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Jake McMahon is helping to drive Gordon League forward

All Areas > Sport > Rugby Union

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Thursday, 13th January 2022, 09:00

Gordon League are enjoying a good season Gordon League are enjoying a good season

Ask anyone at Gordon League Rugby Club to define ‘dedication’ and there’s every chance they’ll answer quite simply, “Jake McMahon”.

Why? Well, that’s an easy one because the club’s head coach returned from deepest Devon not once, but twice, to train for, and then play in, Gordon League’s Gloucester One North game at Fairford at the weekend.

The 28-year-old has been on holiday with his family in Ilfracombe – he was there when he spoke to The Local Answer on Monday – but he travelled back to Gloucester on the Thursday to train with the club, returned to Devon that evening before driving back up to Fairford on the Saturday where thankfully, from McMahon’s viewpoint, Gordon League won 42-10.

That’s some 600 miles in total or, to put it another way, close on 12 hours of driving.

And while that kind of dedication will be mind-boggling for some, McMahon just sees it as something that was the right and proper thing to do.

The McMahon name has long been synonymous with Gordon League Rugby Club, of course, and that remains very much the case today, with family members on both the administrative and playing side.

McMahon’s younger brother Luke, who has just turned 25, is player/coach and Jake said: “Luke and I are really passionate about Gordon League doing well.

“We grew up at the club. We watched them play when they were doing really well in South West One and National Three, they were good days.”

And McMahon, who returned to the club as head coach at the start of 2020/21 after a spell at Old Cryptians, is determined to bring the good days back.

“This is my first competitive season back,” he said. “Last season was badly affected by Covid, we didn’t play many games.

“I really enjoyed my time at Old Cryptians but I had to come back to Gordon League, the season before last they only missed relegation to the bottom division by a point.

“They’ve never been in the bottom division before, Gloucester One is the lowest they have ever been, we felt compelled to go back.”

And the early signs are certainly encouraging for all Gordon League supporters because the club are currently second in the division and a win at home to third-placed Gloucester Old Boys on Saturday would further cement their position in the top two.

“We’ve got some of the older lads back but we’ve got a lot of youngsters too,” said McMahon. “Half of them are under 20, it’s really good.

“We’re just trying to get Western Counties rugby back to Gordon League, the players have bought into it.

“For the older players, they’ve probably got one last shot at it, while we want the younger players to play that level of rugby at Gordon League.”

And the way things are going, there’s every chance that they could.

“Sam Goatley, who plays at Hartpury, is part of the coaching team,” said McMahon. “He’s an assistant coach and he’s a family friend, he’s like an extended brother.

“All of the coaches are in our 20s so we’re still in touch with the game. The players are feeding off us and they’re running it from anywhere.

“We’ve not done one defensive session but we’ve got the best defensive stats in the division.”

Luke McMahon, a very good fly-half, has played a big part in the club’s on-field success this season, while Jake, a hooker, has played every game this season.

“I’d hoped not to play so much this season,” said Jake, who is also coach of Gloucestershire Under-17s. “Luke has been really good, he’s been scoring about 20 points a game,” before adding with a laugh, “He gets all the credit!”

It’s a team effort, of course, and happily everyone is pulling in the same direction.

“It’s a five-year plan and I’ve committed for the next three seasons,” said McMahon. “I want to get the momentum moving in the right direction in the next three seasons.”

And while winning is obviously very important, it’s not all about the winning.

“The main goal at Gordon League this season is to make rugby fun,” McMahon said. “We want to make people proud to pull on the shirt.”

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Jake McMahon is a driving force at Gordon League

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