Alone It Stands

Written by John Breen
Directed by Óran O'Rua
Performed in: dlr Mill Theatre, Dundrum 19 to 22 February 2020.

Alone It StandsThe four-day run was completed in the month before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all activity in the theatre.


‘Alone It Stands’, written by John Breen and originally published in 2004, is a play about a famous 1978 rugby match at Thomond Park in Limerick. It tells the story of what happened when the Munster provincial team played the New Zealand national team, the All Blacks.

Alone It StandsPoster and flyer image for the play.

The title of the play, ‘Alone It Stands’, is taken from the anthem of the club in Shannon, ‘There Is An Isle’. The significance of the match comes from the fact that the result, a 12-0 victory for Munster was the only time that any Irish team, national or provincial, had ever beaten the All Blacks.

A whole host of different fictional stories are woven into what actually happened on the day of the big match itself and the excitement and anticipation leading up to it. The play presents the personal stories of various characters and their connections to the game on that remarkable day in Irish sporting history.

A handful of actors play a wide range of roles including the Munster team, the New Zealanders playing on the All Blacks team, the two coaches, the referee, the crowd, the press, a pregnant woman, Bunratty singers, several children, a dog and even the ball itself.

Balally Players presented John Breen's 'Alone It Stands' for four nights from 19 to 22 February 2020.

Director, Óran O'Rua, wrote in the programme for the play that "Munster’s victory over the All Blacks was a huge event in the life of the playwright, John Breen, who drew his inspiration for writing Alone It Stands when he learned that one of the Munster players’ father passed away during the game against the All Blacks. From this piece of Irish sporting history tinged with tragedy, Breen has fashioned a funny, lively play in which both teams, plus fans, children, relatives and even a dog, are portrayed by a cast of six, with no props and only a half-time change of shirt. The very essence of life, triumph over adversity, runs throughout the play, from the opening words of the All Black’s haka, Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora! (It is death! It is death! It is life! It is life!) through to the ordinary people on the Munster team and their extraordinary achievement in defeating an otherwise all-conquering New Zealand side".

A copy of the programme is available here as a PDF file.

Alone It StandsAisling Uí Laoire takes a shot at goal.

Óran went on to say that "Alone It Stands was the Company’s third production of the 2019-2020 performance year, having previously successfully produced in October 2019 an evening of three one act plays, two of which were new Irish writing by Company members, and our long-running festive Christmas at Marlay variety show, which was performed in Marlay Park House in December 2019".

"Two of the one act plays from October went on to achieve success on the All-Ireland One Act Festival Circuit as well as local Glenealy and Bray One Act Festivals, scooping many audience, directing and acting awards."

However, the intention to present the remainder of the year's programme of activities up to the summer was prevented by the cessation of all theatre activities due to the restrictions which had to be imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual outdoor performance of a Shakespeare play around mid-summer, which had been planned for the gardens of St Enda's Park, was also cancelled.


Aisling Uí Laoire
Barry O’Connor
Peter O’Brien
Amy MacCarthy
Elaine Burgess
Seán T. Daly
Production Team for 'Alone It Stands'
Set Design and Construction
Costume Design
Lighting Design
Lighting Operation
Sound Design
Sound Operation
Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Managers
Poster Design
Óran O'Rua
Patrick Hand
Dympna Murray
Kris Mooney
Aoife Braiden
Óran O’Rua
Brendan O’Sullivan
Patrick Hand
Doris Cullen,
Carlotta Guizzardo
Aoife O’Toole
Máirín O’Sullivan,
Aisling Uí Laoire
SmugMug link
To download images, click on the SmugMug logo above to open the Gallery in a new window.
Photographs taken by Declan Brennan at the Dress Rehearsal.


A fierce face-off in the scrum!

Alone It Stands
Barry O’Connor, Seán T. Daly, Peter O’Brien, Elaine Burgess and Amy MacCarthy


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