Colm Kavanagh, known as Collie, sometimes mistaken for Michael Carruth, (the Irish Gold medal boxing Olympian) or Neil Jenkins (Welsh Kicking coach), is the J4/5 go to guy.
Collie went to CUS and played prop. After school he joined Guinness RFC where he learnt the true art of propping and he played there until he retired. He is an old school prop, saying that some of the best games he ever played he never touched the ball.
He came to St Mary’s when he brought his son Adam up to mini rugby. At first he was a supporting parent, giving out advice from the sidelines. His brother Alan had played for St Mary’s on the wing from U19s so Collie had a connection to the club. It wasn’t until Adam went to youths that Collie got into coaching. I asked him to come on board as a scrum coach and that started his love affair with the club. The parents of the youths get to know each other as they are up at training and at matches on a Sunday morning all over Dublin, Meath, Louth and beyond in the Metro leagues . This is where Collie was to meet his future wife Cathy. She had brought up some cake that she had made to share with parents on the sideline. Once Collie had tasted her cooking he knew she was the one for him.
Stephen Boden, Karl Kelly and Dermot Dalton were also parents from youth rugby who got involved. Stephen organised an unforgettable youth trip to Ghent (Belgium)with our U18 team in their final year. Some great memories of the Ghent sightseeing tour can be recalled by Collie and his knees.
When Collie got involved helping with the J4/5 squad we had a pre season trip to Bruges in Belguim. This is where Collie got to know all the lads and he alone stood up for St Marys Pride in the drinking and dancing challenges at the post match celebrations .
He can be seen most nights in the club getting training balls, bibs, water bottles, jerseys etc ready for his squad before they train. He is their bagman, physio, gear man, mentor and supporter.
Collie always arrives hours early before a game and makes sure every jersey is hanging from a hanger in the dressing room. Water bottles are full, medical bag is ready and the referee spoken to politely.
Collie is always early because he hardly sleeps. As he says himself, only 3 more sleeps til Christmas. He is totally committed to the squad, sometimes attending both squad games of a weekend.
On Saturday the J5s will play Monkstown in the Div 10 league final. Having lost to them at home and beaten them away this in anyone’s game.
This is the 3rd league final in a row for the J5s. In 2017 they lost to Clontarf at home. In 2018 they won against The Kilkenny Norman’s in a thrilling final in the club and hopefully will win this Saturday under the captaincy of James Casey at No 8.
But no matter what happens, win, lose or draw, they will have Collie on the sidelines as ever to help.