St Mary’s College RFC V Buccaneers RFC
Energia AIL Division 1B
Saturday 26th November 2022
Hardy Bucks are the Buccaneers and that truism rightly describes the team that came and did battle today. It was a more even game than the score may suggest; indeed we well may have snatched a win, when it was 9-15, near the end and pressing hard, but a penalty brought them to 18 and a slip gave them the ball and a clear 100 metre sprint to wrap it up. However we cannot complain it was a deserved win for the visitors on a surprisingly clement day after heavy rain and strong winds earlier. There was a big crowd for what was a tough, high level encounter, often exciting, often tense, but never tenebrose. Exactly what you would expect from 2 V 1.
Buccaneers have the ability to drive a game at the pace and disposition they require at the time. They have an exceedingly big, hard team with good halves and two fast wingers. Notwithstanding, we have the players and ability to prevail when at our best. Today, the team was not quite at top revs. It happens to every team now and then and it has to be dealt with. That all said, in a really tough game, Skipper Ronan, did all he could to get us ahead and humming in a challenging environment.
Once again our scrum was strong, unfortunately the lineout faltered on occasions. Buccs were highly competitive at the breakdown and with the big number of errors we accrued it was difficult to assert critical force. Our pack battled hard all game and never wilted. Our young players are developing impressively and none more so than Daniel Leane. He has true talent. He had to face formidable challenges and did so with determination and skill. He soared as required, stood up to a real pressure, he was effective in the scrum and active in open play, he contributed all round in a productive manner. He received the SoftCo MoM Award.
Behind the pack, all contested, with midfield particularly active, Mick O’Gara was tireless in his carries and in defence, he kicked all of the points; and he was supported well and creatively by Mark Fogarty who sparkles with the ball and is ever seeking work.
There is bound to be disappointment after the loss of a game with such expectations. There is no question we were askew in many aspects of the game. However, there are two more games before even completing the first half of the league, so, much to come. Yes there needs to be adjustments and fine tuning, but there are the perfect coaches to formulate and orchestrate those adjustments, and there is the talent to respond accordingly. It is an exciting challenge and one that will be welcomed. There is too, a good depth of squad to give confidence, and additionally there is a number of top players to return, including Michael McCormack, Niall McEniff, Liam and Conor Corcoran, Liam Curran, Craig Kennedy and Tim McMahon.
“So let us be up and doing, with a heart for any fate,
Still achieving still pursuing, learn to labour and to wait” (Mathew Arnold).
After six minutes playing down towards the Templeville Road End, and a lot of pressure by Marys, a penalty was converted by Mick O’Gara and, although we continued to attack, after 13 minutes, a penalty gave Buccs an opportunity. They kicked to the Cabbage Patch Corner and using their powerful pack they stayed together and mauled over for a try, 3-5. It was 21 minutes when Mick gave his team the lead again with a penalty, 6-5. The rasping battle continued up to half time, without change.
The second half, and we faced the hill and a meddlesome wind, not to mention, Buccs. After 47 minutes, a defensive line out, then a carry went wrong, in the Marys’ 22, and a break by Buccs put them on the Marys’ line. We defended tenaciously and well, as the big Buccs stormed the line time after time. They came in hoards as it were, left and right with vigorous vectors. Eventually, sheer numbers and avoirdupois told and they breached the defences to make it 6-12. After 56 minutes a Buccs’ penalty made it 6-15. Mick made it 9-15 on 60 mins. And then we launched hard sorties and almost scored but Buccs held fast. A penalty for the visitors, dented hopes as it went to 9-18 on 78 minutes and, just on full time, an error gave Buccaneers that free run and victory. 9-23.
Okay, let us put that out of the way now and concentrate on Saturday’s visit to Energia Park and Old Wesley. Both sides have won four, our bonus points (how important they can be) give us a four point lead on them, so you will appreciate how important this game will be. They are fourth and unfortunately we are now just one place ahead, in third; but of course better ahead than behind. There is no doubt this will be another toughie, especially they will be home on astro turf. Even so, we have the quality and ability to take this. You all know by now how important it can be, for you to attend, so do!
Team (12 rolling changes)
15 C Hickey, 14 H Conway, 13 M Fogarty, 12 M O’Gara,11 S Kilgallen, 10 C Dean, 9 A McEvoy, 8 R Foley, 7 E Baxter, 6 R Watters (Capt.), 5 D Leane, 4 P Starrett, 3 J Reidy-Walsh, 2 S O’Brien,1 A Mulvihill. R Halpin, T O’Reilly, H MacDonald, N Hurley, A Walsh, P Dundon.