From Emerald Isle to Sunshine State: Boys rugby excels internationally


By Michael Tierney, Business Manager

As the final whistle blows on the boys rugby season, the team looks back on an unforgettable journey that took them from the rolling green hills of Ireland to the sunny shores of Florida. Two of the team players represented the team in a national tournament, cementing their status as rising stars in the rugby world.

Despite an early playoff loss, the team had an exceptional season. Sophomore Roman Cammarata and junior Caius Michlitsch were selected for the annual Tropical 7’s tournament, a gathering of the best rugby players in America. Meanwhile, juniors Kieran Howell, Nate Moon, Jeremy Torreson and Liam Laffan and seniors Charlie Bascome and Rob Lariviere flew overseas to Dublin, Ireland to play internationally.

The team trip to Ireland lasted six days and gave the players the opportunity to explore Dublin, watch professional rugby matches and compete against Irish teams. The six players teamed up with the Downingtown High School rugby team against the Irish squads. Although they did not win any matches against the approximately 150-year-old Irish programs, Howell managed to score the only try of the trip for his team.“Scoring the only try honestly surprised me. They played really good defense, and I just pushed through them, caught some speed and ran it in,” Howell said.

Although that was the only score of the week for the team, the experience and knowledge they gained from the trip was invaluable. The strategies they learned proved to be beneficial going into the homestretch of their season.

“We brought several rugby techniques back from the trip. We were able to use some of them when we played, and the techniques really helped us out in the last game of our season,” Howell said.

In addition to playing rugby, the team watched two professional matches and explored the vibrant culture of Dublin, all while boosting team morale.

“Spending time with my teammates as a group was great because we got to learn more about each other in a different country while bonding and having a lot of fun,” Moon said.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, Michlitsch and Cammarata were battling it out against the top rugby players in America at the Tropical 7’s tournament. They played three matches each day, including one on the first day against an international team from New Zealand, which Cammarata considers to be the highlight of the trip.

“Meeting players from all over the world was an amazing experience,” Cammarata said. “The sport brought us all together as soon as we met and kept us dedicated throughout the tournament.”

This two-day event allowed Michlitsch and Cammarata to learn the more advanced mechanics of the game and expose them to what competition is like at the next level.

Using the skills they learned over spring break, the team went into the back end of the season with momentum, culminating in a playoff match against Gregory the Great Academy, who beat the team 47-7 in the first week of the season. After a shaky start, the boys were able to come back from down 20 points. They came up just short though, ending in a 29-26 loss to one of the top teams in Pennsylvania. Their valiant effort in the last match of the season serves as a beacon of hope going into next year.

“Everyone expected a blowout, but we came out and showed them the true potential we had,” Cammarata said. “We held our heads high as we proved what our team was truly capable of.”

Michael Tierney can be reached at [email protected].