After much anticipation and preparation, the 48 strong Boyne RFC U12 touring party met at Dublin airport on Thursday January 7th at 3.30pm to catch our flight to Cardiff. The energy levels were sky high as players, parents and coaches checked in for our first trip abroad together. As we congregated at our departure gate, the U12’s eagerly looked out for their rugby heroes. Leo Cullen was the first to round the corner followed shortly by the entire Leinster squad. The men in blue patiently had their photos taken, signed autographs and chatted with their Boyne supporters and spirits were high. The travelling Boyne ladies also managed a photo opportunity with Rob Kearney. We boarded the plane for our short flight with the Leinster players up front and Boyne U12s at the back. We parted ways at the airport and the Boyne crew headed for our hotel in the centre of Cardiff.
The next morning after a tasty breakfast and short walk around the town, we headed over to the Millennium Stadium for our stadium tour which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Then it was a bus ride to Llandarcy, the Ospreys training ground in Swansea, where we played a couple of very tough matches against Gowerton Comprehensive school. The teams were well matched, the conditions were excellent and the Boyne players did themselves proud running in some very fine tries and working cohesively as a team. Dean Mason and the Gowerton coaches made us all feel extremely welcome and we would like to extend our thanks for their warm hospitality.
The next stop was the Liberty Stadium in Swansea where players and parents refuelled ahead of the big Pro 12 Ospreys v Leinster match. After a short stop in the “Fun Zone” in the stadium we headed to our seats. There we met Shane Horgan who kindly posed for photos with the group and chatted with the boys. Our players were called down to perform the guard of honour on the pitch for the arrival of both teams and they waved the Ospreys flags and enjoyed the sense of occasion. Despite the poor weather conditions on the pitch, our touring party made our presence felt as we sang, waved our flags and lifted the atmosphere at the Liberty Stadium. Even our fanatical Munster supporter, Sean Gleeson, was seen smiling and waving a blue flag! It was the icing on the cake to see Leinster take home a 9-22 victory and secure their place at the top of the Pro 12 table.
We headed back to Cardiff airport to catch a late flight home and the Leinster squad were greeted onto the plane with cheers, roars and rapturous applause. Our tired crew arrived back in Dublin airport after 1am with memories that we will all cherish for a very long time to come. Now we’re ready to start planning our next trip……did someone mention New Zealand.......?