14.11.2010 U20 Premier XV v Old Wesley (H)

14/11/20102:30pmJ.P. Fanagan LeagueSt. Marys U21s 1st XV22 – 15Old WesleyHome

St. Mary’s V Old Wesley (22-15)

The Squad:
1.Shane Kearney 2. Rory O’Donovan 3. Robert Ferris 4. Stephen Maguire 5. Gavin Thornberry 6. Tom O’Reilly 7. Quentin Audiffren 8. Daire Horgan       9. Chris Lilly 10. Colin Sheridan 11. Ray Crotty  12. Maurice Walsh 13. Steve Toal Lennon 14. Owne Mariarty 15. Ciaran Collins.

Subs: Sean Preston, David Callanan, Darragh Devlin, JJ Clarke, Simon O’Donnell, Richie Mc Micken, Hugh McGovern.

                             Victory from the Jaws of defeat!

What is difficult to understand about sport and what is possibly its most compulsive attraction, is the way in which a team’s performance can vary so dramatically in the face of different opposition. Whereas last week, this group of guys played with total passion and focus against a very strong and talented Lansdowne side, this week for whatever reason, they simply did not bring their A game. This was particularly disappointing as it was in front of our home crowd who, once again, did not see a display of the real talent that exists in this team.  

I do not want to take away from a very focussed and quite talented opposition, nor do I want to knock our squad’s commitment (which ultimately allowed them to win out) but there was a lack of intensity and overall passion today which could easily have resulted in a surprise defeat.

There were however some very impressive performances from, for example, Maurice Walsh whose defensive tackling was superb all day; Stephen Maguire who was very effective in open play defence; Shane Kearney who tackled well and scored an excellent crash ball try with only two minutes left in the game and Owen Moriarty who again defended well and scored an excellent opportunistic try from his own 10mtr line. Sean Preston also scored a good “crash ball” try from one yard out following good forward pressure.

I remember thinking at the half time break that, if we were going to win the game, the tries were going to have to come from the forwards. Thankfully the forwards stepped up to the plate and delivered.

Our back line had many opportunities to score today and but for some unfortunate handling errors and in truth, some poor decision making, we could have closed off the game much earlier. The fact that the back line passing / decision making did not once result in our power runners, Ray Crotty or Owen Moriarty, receiving the ball going forward speaks volumes I believe and must be corrected going forward.

And so we progress to the next stage and carry 9 points with us. This is a good position to be in and our target now is to win our section outright. This will allow us the opportunity to play-off for a shot at the All Ireland.

So in summary, we won today even though it was not pretty. This is down to the fitness of the squad and their commitment to win out and they all deserve a lot of credit for this.

I feel however that, with this game, we have played our get-out-of-jail card and that we quickly need to get back to the performances we gave against Wanders and Lansdowne if we are to fulfil our full potential. The good news is that I have faith in this squad to do so.