27.11.2010 1st XV v Blackrock (A)

27/11/20102:30pmAILBlackrock College18 – 21St. Marys 1st XVAway

Blackrock College RFC V St Mary’s College RFC

21 18

AIL Division 1A


Saturday 27th November 2010.


More white pitch than Blackrock, at Stradbrook today, as a skim of snow lay on the pitch but in fact it did not affect the game to any great extent. It was a big day today for St Marys, with this important AIL Division 1 A, game and our annual club dinner later in the evening and a chance to throw snowballs. After last week’s sad loss of the LSLC final, there was a slight air of nervousness and both teams were without their senior Leinster players, indeed the game had much in common with last week’s game save we held out on this occasion. President Ronnie Mc Brien was also looking nervous beforehand, but in joyous festive form afterwards. As ever, we have good friends in Rock and they gave us a genuinely warm welcome.

In the first half, Marys played well, particularly the forwards, with good retention and carries, secure lineouts, strong defence and deserved to be ahead 3 – 15 at half time, having secured two good tries. In the second half we lowered our concentration and played with a little segnity for a period, however, we did show resolve and held out in the end and deserved the win.

The backrow were again to the fore and as usual, Paul Nash led his men strongly and had a fine game, they were well supported by Logie and the brave, hard working and willing hooker, David Kilbride, in particular. Behind the scrum, Paul Gillespie at full back, was up to all that was sent to him, he attacked well and instigated the first try, Stephen Grissing was to the fore most of the game, took his try well and defended assiduously, Phillip Brophy too, did well, he straightened the line, distributed well and worked hard in attack and defence.

We wasted some ball, with loose kicking and turnovers and in the second half, when having almost scored, what could have been a decisive try, had a sluggish spell, which let Rock into the game, they raised their tempo dramatically and made it uncomfortable for us from then until the end. Had they made a different decision rather than taking a shot at goal with a penalty late on, when in a spell of ascendancy, we could have been in real danger; anyway we held out and are now in clear third place with 18 points , behind Belvedere on 23 and Cork Con with 20, which makes next week’s trip to Cork Con a potentially candent clash. It will be also the last in the first round of games, the league going into a ridiculous period of hibernation until the end of January. It will though allow Ciaran Potts to assess the situation and plan and prepare for round two.

The game

It had barely started when Paul Gillespie picked up the ball in midfield and broke through the Rock defence he linked well with the fast supporting Hugh Hogan who drew the cover and passed to Ronan Doherty, he skipped in for a try; a pleasant surprise and a good start to say the least, Gavin Dunne kicked the conversion. Obviously, this helped the team settle and Marys continued to control the game. Rock did convert a penalty on 10 minutes but three minutes later, Mark Sexton kicked ahead and Stephen Grissing devoured the ground as he followed up, Rock had three defending players, Stephen burst between the first two and tapped on the ball the third Rock defender miskicked the ball and Stephen said thank you very much. We were 3 – 12. On 21 minutes we won a penalty for blocking, Mark Sexton received a dead leg and had to withdraw, Gavin kicked the penalty, 3 – 15, and Phillip Brophy came on. For the rest of the half we controlled the ball and were comfortable.

In the second half, after two minutes we increased the score to 18 – 3 and another penalty on nine minutes, put us to a commanding 3 – 21 in front and looking good, we nearly scored again with a fine move, involving Phillip Brophy, then spent several phases attacking their line, but came away without anything and from then on Rock upped their pace and intensity. With 25 minutes showing, they put on a lot of pressure with pick and go and as we ran out of numbers, drawn into rucks, their captain, Des Dillon, picked and went over , they missed the close range conversion; it was 8 – 21 and on 34 minutes following good pressure their number 8, showing impressive pace down along the wing, scored and with the conversion it was 15 – 21. They took a penalty on 34 minutes, from around the halfway line rather than go to the corner, but the score went to 18 – 21. They continued to attack and were awarded another penalty on our 22 out wide, they did not go to the corner but inexplicably, considering the momentum they were generating, took the penalty, maybe hoping for a chance, afterwards to drop a goal. It was missed and it ended 18 – 21.

That win should add to the buoyancy and allow us go to Cork, weather permitting, next Saturday ready to battle with continual confidence. It is good to be able to report that Kevin Sheahan is now ready to play again and will be a great addition to the squad, when he gets a few games inside him.


15, P Gillespie, 14 R Doherty, 13 S Grissing, 12 M Sexton, 11 D Hudson, 10 G Dunne, 9 D Campbell, 8 H Hogan, 7 P Nash (Capt), 6 D Hall, 5 C Ruddock, 4 G Logan, 3 K Carroll, 2 D Kilbride, 1 C Mc Mahon.

Also: – M D’Arcy, S Bradshaw, T Meredith, Robert Sweeney, M Donnellan, R Crotty, P Brophy.

Cold Spell and Wildlife

It may appear off subject, in fact, it is off subject, but I hope you will bear with me for a few moments. During this weather all our scarce wildlife is under severe stress and pressure for survival. Bird song and birds’ presence for instance, give us one of the few sparks of optimism at this present juncture and many of the smaller garden birds are in great jeopardy just now. Last year wrens, goldcrests redpolls and finches were very badly hit and wrens were almost wiped out with the cold, when food was unavailable, due to frozen ground. Many migratory birds, which flock here due to our supposed milder winter also suffered enormously. We also lost many of our small mammals for the same reason, so please feed these creatures, especially the birds.

1, try to put out food every day, if you skip a day during cold spells the birds expect food and wait for it until it is too late to forage for an alternative source and so perish. Place it, if possible, off the ground to help prevent cats from catching them; cats kill 55 million birds annually in Britain and relatively more per capita in this country. Birds are often weak and sluggish due to starvation and fall prey easily, also if disturbed they use precious energy in evasion.

2, water is as important as food, both for drinking and for bathing. If birds have no water in which to bathe, their plumage becomes ragged and non-protective, they must bathe and preen afterwards every day to stay healthy. Use shallow dishes or trays so as not to see the birds drown in their efforts to bathe. Never put in additives to prevent freezing, just add warm water or replace the water.

3, feed them small scraps or crumbs of bread, fat, seeds, especially sunflower seeds, mixed wild-bird seeds nyjer seeds and peanuts. They need high-energy foods, like rugby players. (No, they do not eat rugby players). Thrushes and blackbirds will eat apples and pears if cut in half.

4 if you have a garden, you might think of digging a small patch daily, especially under bushes for wrens and robins to forage for insects, worms, grit, minerals etc.

5 you will have the wonderful sight of beautiful birds like goldfinches, chaffinches, various thrushes (blackbirds, song thrushes, redwings, fieldfares) siskins, blackcaps and many more. You may be fortunate enough to see migratory waxwings if you have some berried shrubs or trees nearby.

Thank you for your indulgence and please spread the message,

D O’Brien