13.09.2008 1st XV v Naas (A)

3/09/2008 2:30pm Cup Naas 3 – 53 St. Marys 1st XV Away

1st XV Match Report V Naas – Dermot O Mahony
Naas 3-53 St Marys College
St Marys College came to Forenaughts on Saturday and flexed their muscles in an eight-try virtuoso performance as they overcame Naas on an impressive 53-3 scoreline to not alone top pool 2 of the Leinster Senior League Cup but also wrap up the No 1 seeding for the quarter-finals in the process.

The Dubliners looked like a team that will challenge seriously for honours in the AIB League Div 1 this season and they must be licking their lips at the prospect of the new AIB League format for the following season that was announced last Thursday; Div 1 is to be divided into two sections with the top eight at the end of this season going into section A and playing on a home and away basis.

Even allowing for the fact that Naas were short a number of quality regulars including out half David Ahearne and full back Joey Moran the visitor’s performance was high quality as they swarmed forward like a relentless blue tide.

Three first half tries that included a pair by lock forward Robin Copeland and one by right winger Conor Hogan (following a most audacious reverse pass through his legs by centre Stephen Grissing) were augmented by a penalty goal and a couple of conversions from out half Shaun McCarthy as St Marys raced into a 22-3 interval lead. Naas fly half Johnny Sheehan’s 7th minute penalty goal that reduced the early lead to 7-3 was like a finger in the Dutch dam as the blue tide turned into a second half blue tsunami with five tries from the visitors just about summing up their dominance.

For the record left winger Daragh Fleming crossed the whitewash twice in that second period while No 8 Kevin Sheehan, McCarthy and replacement Mark Sexton also dotted down with Sexton adding three conversions.

From a Naas perspective they can rest easy in the knowledge that in their AIB League Div 3 campaign they won’t meet any side remotely near the calibre of St Marys while their scrummaging, which is an area of the game that is set to become empowered again under the ELV’s (Experimental Law Variations), prospered and caused their opponents much grief.

Their newly-arrived coach Adriaan Ferris, who was watching his charges for the first time, might feel that he has a mountain to climb but the Naas performances in their opening two games against Cill Dara and DLSP will give him a more accurate barometer of what lies in store both for him and his team over the winter months. One Naas player most certainly worthy of mention was full back Donal Droney (fresh from his “Escort of the Year” exploits at the Rose of Tralee) who performed heroically and tried better than any other to the bitter end.