1st XV v Old Belvedere (A) by D O’Brien 03.12.2016
Old Belvedere RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1A
3rd December 2016.
Fold up the tables, it is the halfway break and we are not back in action in AIL until the end of January 2017. Maybe the break is needed to take stock, analyse and correct.
We all left Anglesea Road with an empty sadness and a little bit of frustration, for what could and maybe should have been.
Today, as with almost all the games we have played in the first half of the AIL Division 1A league campaign, the differences between St Marys and Belvedere were minute; probably composure, concentration and final execution. There were times too, when it may have been more profitable to retain the ball rather than kick. However, these are matters that can be attended to and rectified. The maturity of the Belvo team was evident and so they deserved their victory.
Once again the Marys’ pack did well, all played with desire, the lineout quality was not to the standard of last week’s and we lost some of those that may well have reaped a harvest. The scrums stood firm, pace was good, our back alignment was much improved and the cover was good. The backrow in fact did well and there, Kevin Sheahan was again outstanding. When you say a player is consistently good it is often taken to mean he is average. Kevin is not average, he is top class every week he plays. He took all the kick-offs with aplomb, he made good ground and his cover was exact and effective; he tackled, tigerishly and unerringly. He was the SoftCo MoM. The return of Jordan Larmour brought subtlety and power to the wide attack, where he and David Fanagan were hungry for involvement, if we had been able to get more ball wide with space and support, we could well have prospered.
The first half was entertaining, close and of good quality, up to the 34th minute only a Crosby penalty separated the two. When Belvo winger, Brandon scored in the 34th minute, St Marys then mounted a sustained attack on the Belvo line and were unfortunate not to score before half time, Captain Brian McGovern and David O’Connor coming close. Turning over 8 – 0 down was an incentive, Marys attacked hard, yet a number of chances were missed, from mauls and open play and then on 62 minutes Brandon struck again. Although Marys continued to attack hard and at one stage, Belvo were down to 13 men, we were unable to score or close to bonus point parameters.
Final score 15 – 0.
Therefore, Christmas is to be a time for reflection. We as supporters must trust the coaches, working with the DoR and the captain, to adjust a screw here, or add a touch of paint there. They are, with their squad close to having a fine team. If you look back at every game played there was no team that so completely dominated our lads that we looked outclassed. In fact almost every time we lost, we might well have pulled the game around. This is not wishful thinking or the rose coloured glasses syndrome, it is fact. All have accepted that there are faults, many of which are born of inexperience. A win brings confidence and with it comes composure, adventure and success. That is not to say we could not do with a bigger squad, of course that would be helpful and may have made a difference during this difficult period of injuries to some of our top players, just gone; that has not changed. Our resources do not extend to that possibility. However, it will improve our choices of possible combinations when we do get some more of our players back.
Remember, we do have 17 valuable points, one only behind UCD, and in fact only two basic wins, separate us from 5th place. We are only half way through. We start afresh, going in reverse order (starting with Belvo at Templeville Road, January 28th). We will have had a fresh look at things, worked hard and have played in the recently separated LSC (from LSLC to form LSL and LSC), in January 2017. We shall go forward with true belief.
At this stage I must thank you for your continued reading of these reports and kind comments received. I am also willing to receive adverse comments when such are warranted.
The club is not going into hibernation during this hiatus in the AIL, and there are many other competitions and vibrant social events which we must support and of course enjoy. Therefore, on your behalf I send gratitude and support to our much admired president, Kevin and his committee, our DoR Alan, coaches Jamie, Peter, our most popular club captain Brian, and all the club coaches, the players, Paudge and the other team managers and all those who work in the club for us all year round. We wish them a really relaxing yet exciting and happy Christmas.
Team (including rolling replacements) 15 D Fanagan, 14 J Larmour, 13 R O’Loughlin 12 P Lavelle, 11 C Hogan, 10 C Dean, 9 P O’Driscoll; 8 C Doris, 7 N McCarthy, 6 K Sheahan, 5 C O’Flaherty, 4 D O’Connor, 3 B McGovern (Capt), 2 R Halpin, 1 T O’Reilly, S O’Brien, E Ferron, C Ruddock, H Kellegher, I O’Neill, P Starrett.