1st XV v Blackrock (A) by D O’Brien 04.10.2015
Blackrock College RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1 B
3rd October 2015
Most would prefer a simmering win to a bubbling defeat. The game never boiled but was intriguing none the less and the last three or so minutes nerve piercing. Rock have a well-balanced side with a strong pack and the two sides were evenly matched..The win was in in fact achieved as a result of Marys showing calm determination with moments to go.
Well before all that an interesting duel unwound over the previous 80 minutes. Most of the scoring had been done in the first half when Rock showed good skills and teamwork and deserved to lead at the break. However had they been a little more sentient, they might have noticed our defence narrow on a few occasions when they had the ball with space and time. Fortunately they did not and on the other hand our own attack looked sharp and ball retention was better than last week. Once again our bread and butter work was good, with the vital scrum again dominant and lineout smart. In that lineout, David O’Connor in particular, could be seen soaring time after time, and in the loose he was constantly looking for work. He has developed into a skilful, hardworking Five, who can defend and carry well. He is unselfish and aware. Today, he was my MoM with a strong all round performance.
Another young man with a promising rugby future, making his senior debut today was David Aspil, who is only 19 and just off the High School SCT of last year. He is a big strong lad, not short of pace, he looked comfortable at Six. It was disappointing that Darragh Fanning was only allowed by Leinster to play 40 minutes.
It was that strong scrum and the belief therein that ultimately won the game for Marys, as penalty in the Rock 22, with 77 minutes gone, gave the visitors the option of a scrum, which after a reset ended with a push over the line and the astute and calm Barry O’Flanagan, controlled the ball well, to score the winner.
We will probably need to defend with more width and put a bit more pace on the game next weekend to overcome a strong Dublin University team that revels in high speed, rumbustious, running rugby. And if we want to stay in touch with leaders Old Wesley on 19 and Ballymena on 18 points, both with four games played we must deliver. After Christmas if we remain in close order at the top there can be well founded optimism with the squad depth and spread.
Sean Kearns scored a penalty on 14 minutes and we went further ahead on 19 minutes when a break from a scrum saw fine interaction between Ray Crotty, Conor Toolan and Ryan O’Loughlin who scored. It was now 0- 8.
Rock came powering back, with a penalty on 22 minutes and on 28, after a lineout they scored from a maul. 10 – 8.
Rock continued to attack and added a penalties on 36 and 42 minutes. Just before the whistle from a lineout 35 metres out, Mark Sexton took the ball at 12, dummied and went off his right inside his marker and set sail for the line, he eluded the cover and made for a very fine try. The score at half time was then 16 – 13.
The second half gave an increase in intensity and play was even until 58 minutes when we had a penalty converted by Sean, 16 – 16. On 74 minutes Rock went to 19 – 16. It was here Marys tucked up the sleeves and worked and eventually, made it 19 – 23, with that try by Barry.
The Squad (Rolling substitutions)
15 R Crotty, 14 C Toolan, 13 12 M Sexton, 11 R O’Loughlin, 10 S Kearns, 9 D Fanagan, 8 M Fallon, 7 B O’Flanagan, 6 D Aspil, 5 D O’Connor, 4 C Ruddock, 3 Robert Sweeney (Capt.), 2 R O’Donovan, 1 B McGovern, M Elliot-Murray, T O’Reilly, D Fanning I Cullinane, I Dineen,.