St Mary’s College RFC V Dublin University FC
AIL Division 1A
Friday 30th September 2016.
An array of highly talented young players from both sides showed how exciting and skilful, in spite of heavy rain, AIL rugby can be. In the end there could have been little doubt as to the merit of the TCD victory. Both sides served up spicy dish of rapid rugby and in fact there was a piquancy about the clash, due to last season’s top of the table duel for promotion. Even under the wet conditions, the ball control from both sides was of the highest quality. There was afterwards, obvious, deep disappointment for the Marys’ players, coaches and supporters, and obvious delight for the students.
Dublin University has a mobile muscular team with few weaknesses. They play with real pace and in the second half particularly, there was compelling intensity, with players taking both hard vectors and straight running lines, with impressive support play.
Marys too showed flair and appetite, with some good performances. The set pieces from both sides were good and the Marys’ lineouts were the best they have been this season, with Cathal O’Flaherty, Ciaran Ruddock and David Aspil notably, taking good ball. Hugo Kean was dynamic and industrious. He made a most important contribution, as indeed did his fellow front rowers, Tom O’Reilly and Emmett Ferron. Emmett, stepping in for the sadly injured skipper, threw himself into the fray with abandon, he supported and defended nobly, scrummaged hard and never stopped working. He was impressive, and for me, was MoM.
With injuries, once again the backline, as with the pack, had to be rearranged, but it is good to see the talent available. In fact in the squad overall there is a mass of talent. Many of the players, however, are only coming into the squad and it will take time for Jamie and Peter to put together combinations and positions best suited to the team.
Sean Kearns again, gave a faultless display of kicking, five from five, and his distribution was once more excellent. On the left wing making his debut for Marys, was a young man just out of school, Jordan Larmour, a nephew of outstanding Marys’ man, David Donohue. This lad had an impressive debut, he has remarkable ability in all respects. He is a true athlete, full of balance, pace, dexterity, spatial awareness and insight. He is easy to watch and although he got scant enough opportunity he was ever vigilant and a threat.
There are several key players out injured who will return to help on the long road ahead. Captain, Brian McGovern, Kevin Sheahan, (both expected to be back for UCD) David O’Connor, Conor Toolan, Conor Hogan, Ivan Dineen and Marcus O’Driscoll are all missing. It is a long road so patience is required.
At 19.30 the teams came out onto a wet, shimmering pitch under the gleaming floodlights and through a dense curtain of vertical rain, they lined up for a sparkling encounter. There was fair attendance for the less favoured Friday evening kick off.
After only four minutes, Jack Mc Dermott put TCD ahead with a good penalty. It was 20 minutes later when Sean Kearns brought Marys level. On 30m minutes Sean made 6 – 3 with a fine penalty and then after sustained pressure, a scrum was won close to the TCD line, Nick McCarthy picked well from the back and broke, feeding it on, when the ball came out to Ian O’Neill on the right wing, he tore over in the car park corner. Sean coolly struck it sweetly and over went the ball. That was on 37 minutes. Right on 40 minutes, TCD got another penalty and the score at half time was 13 – 6.
The second half started with great concentration and TCD increased their drive and pace, after two minutes they added another penalty, 13 – 9 and four minutes later they earned a quality unconverted try, 13 – 14. On 50 minutes it was Marys who converted a difficult penalty to make the score 16 – 14 and then, on 60 minutes TCD used a penalty to go to the corner, win the lineout and gain a mauled try, well converted by McDermott. The score was then 16 – 21. Marys were not for wilting, and drove avidly on. Sean closed the gap again with a penalty on 66 minutes, 19 – 21. After a vitally intense blitz, a strong, straight burst through the midfield with perfect support- play led to a converted try for the University side; it was 71 minutes and 19 – 28, looking bleak for Marys. Mc Dermott closed off even the chance of a losing bonus with a penalty on 75 minutes. And although Marys attacked frantically, no dent was made and it ended 19 – 31.
Next Saturday we face the other university side, UCD, at 4.00 PM. in the Bowl. As the season progressives, more so support is needed and we must be there to be behind this young exciting team and their coaching and management group. So let us all make a special effort to be there next Saturday. It will be worth it.
Team (including rolling replacements) 15 T Kennedy, 14 I O’Neill, 13 P Lavelle,12 R O’Loughlin, 11 J Larmour, 10 S Kearns, 9 P O’Driscoll; 8 N McCarthy, 7 D Aspil, 6 C Doris, 5 C O’Flaherty, 4 C Ruddock, 3 E Ferron, 2 H Kean, 1 T O’Reilly, R Halpin, M McCormack, M Fallon, C Dean, D Fanagan.