Bruff know only too well how difficult a road will lie ahead to get back to the AIL should they lose this Saturday at Kilballyowen and fall to the junior rugby ranks for the first time in fifteen years.
The County Limerick club finally won promotion to the senior leagues back in 2004, following their third attempt in three years. Senior status ensured that some of the club’s top stars could return to Kilballyowen and a meteoric rise was to follow.
It didn’t take Bruff long to show that they were a club with serious ambition when they lifted the division 3 title in 2007, followed by promotion to division 1B in 2010.
Those successes were to be trumped by a famous Munster Senior Cup win over Garryowen in 2011 at Thomond Park, followed by a historic Bateman Cup win over Dungannon.
Since then Bruff have fallen down the divisions in the Ulster Bank League and will need to fight tooth and nail this weekend to ensure that all of the hard work and dedication doesn’t end in a return to junior rugby.
Division 2C was something of an anomaly this season with just twenty eight points separating top spot from bottom, to put that into context, eighty two points separate top from bottom in division 2B.
Bruff’s points tally of thirty nine would have seen them nowhere near the relegation playoff place in past seasons, in fact they would have been twelve points clear last season and thirteen the season previous to that.
Regardless of the statistics the famous club find themselves facing into a massive clash this Saturday when they welcome Bandon to Kilballyowen. The Cork club are in the same position as Bruff were back in 2004, one game away from their first ever stint in the AIL.
Bandon will be hoping to add to an already famous year for the club, with their U18 side recently crowned All-Ireland Cup Champions.
A victory against the Limerick side will see us promoted to senior ranks for the first time in our history.
— Bandon Rugby (@bandonrfc) May 1, 2018
The man tasked with orchestrating Bruff’s safety is head coach Eoin Cahill, one third of the famous ‘brothers Cahill’. The former player returned to the club as player/coach following their promotion back in 04′ off of the back of winning three AIL titles with Shannon and had a massive hand in Bruff’s rise through the domestic rugby ranks.
Cahill has had a relatively young squad to work with over the past few seasons and lost his captain John Hogan earlier this season as the hooker was forced to retire due to a neck injury after 25-years with the club.
The Bruff boss will now hope that he can rally his troops against a hungry Bandon side this Saturday (2.30pm) for what will be one of the biggest games in the club’s storied history.