Martin Woods

Tell us about your background

I was raised in Louth and schooled in Monaghan. I played GAA since I was very young, junior and senior county medals in my back pocket. I also played a wee bit of soccer. I started following rugby at young age listening to the voice of Fred Cogley and watching RTE during the 5 nations back then but never got to play the game due to the fact I grew up in a Gaelic football area and rugby would have been frowned upon.

What made you want to join Stillorgan-Rathfarnham RFC?

I moved to Dublin in the mid 2000s and I was involved in playing soccer, GAA and American Football over the years. By the time I got to think about playing rugby I was 39. I knew I would have regretted the day I hang up my playing boots if I had never played at least one season of rugby. So I reached out to a number of clubs nearby and SRRFC were the first to reply and were more than happy to have me come down and get involved in preseason. That was about 7yrs ago and I’m still here thinking I’d only get 1 season under my belt at my age

Who is your favourite teammate?

I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a favorite teammate. But there are people over the years that I’ve really enjoyed playing alongside and have watched playing.

One that stands out and I wish he was still playing ball is Sean Furlong. He reminds of a teammate from my GAA days who seems to have more time on the ball even though you perceive them to be not moving that fast, just good field awareness and playing with your head making lads miss tackles with a jink of the hips. Like myself he also loves a pair of shorts in the winter

Gavin O’Neill is another one has he gives it his all and leaves everything on the field. If you could bottle that mans passion we’d be playing AIL in no time

Then there are other great characters like Colman, the young man is a maverick. When playing scrum half and the 10 is calling plays it’s like he’s dice in his head saying if they land this way then do as the 10 has asked otherwise it’s Colman time!

Others I can mention are Chris McGuire always full of positivity and the same for Ozzy James. Great when you’re on the field with people like that

What’s the best thing about Stillorgan-Rathfarnham RFC?

Put simply the people

I have never known a more inviting and inclusive club than SRRFC which is a huge thing given I’ve played with many great clubs in different codes in my few decades

I’ll never forget my first training session it was August 2nd on a warm and sunny Tuesday evening at Three Rock. The first person I met and had a chat with was Steve Copland. He was totally sound and give me a great welcome to the club and then i got involved in the training session and all I could hear was Munster accents. I was like this is great they’re all Culchies like me but now and then Eoghan Kennedy would open his mouth to remind us all that we were still in Dublin

Who will you be supporting at this year’s men’s RWC? Who do you think will win?

Ireland of course, we’re in a tough group so it’ll be great to get out of it. It’s hard look past NZ and SA if you ask me. Even though they’re not at their best over the past 12 months I would still say NZ are the favorites

Any advice for people looking to get into rugby?

Just go and do it if it’s something you’re thinking about. I regret not taking it up when I arrived in Dublin first. I could have had 10 even 15 more years under my belt playing. You’re never too old!