Ardee Rugby Club was the place to be on St Stephen’s Day to run off all of those unwanted Christmas Day calories. The St Stephen’s Day match has been a long running tradition at the club and after a three year break due to adverse weather conditions (snow, frost and floods) a Sunny St Stephen’s morning was a welcome sight and everybody was looking forward to the matches.

Players young and old, past and present, from Ardee’s Senior team, under-19s and 17s teams, adult and youth coaches, referees, retirees and even a player from the under-13 team playing on the wing showed the togetherness and the club spirit among all involved in the small Co. Louth club.

The teams were picked at random under the watchful eye of Dan Malone who made sure you got the right hat to play for either Santy or the Elves.

With supporters, family and friends starting to arrive for kick-off, players had just enough time for a quick chat to referee Mick Lennon about the rules and points awarded for tries and conversions, The rules where simple, all the laws of the game and a new law… a punishment of the sin bin for 3 minutes if you pulled the oppositions hat off and if you scored a try you changed sides from Santa’s team to Elves or vice versa. Scoring was also slightly changed for the day that was in it. A try = 5 points but scoring with your hat still on was 20 points and a drop kick conversion by the player who scored was awarded 250 points.

A few team pictures, a big cheer from a noisy sideline and the match was underway. The match was played at great pace and speed and there were some great displays of skill of hands from both sides.

At the last scrum of the match there was a surprise back row substitution when Micheal Phelps who had been swimming in the River Dee for his winter training appeared on the side line in speedos and swimming cap, he picked the ball and went up the open side but was soon tackled by a very brave Ciaran Callaghan. Swimming trunks or not he wasn’t letting him break the gain line.

The game finish with a final score of Santas 350 v Elves 330 (27-22).

Susan was on hand serving some refreshments to warm everybody up after the match. Before the Brian Coleman Cup was presented to the winning team there was a moments silence observed for players and supporters who are no longer with us. Brian Coleman’s son Gary presented the Cup to the Santa’s captain Ian Steward who thanked everybody for for coming out and supporting the event.

Ardee Rugby Club raised 350 euro for Ardee Hospice home care. A big thank you to Ronan O’Brien and Barry Finnegan for help organising the day and a massive thank you to Brian in Dealz in Monaghan for his help and his donation of a spot prize.

Thank you to everybody coming out and supporting us over Christmas and throughout the past year. We would like to wish all of our players, supporters and their families a very happy and safe New Year.

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