs for much of the first half, the Irish were able to mount some offensive breaks and come close to scoring themselves. However, neither team could cross the line and the score was tied at the half. The second half saw some more open play and the Irish capitalized on a turnover in the Centaurs end to score a try (Isaac Salmon notched his team leading 200th try….). Burlington, sensing the game was almost over, brought the ball into the Irish end, and utilizing a strong attacking platform from the scrum, seemed to have crossed the Irish line at the end of regulation time… but, as he was touching the ball down, the Centaurs player misplayed it and the ball went through the back of the goal line. The ref blew the whistle and the Irish had won their tournament for the first time ever in its 30 plus year history. What a game.
The trophy presentation followed and the teams were given their various awards. It is worth noting that the Centaurs won the “Most offensive behaviour” award, to be renamed the “Burlington Centaurs award” for their general drunken, hilarious antics. West Potomac finished second in this category for one special story that is not fit for print, but resulted in one player being named “R. Kelly” … and not because he can sing!
In a fitting gesture, Mike Magee asked Rory O’Neil to present this year’s trophy to the Montreal Irish for winning it for the first time ever. What a day!
A big thanks goes to those who helped out this year, including:
– Erin, Monty and Chrystin for helping clean the clubhouse on Friday
– Mike Magee and John Dennet
– Ian and Diane Farr as well as Gisele Gordon
– John Weller
– Vicky, Emily and Krystal for all their help
– Gareth, Mark, Butch, Garry, Trevor, Jen and James
– Chris Smith and Seymour Ward
– To the people from both the women’s and men’s teams who helped out throughout both days -thank you. It was much appreciated.
And the biggest thanks goes to the following two people. If you want to send an email about how you enjoyed the tournament, I suggest you send to Sheena and Tim Ross whose help was invaluable. This tournament would not have happened without them.
– Dave Crandall