Wednesday 17 January 2018

Morgan insists Terenure can stay on upward curve in Division 1A

James O’Neill has been a crucial factor in helping Terenure to enjoy a superb season
James O’Neill has been a crucial factor in helping Terenure to enjoy a superb season
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Back-to-back AIL promotions is a huge achievement in itself, but what Terenure managed to do this season far outweighed any expectations of the club.

Having sealed their place in Division 1B last year, Terenure, who are coached by James Blaney and John Coffey, went through the entire season unbeaten – winning all of their 18 league games.

Breaking records became common place for a team who completely dominated Division 1B and who ended up winning the title by a massive 23-point margin.

As well as that, they were the highest points scorers (514) across all four AIL divisions and boasted the best points difference (304).

According to the club's director of rugby, Ian Morgan, the platform for their unbeaten season was built in the second half of their Division 2A campaign.

"We actually only lost a couple of games last season. We didn't lose any games after Christmas, so we really wanted to keep that unbeaten run going," he said.

"We couldn't really be caught this season with about three or four games left to go, so having that winning record still intact was a huge incentive for the players and the coaches. No one took their foot off the pedal which is a huge credit to the values that the club have instilled."

Never in Terenure's history has a team managed to go through an entire season with a 100pc winning record and Morgan was quick to point to the character that the current side showed throughout this campaign.

"We were pushed close a few times," he admitted. "We beat Corinthians in their place at a point in the season when both teams were unbeaten. Teams began to lack a bit of belief when they played us.

"Buccaneers took the lead four times in the final game of the season, but the lads still had the character to pull the win out of the bag."

Terenure are captained by James O'Neill, a Limerick native who won a Munster Schools Senior Cup medal alongside Keith Earls for St Munchin's College in 2006.

Morgan acknowledges that Limerick has been one of the main areas that the club has targeted in terms of their player recruitment.

Another former Munchin's player, Fergal Walshe, also joined the Dublin side last season and they are keen for that trend to continue.

"The club decided to focus on Limerick-based players and that has really helped us," Morgan says.

"We don't pay any of our players. We work off the basis of trying to find employment for them. It's a policy that has really worked well.

"It's how most clubs operate nowadays. The club ethos has really come back in recent years. If every club keeps at it and develops, Irish rugby will benefit."

As well as the seniors' success, 'Nure's U-20s won the league and cup double this season, which bodes well for the future. But such is the drive of the club, Morgan says they won't stop there.

"The work that's being done off the pitch has been key to our success," he said.

"Rugby wise we are ahead of schedule, but you always have to refocus your goals. The coaches and the players will do that once again. I don't see why we can't compete at the top half of 1A next season."

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