Final 2017

Saracens have been crowned European Champions for the 2nd season in a row after they defeated Clermont Auvergne 28-17 in the Final at Murrayfield. Saracens beat Munster 26-10 in the Semi Final in Dublin and Clermont defeated Leinster 27-22 in France.

Heading into this Final, Saracens were favourites going into to this game and if with the power of the Clermont squad Saracens always backed themselves in the tight contests and so it proved this past Saturday with Clermont facing them in their 2nd straight Final. They were crowned Champions after dismantling Racing 92 in the Final. The squad that won that game was kept together with a key addition in the form of Schalk Burger.

All of their heavy hitters have been available for each game in this year’s campaign and they cruised through there Pool and the Quarter Final against Glasgow and although they were level at 6 all at half time in the Semi Final they still managed to find a way to grind out that result to set up the meeting with Clermont.

Mark Mc Call let Paul Gustard join the England coaching ticket alongside Neale Hatley and Steve Borthwick and moved Alex Sanderson onto the Defence coaches’ role. He also added Kevin Sorrell and Adam Powell to his staff and these men have been in and around the squad over the last few years and that made their transition to the coaching team much easier.

This Saracens side has been build up over the last 7 years where Brendan Venter started the turn around and before him current England boss Eddie Jones spent time at the helm of Saracens. This club has worked hard to put the building blocks in place to succeed and since Mark Mc Call took control the rewards have come thick and fast. They won the Premiership crown first and now they have added two European Cup’s to the trophy cabinet. The team is backboned by high quality England talent like Owen Farrell and the Vunipola brothers.

They are only the 2nd team after Leicester Tigers in 2001 and 2002 to win back to back titles and on the evidence of the last two years there is no reason why Saracens can’t win three titles in a row or even go a step better than Toulon and Leinster and win 4 European Cups.

Mark Mc Call has done great work with this team and now has the Premiership title in his sights as he prepares his charges for the Premiership Semi Final this Saturday. Mark Mc Call in my opinion has added to his coaching repertoire and will only enhance that in the coming years if he can keep this group together and add one or two more quality players to an already well stocked squad.

For Clermont , It is yet more Final heartbreak but they can have no complainants on this occasion. They were well beaten by a far hungrier side who could have beaten them several ways had they chosen to do so. Clermont have been here before but they seemed to have learned the lesson of previous campaigns in the Semi Final win over Leinster but they again met a far superior team in terms of how to get over the winning line in a Final… Clermont have only one French Championship win in the last 17 years. They have been second best in numerous Finals at home and in Europe.

 For Clermont its back to the drawing board and for Saracens the sky is the limit……


Cian Mc Gibney


Mam 2

Mom, since you passed away I have tried my best to get on with life not get held back by the fact you are not here anymore but the more I am told “It’s What Your Mam Would have Wanted “ the more  I have wanted to just have the ground swallow me up.

Even after three months of counselling there are still days and moments where all you want to do is scream and wake up from the nightmare that has been the last 8 months but you then realise that these feelings are normal and you begin to relax and see more clearly.

I am sure people are sick and tired of hearing my Mam’s name and I have done my best not to bring her name into conversations. I can actually feel myself taking on some of her traits and I am far more up front and honest with people which has been quite refreshing at times.  

Since last September I have changed as a person and I am far more in control than I ever have been which has been a huge help and I am really starting to be far more assertive with people. It still hurts me every day and people say it will get easier with time and that once the first anniversary rolls around you can move on and draw a line in the sand.  That is a load of rubbish….

 Given the relationship I had with Mam I have found it easy on certain days and then very testing on other days. I have spent days walking around like a broken man and then more days I am on top of the world but I suppose that is just way life is. Yes I realise Mam would not want me moping she would want me to go out and enjoy life.  I am for the first time in 27 years happy enough with my life. I will hopefully in time find things much easier and the impact of what happened will lessen as the years go by…

I personally have received so much help and support and I will never be able to thank people for all the kindness shown to me. I have so many people who genuinely care about me. That fact was lost on me for so many years It is only in the past few months that I have woken up to all the support and love.

 I thank each and every one from the bottom of my heart for the continued support and also a special thank you to all of those people who have let me hop in with them over the years aswell. I won’t name them because I would take up so many pages I’d be here for the night…. Thank You All


Cian Mc Gibney


Champions Cup 2017

This weekend will see Saracens take on Clermont Auvergne in Murrayfield in the Champions Cup Final. Saracens are looking to win a second straight title after defeating Racing 92 in last year’s Final. They will be well set to try and defend the title they won last season after their 26-10 win over Munster in the Semi Final on April 22nd in Dublin.

They have improved from last season and have expanded their game plan and look far more comfortable when they attack. They have a settled squad with players like Schalk Burger introduced to add an extra dimension to an already impressive squad.  

Mark Mc Call has done some terrific work with this team and although they have been caught cold a few times in the Aviva Premiership , in Europe they have gone strength to strength and will fancy denying Clermont Auvergne a first European title. Maro Itoje is one player who has grown over the past 18 months from a dominant player who captained his country at the Under 20 World Championship. He is really starting to show that he will captain his club and maybe his country very soon.

It will be a very tight final and they won’t be any quarter given and Clermont Auvergne have been to this stage in Europe a few times with no success , people feel Munster have had all the hard luck stories in the Champions/Heineken Cup but Clermont have had just as many near misses although they did manage to win a French Championship in 2010.

Since then they have added players like Remi Lamerat and Camille Lopez to the squad and these additions in particular have helped keep Clermont Auvergne in a strong position in the Top 14 and get to the Champions Cup Final , they were last here in 2013 where faced a Toulon side inspired by Jonny Wilkinson.

Looking to this weekend , players like Camille Lopez and the English pair of Nick Abendanon and David Strettle will need to be firing on all cylinders to help Clermont wrestle the Champions Cup trophy away from the men from Allianz Park.  

In Ireland earlier this year , we got to see some of the Clermont Auvergne squad up close and personal when Michael Murphy Donegal Footballer spent a week in Clermont-Ferrand getting to know the club and city  a bit better.

It was a good programme to give you an insight into how the club is run and the love the players have for the club and how they hope they can achieve big things while playing for the side.

Looking to the test they face this weekend , they have the players to beat Saracens but the one thing Saracens do have is previous experience of winning in European Finals whereas Clermont haven’t managed to get over the line but maybe just maybe this Saturday could be the day they change that fact !!


Cian Mc Gibney


Darkness Into Light 2017

Darkness Into Light 2017

This coming Saturday will see the Darkness Into Light walk will take place at a number of locations throughout Ireland in support of Pieta House and to show those who may be struggling at this moment in time that there is support there for them if they need it.

As many of you know I suffered a huge loss last September when my Mam passed away suddenly and in those moments, you feel lost and may have nowhere to turn but thankfully a place like Pieta House is now in existence and you can go to them for support if you feel you can’t go to a close friend or family member to tell them how you are feeling.

On three different occasions in the past few years I have been very close to committing suicide over a range of issues that I have now got under control and with the help of a counsellor over the past few months I have been able to work my way through several issues. I can now say that I am in a far better place for the experience with a counsellor.

The one thing I would say to anyone who is feeling low at this point in time is do not bottle up those feelings and please do not be afraid to come forward and speak to somebody and tell them how you are feeling.

I would for many years have been the one who said “I’ll deal with this myself and It will all be alright “ but as experience has now thought me you do need to speak up from time to time and make yourself heard and don’t stop talking and asking for help until someone offers support.

As life has taught me since last September, everyone needs help now and then and it certainly isn’t a sign of weakness to ask for help.

Take it from a person who has come back from the brink three different times, Suicide isn’t the answer to what may be troubling you. I have learned that since 2014 and with the support of family and friends I have been able to see that life is worth living and what’s done is done and there is no point in going back over old ground.

The Darkness into Light walk takes place this weekend on Saturday morning at 4.15am in Listowel and in other places around Kerry and across the Country. Come out and support this worthy cause.


Cian Mc Gibney