04.09.2009 1st XV v Etolie Sportive Catalan (A)

04/09/20097.30pmFEtoile Sportive Catalan15 – 63St. Marys 1st XVAway

Etoile Sportive Catalane V St Mary’s College RFC

15 63

Stade Gaston Pams, Argeles-sur-Mer,

4th September 2009.

Before kick-off, several club members at present in France, including Gussie and Rosemary Browne, Dermot (Bad Barney) and Louise Barnewell, Michael and Gemma Glynn and Trevor Brennan, who at the invitation of the president, had presented the jerseys to Marys’ team, joined the supporters. Conor Donohue, who could not be there due to work commitments but is in full training now, was kindly represented by his family which has a residence near Argeles.

Unfortunately due to demands of the regional team, which was playing Poland, ten of the Argeles squad were not available, additionally due to this, there were non-contested scrums, however the main aim of the game would not in any way be deflected. The coaches will of course allow for the fact that the opposition was not the strongest, but the manner in which the team dealt with them was unquestionable.

It had been a little overcast and windy all day but at kick off it was lovely mild 22 degrees and the wind had dropped. It had been agreed to play three 30 minutes periods and to use as many players as wished during the game.

This was a determined performance from the Marys team and many of the moves practised by Smythy and Pottsy during the week and before, were brought into play and the team ran some fine plays, showing skills and spatial appreciation, speed of thought and action and the support play was superb, when called on too, the defence was organised and cool and overall the concentration and confidence levels were high for so early in the season and the pace at which the game was played was testament to the work done; and in fact way too high for the home side.. Every one of the 29 players involved at some stage during the game, without exceptionapplied himself diligently, effectively and enthusiastically, no one looked out of place and much was gained from the exercise. Unfortunately due to injury Damian Hall (do not worry it was not a bad omen), Jonny Molloy, and Louis Burke were unable to take part. The front rowers were all prominent around the field with Chunky in particularly fine form, the second rowers were also dominant and skillful with Robin Copeland showing new focus and endeavour, he showed the running lines and pace of a top class center to score one try and his pace never dropped, he was ably supported by Niall Brew and later young Robbie Field. Again the back row led by skipper Hugh Hogan was top class and Barry O’Flanagan had a wonderful game, not since the equivalent game last year has Barry been in form like this, he had the Argeles halves ragged and he appeared on occasion to have the power of bi-location, he shaded or shared the man of the match label with Gavin Dunne who, given spacious fast ball from his partner at 9, ruled the park with good running, good hands and his kicking from hand, especially in the second and third period, was a joy to see. When giving way to Stuart O’Flanagan later on Stuart likewise looked very sharp and took his deftly worked try extremely well. Another newcomer Paul Gillespie impressed in the centre with a strong performance and was matched by Robbie Hudson who ran powerfully and well. Out wide there, with the back three there was almost an embarrassment of talent, all doing well, with Conor Quinn looking very comfortable and with Darragh taking up where he left off in Terenure, likewise Ronan looked sharp, Conor Mc Phillips showed that he is getting back after injury, as is Stephen Grissing, Phillip Brophy as ever was impressive and Ian (Nelly) O’Neill showed his potential for the future, running in two tries.

The Run of Play

For the first ten minutes Argeles matched our performance although up front we were always in the ascendancy and we scored first with a penalty from Gavin Dunne, on 12 minutes and the dominance up front gave Robin the freedom to be out wide and so taking a ball in mid field he ran a terrific line, accelerated past two centres and surged in for a try. We were 0- 10 but then they struck fast and caught us napping with a penalty and then a try on 16 minutes to bring it to 10 -10. On 22 minutes they were caught off side and Gavin made it 10- 13 and on 30 minutes after a skimming run for 40 metres by Darragh, and ball won by Barry, Gavin went over for a fine try and it was 10 – 18 at the end of the first third. From then on we were totally dominant. On 43 minutes Robbie Hudson burst through the centre and Darragh did the rest and it was 10 – 25 and soon after Darragh was again involved in a good break, the ball was taken on by Nasher and Joe Burns and Chunky finished. 10 – 30. On the hour mark a line out thrown long, found Hugh Hogan who brushed off his opposite marker and burst through two tackles and went over close in to bring it to 10 – 37.

As might be expected we dropped concentration slightly and Argeles scored a nice try from mid field and it was 15 – 37. At nearly the 70 minute mark Barry O’Flanagan picked up a ball 35 metres out and stepped and weaved his way then accelerated past the cover to score a nice try and bring the score to 15 42. A few minutes later a move involving four forwards and then three backs led to Broph drawing the defence and weighting a lovely ball to Nelly who fairly flew along the touch line to score, it was 15 – 49 and a few minutes later he picked up a ball out wide and skipped his way around the defence to make the score 15 – 56 and finally Stuart O’Flanagan got a ball and beat three men on the touch line and then showed real pace to score and he converted to bring the final score to 15 – 63.

For the last 20 minutes Rynner had the high-spirited supporters chanting Marys, Marys and then led all in the Sloop John B with a real fiesta time coming on and when it was all over the players saluted their supporters and sang “We are Marys Boys” with real gusto.

Mission accomplished.

Team; 15 Conor Quinn, 14 Ronan Doherty, 13 Rob Hudson, 12 Paul Gillespie, 11 Darragh Fanning, 10 Gavin Dunne, 9 Joe Burns, 8 Hugh Hogan (Capt) 7 Barry O’Flanagan, 6 Paul Nash, 5 Robin Copeland, 4 Niall Brew, 3 Kevin Carroll, 2 David Kilbride, 1 Colm Mc Mahon.

Replacements all used.

Rob Sweeney, Richie Sweeney, Robert Ferris, Gareth Logan, Robbie Fields, Andy Smyth, Cormac Quinn, Stuart Flanagan, Mark Sexton, Stephen Grissing, Conor Mc Phillips, Conor Hogan, Ian O’Neill, Phillip Brophy.

D O’Brien