15.04.2017 1st XV v Cork Con (A) by D. O’Brien

Cork Constitution FC V St Mary’s College RFC

34 27

AIL Division 1 A

Temple Hill

Saturday 15th April 2017.

A Wrap up.


Today was a day of fears and cheers, communications and calculations, ups and downs. We set out this season to fit in and stay in the AIL Division 1A. We have done that now. Well done to all concerned.

After the game, when all was revealed and sagacious Ciaran Ruddock rightly said it was not a day for singing. Our esteemed President, Kevin, in his sincere way, thanked his team and applauded their brave journey. Captain McGov likewise, extolled the virtues of his squad and recalled his unwavering belief in it all season. He likewise, thanked his coaches and managers; also the great supporters, including Spike, Liam and Pyner. He stressed how important their support had been. His devoted squad and all those compressed into the dressing room, chanted “One more year” and after a season of quality,leadership, optimism and irrepressible effort, why not? He has been a credit to his club and himself.

On supporters, there are a few who deserve special mention. It is lovely to see parents and relatives of players [such as Fanagans, Fannings, Sheahans and Kennedys] follow their lads avidly, all over the country and even great club men like JB, Spike, Liam Birkett, Paul Sheeran, Declan Fanning, Quinner, Rynner (and his loud-hailer), Fr Brian, Arthur Costello, Barry O’Sullivan, Dave Ryan, Paul Davy, Robin Bailey, John Ayling, Louis McMullan, Pyner and his flag, and several more. However, Mary Grissing, Eugene Brophy and Pat McMahon deserve special mention, for they are three parents who stayed on as fervent, almost feverish, supporters long after their lads retired. Well done to all, but special well done to them. Many of those, and other supporters, would find it hard to get there if it were not for two great Marys’ women Joyce Farnan and Eileen Fanning who organise the bus and cajole and command the troops who come along.

While on that theme, it is important to mention that Joyce’s wee son Robert (Chops) Sweeney, arranged to bring all the injured squad members along and what a time they had.

What an admirable season it has been. That is not to say there were no poor performances, slips or failings. Maybe it is more so, because of those; for there was never a sign of resignation or complacency and no matter who filled a position they gave of their guts and sweat for the team.

Last week, the injury toll was listed, and when one examines it, it can be seen that the quality of those hors de combat at any time was the best. Some seasons if the ball was flung blindfolded it would go where it should, with everything just falling into place. This season we could not buy a cent with a Euro. Murphy’s Law ruled all year. This makes the redemption all the sweeter and more commendable. It also makes the efforts of Jamie, Peter, Hayden, Ivan, Dr Pat, Davy and Niamh, Paudge, Garry, Pokey, Ian and Brian (behind the lens), all the more valuable; and the behind the scenes work of DoR, Alan, the more laudable.

When it is clear, who may be retiring, an acknowledgement of their contributions will be made. Already one who is forced into leaving, due to geographic changes in his work, (he goes to a Cork hospital as a consultant), is the invaluable Kevin (Shiner) Sheahan, his contribution over ten years has been invaluable.

The game

This was a game that looked at times to be out of reach, yet nearing the end the fitness and adventure of the visiting team was such, that two points, which could have been redemptive, were gleaned. Once again it was clear to see why Con are in the top four. With a balanced side, a strong pack and a consistent game plan they presented a stiff challenge. It should be said that Cork Constitution were worthy winners in a spellbinding game.

A feature of the game, was the attacking flair, pace and skill of exciting Terry Kennedy. He lit up the game and enchanted the attendance. He made a major contribution to the game and he had to receive the SoftCo MoM award. The forwards who faced a tough scrum and maul from Con worked tirelessly, with the captain embroiled in all the tough action. He was followed, not a step back, by his pack, with David O’Connor unrelenting.

As has been all season, the defence when in backs to the wall mode was heroic and unyielding, while in attack every stratagem was used. Once again our wide defence was caught out a couple of times. But overall it was that undying determination and spirit that shone brightly in the end and evoked applause and admiration from all.

Unfortunately after less than two minutes we were caught out wide and Con were 5 – 0 up. Sean Kearns scored a good penalty on 12 minutes and after an excellent maul David O’Connor broke and scored and Sean converted on 16 minutes; 5 – 10. On 24 minutes Con scored a converted try, 12 – 10, and on 34 minutes a vivid break along the wing gave them a fine try and a lead at half time, of 17 – 10.

The second half was well warmed up when Con struck again with a sharp break from the scrum to make the score 22 – 10, on 55 minutes. Marys got back again on 65 minutes with Darren Moroney getting over after a series of phases. 22 – 15. We were in losing bonus territory and fighting. However, five minutes later Con scored again 29 – 15 and on 75 minutes, further gloom hit the Marys side as Con made the score 34 – 15 with another try. Just on full time Marys struck back with unstoppable drives on the line, yielding penalty after penalty until George Clancy who had refereed very well, gave a penalty try, converted by Sean. It was 34 – 22. It was hard to believe as from the kick off, Marys went into stratospheric overdrive as they ran from everywhere in a kaleidoscope of movement and skills. It was mesmeric as player after player handled, eventually it was swept right to left and big wonderful Tommer scored in the corner. What a season he has had, from good to superb. It ended 34 – 27.

Two points gained. We were home. Lansdowne had beaten Garryowen and TCD had beaten Terenure. We ended seventh and safe. Yippee!!!!!

Finally, thank you all for your support during the year, especially Liam Birkett who kindly skims, with his eagle eyes my efforts, each week.

Extremely Important Lions Preview Lunch

We have coming up to honour our own 11 Lions, soon to be 12, and preview the upcoming Lions tour of New Zealand, a lunch to beat all lunches. This lunch is being organised by St Mary’s, with the active support of our sponsors SoftCo. Yes, this lunch in the Ballsbridge Hotel (Old Jurys) brings together all our Lions and Joe Schmidt and Ronan O’Gara, along with our own great Victor Costello as MC. It will be held on Friday 19th May at 1.00 PM until 5.00 PM.

This is an outstanding opportunity for you to meet with our true rugby legends and be entertained by a fascinating and insightful preview of the coming tour. After the lunch Victor will engage with Joe and Ronan and other Lions in a Q&A and in light hearted banter. It will be brilliant; that is a promise.

Get together with your friends and put together a table for €1500, or if you fancy slipping the lead on your own the 175 will give you a top class lunch with wine and the ultimate in Rugby Company.

Just give Marie Hammond, Administrator (0876629354 or 014900440) or Patrick Crawford Acting Hon Secretary (087919999), a call and book before it is too late.

All proceeds are going to the club and to rugby, so not only are you getting a marvellous memento for life, but you are also helping your club at a time of real need.

D O’Brien

Team (including rolling replacements) 15 T Kennedy, 14 R O’Loughlin, 13 D Moroney, 12 P Lavelle, 11 C Hogan, S Kearns, 9 P O’Driscoll; 8 J Dilger, 7 H Kellegher, 6 D O’Connor, 5 C O’Flaherty 4, C Ruddock, 3 B McGovern (Capt), 2 H Kean, 1 T O’Reilly, R Halpin, C Ryan, M Fallon, I O’Neill, C Gilsenan.