Ashbourne Under-12s had the honour of playing at half time in Saturday’s Heineken Cup pool match (Leinster v Scarlets) and what a day the children all had…

The team met at 1.45pm and were whisked off by coach into the RDS. There were very few signs of nerves from the kids as they were made aware of the massive game this was for Leinster, Llanelli, Ashbourne and Portarlington.

On arrival into RDS the team received Leinster flags, programmes and were shown to their seats and then went out for a warm up on this freezing afternoon. Kick off time 3.45pm (for main event) and Leinster came slowly out of the blocks but after twenty minutes took control. Ashbourne and Portarlington started to warm up and were chomping at the bit to get on to the pitch at half time in front of capacity crowd of 18,500 people.

A superb game by both sides from the start. Portarlington tipped off and put us under a lot of pressure but our defence at all times was flawless. We spread the ball well and all players played as if their lives depended on it and we were unlucky not to get a try early on however Portarlington were also unlucky not to go over in the dying seconds except for some superb tackling. The end game was (0-0) and probably a fair representation of the game and well done to both teams for the exhibition of lovely fluent Rugby.

The squad’s day did not finish there as they retreated off the pitch to their seats where we witnessed champagne rugby from Leinster doing a demolition on our Welsh neighbours. From there we departed the RDS and back onto our coach for a very quiet trip back to Ashbourne.

I am unsure if it was the mere exhaustion and excitement of the day or the dramatic episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants on video which kept the squad so quiet. Short of arriving home, we mentioned McDonalds for tea and that set them all off again and we descended upon our local McDonalds who were happy and surprised to see a hungry squad.

Well done to Leinster and to all our squad (those present and not present) and a Happy Christmas to all.

Bernard, Brendan and Colin would like to take this opportunity of wishing all our squad and their parents a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.