|J.P. Fanagan League
|8 – 57
|St. Marys U21s 1st XV
St. Mary’s V Greystones (57-8)
1. Shane Kearney 2. Rory O’Donovan 3. Robert Ferris 4. Stephen Maguire 5. Ronan Lennon 6. JJ Clarke 7.Thomas Lamboley, 8. Darragh Keller 9. Chris Lilly 10. Darragh Fitzgerald 11. Owen Mariarty 12. Hugh McGovern 13. Ryan O’Loughlin 14. Steve Toal Lennon, 15. Ray Crotty
Subs: Tom O’Reilly, David Callanan, Gavin Thornberry, Quentin Audiffren, Simon O’Donnell, Colin Sheridan,. Richie Mc Micken
I wasn’t going to write up the Barnhall encounter last week because it was such a decisive win (69-10), with the referee calling full time with over ten minutes to play but I now feel that it was remiss of me to not do so. Actually, this was the second time in two matches that the referee blew up early, calling time on the Terenure match ten minutes early also. (Sweet!!)
Not to take away from a spirited effort by Barnhall throughout, (and excellent pitches which we would certainly be happy to have), the St Mary’s squad were simply too good for them on the day. Maintaining their discipline throughout, they created and clinically executed nine well worked and controlled tries. Steve Toal Lennon scored an excellent hat-trick on the wing, Keller another two, Chris Lilly one, Hugh Mc Govern and Eoin Moriarty another. (actually I cannot remember who got the ninth but for sure it wasn’t Gavin Thornberry who, in spite of excellent performances finds the try line elusive).
It is also worth noting that, following the game, the President of the Leinster branch presented us the with winning medals for the league. It’s not the J.P Fanagan from last year but worthy of praise nonetheless.
So, back to the Greystones match last weekend. There was certainly no absence of spirit or determination from the Greystones squad who fought to the bitter end. Even the inclusion of Darragh Duggan (St Mary’s U21 2010) in their squad couldn’t help them.
The St Mary’s squads have gone from strength to strength and huge credit is due to both the Premier and Pennant players for stepping up the mark on the training ground after a poor start to the season. Credit too to the coaches for designing and implementing a playing style which emphasises discipline, patience and player communication at every level. Again we were simply too strong for the opposition, running in another 9 tries as follows.
On 10 minutes, following a good break out of defence by Chris and an excellent display of passing by Chris, Darragh Fitz and Steve Toal Lennon, they found Darragh Keller (who was taking a break on the left wing). However, Darragh with the ball on the wing with only 25mtrs to go, is practically unstoppable.
Another break out of defence by Chris resulted in another excellent display of passing, this time from Chris to Ray, Keller, Ryan and finally Morro who ran over for another 5pts.
Our forwards controlled the scrums with Ferris and Kearney dominant up front. Following a short burst by Ferris in the centre of the bark (supported by Kearney), the platform was set for Chris to give quick ball to Mc Govern who made excellent ground before an offload to Moriarty who ran over in the corner. Ray converted from the touch line.
Just before the half time whistle and following an excellent scrum by St Mary’s in the centre of the field, Keller broke away and made a good 10 mtrs. A quick recycled ball and a change in direction by Chris saw Mc Govern hand off the attempted tackle and race in from 35mtrs out. Again Ray converted.
The restart kick for the second half was chased down by JJ Clarke (who’s defence and intensity was excellent al day). JJ’s tackle forced a turnover which Chris gave to Ronan Lennon, offloading excellently to Steve Maguire in support. Try under the posts. (Ray Converted)
Later, Greystones tried to run out of defence but the Mary’s defence was strong and resulted in a turnover. Morro picked up the loose ball and ran in another try. Ray converted).
It would have been all too easy for St Mary’s to lose their shape but they didn’t and following an excellent passage of play and 7 disciplined phases from the forwards, the ball 3was released to the back line and ray ran over in the corner.
Later Colin kicked through for Mc Govern to chase. Hugh collected and ran in another try. (Ray converted)
Finally, on the 25mtr line, Tom O Reilly saw an opportunity at the base of a ruck and picked before charging 25mtrs to score under the posts. (Steve converted).
All too easy you might think but not so!
We have conceded only 31 points in the last 6 games and scored an impressive 247. The opposition were not however weak or disinterested. Instead I put the success down to the ongoing efforts by the full squad and the coaches to prepare us for the next stage, which begins in earnest on Sunday next in Coolmine (neutral ground) against Trinity.
We are now going to experience a significant increase in intensity from the opposition and while we have prepared as well as we can, nothing is certain.
There is no denying that we have earned the right to compete at the highest levels again and that we are prepared but now we need to go and do it!!
The prize awaiting us is the All Ireland Championship and the Mc Corry Cup. Bring it on is what I say and I hope as many of you that can make it come to support us through the rest of the season. We are going to need it and you will certainly see some excellent rugby.