|J.P. Fanagan League
|St. Marys U21s 1st XV
|14 – 5
St Mary’s Vs Terenure 14-05
1. Neil Murphy, 2.Tommy Meredith, 3. Robert Ferris, 5. Ronan Lennon,
4. Robbie Field, 7. Gareth Austen, 6. Wes Wojnar, 8. Darragh Keller,
9. Chris Lilly, 10. Colin Sheridan, 11. Ray Crotty, 12. Edouard Nicolay, 13. Steve Toal-Lennon, 14. Ian O’Neill, 15. Darren Hudson, 16. Rory O Donovan,
17. Claus Lehane, 18. Sean Tevlin, 19. Darragh Maher, 20. Brian Heavey,
21. Darradh Fitzgerald, 22. Ciaran Collins,
This local derby is always a thriller to watch, not always because of the high quality of the play but always because of the Luv the two clubs have for each other. This match had some additional twists to it, having been postponed on two previous occasions and also deciding which of the two teams progressed in the “Super Six” competition. Some of you will remember that last year Terenure knocked St Mary’s out of the competition. While revenge is often a two edged sword, if focussed correctly it is also a strong motivator and this year we were confident that the roles would be reversed. Our destiny, and by extension that of Terenure, was now in our own hands.
The match itself, while certainly not a classic, demonstrated some very exciting improvements in our own game. Our front three were immense and totally dominated Terenure on the day. As the game progressed it became evident that the Terenure pack was not able to cope with the sustained pressure and they finally elected to play uncontested scrums. As the strength of our pack had previously been of concern, all credit must go to the guys and coaches for the strength work done over the last number of weeks.
What was also worthy of note was the overall commitment to defence by the whole team. While the outside backs (and in particular Steve Toal-Lennon), looked like they were going to freeze to death at times, they maintained a rock solid defence throughout and credit to them for maintaining their concentration and commitment throughout the day.
The strong wind on the day made it very difficult for place kicking and after a couple of failed penalty attempts from distance, it was obvious that penalty opportunities should focus on territory gain. This put a lot more pressure on both sets of forwards but the St Mary’s pack won out on the day.
After a sustained attack on the Terenure line and following numerous penalties against Terenure for illegally collapsing the maul / off side/ hand in the ruck etc……., the referee finally awarded a well earned and justified penalty try to St Mary’s which Ray Crotty converted.
While we would have preferred a greater margin than 7-0 at half time, especially as Terenure would have the advantage of the wind in the second half, we were confident that our forward control of the game would continue and that the excellent work in the loose by Keller, Field, Wojnar, Lennon and Austin would stifle the Terenure attack and also lead to opportunities for St Mary’s in the second half.
Terenure were awarded a try in the corner mid way through the second half but failed to convert. With 15 minutes to go however, the St Mary’s forwards took control and totally dominated the remainder of the game with superb rucking, rolling mauls and hard yard gains, driven on and directed by Chris Lilly at their heels. Such was their dominance that the St Mary’s back line could justifiably claim that they could have gone in for showers and left them to it. While it was not ‘open’ exciting rugby it was certainly a master class in control, discipline, commitment and spirit and was rewarded by an excellent drive by Gareth Austen in the dying minutes of the game. Ray again converted comfortably.
Substitutions on the day were Ciaran Collins who came on for Edouard following a shoulder injury and Darragh Duggan for Wes Wojnar.
We have therefore secured our place in the Super Six along with UCD, Trinity, Blackrock, Clontarf and Lansdowne and we look to the New Year with a great sense of optimism.
Next game 10th January. See you there!!