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Bandon's rugby lads are hooked on bridge props

March 21st, 2017 11:55 AM

By Siobhan Cronin

Bandon Knit and Natter members with players from Bandon RFC on the bridge last Saturday. (Photo: Denis Boyle)

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RUGBY and knitting came together in Bandon last weekend, in a unique marriage of skills that hadn’t been tested before.

In preparation for St Patrick’s Day, some ‘local’ New Zealanders were encouraged to line out to help the Bandon Knit & Natter Club reach new heights. 

The knitting club are decking the town’s historic footbridge in knitted scarves, animals and other woolly additions, in an effort to mark its passing before being it is demolished later this year.  

Although the bridge will be rebuilt as part of the Bandon Flood Defence work, which is scheduled to start in May, some locals see the old bridge as an iconic part of their town.

They decided to give it a colourful send-off, by decking it in an assortment of plain and pearl creations in time for this weekend’s festivities.

The items were mainly made by people in Bandon but they had a couple of scarfs sent down from Dublin and Sligo too. 

And other knitting groups in Bandon, like the one in the library and St Michael’s Centre, also contributed, and Urru and An Tobairin even had boxes in their premises in order for people to drop in their pieces. While erecting their 80-plus bridge accessories last weekend, the members tackled the conundrum of installing their woollen delights on the higher elements of the structure.

And before you could say ‘scrum’, a beautiful marriage was born. The knitters and natterers spotted a group of burly men crossing the bridge and at once enlisted their support.  

They soon discovered that the gallant New Zealanders – Dan Swithenbank, Scott Mogford and Gareth Burton – are coaching 15 local schools, for an upcoming school rugby blitz.  

But last Saturday they were invovled in props of a different kind, when the local ladies spun them a story to entice them to reach new heights.

Of course, let nobody think that they were able to pull the wool over their eyes. But the men were nevertheless in stitches at the task in hand.

The same men will be on the squad for Bandon Rugby’s semi-final at home against Clonmel on March 26th and their new-found supporters are asking the town to get behind them with the social media hashtag #oneclubonecommunity. The lively Knit and Natter Club meet every second Thursday in O’Hara’s, famous for its fireside snug.

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