20.04.2013 J2 XV v Stillorgan (A)

20/04/20133:00pm – KIRWAN PARK, DLSPCupSt. Marys J2 XV37 – 11StillorganAway

J2 Cup Final
St. Mary’s College RFC 37 Stillorgan RFC 11

The J2s completed the League and Cup double on Saturday after beating Stillorgan in Kilternan. The cup win rounded off an excellent year for Captain Graeme McInerney and his team who were only beaten once in a total of 17 competitive games. We needed an extended squad to achieve this and many players contributed hugely over the course of the season, not just the 20 who played in the final. To be able to cope with the loss of Alan Shirley, Jason Verdon and Jack Buggy and still be able to field the backline below indicates the great strength in depth that we are lucky to possess. In the forwards, compared to last season we also had to deal with the loss of such club stalwarts as Rob Ryan, Eoin Keane, The Foran brothers, Mark McKay and Marc Aboud. The guys who came in this year really added to the squad and we developed a good brand of fast, expansive and aggressive rugby. 

We needed all of these qualities to beat a very powerful and motivated Stillorgan team. This was their highest ever final and they beat Lansdowne, Clontarf and Malahide en route to the final. Stillorgan have become a force at J2 level and a real welcome addition to the J2 ranks – particularly when so many of the older senior clubs struggle to field at this level. 

We expected an early on-slaught from the massive Stillorgan forwards and we got it. Using their big maul, strong ball carriers and expert ‘choke’ tackle they dominated the first half. Only in the last few minutes did we get going and scored two vital tries before the break. Both tries came after great phase play and rucking from Mary’s with Harry Norton going over in the right corner but unfortunately breaking his nose in the process. He had to retire and was replaced by Hugh McGovern. The second try was finished brilliantly in the left corner by Barry Cahill. Despite these scores Stillorgan still led 11-10 after 10 minutes of the second half.

Under real pressure we managed to produce our best 30 minutes of the season. Our forwards decided they were tired of being pushed around and began to dominate. Lower body angles in contact and at ruck time generated faster ball, ball which the backs began to use in the wider channels resulting in tries for Ronan O’Doherty and Hugh McGovern who intercepted brilliantly to score. The pack spotted weakness at the tail of the opposition lineout and created two excellent mauls at 6 resulting in scores for Rob Timmons and Brian Moran –  some achievement given the opposition. Overall, it was an excellent performance that the lads can be proud of.

A big thank you to all the players and management for a great year. Graeme was a superb captain and fully deserved to lift both Leinster trophies. Player coaches Alan Shirley and Colm Barry were ever present, strong influences all year. Derek Gately managed the team brilliantly and provided great video analysis. Sarah Gately did a great job as physiotherapist and her support was really valued by all the players. Thanks to the J3s under Jack Ebbs, Philip Lynch and Ian Kelly – both squads worked well together and won trophies.

Thanks to Kevin Conboy and the Rugby Council for all the help during the year. Thanks to Niall Rynne for his constant encouragement. We were all delighted to have added some silverware to the mantlepiece in the year of Michael Fanagan’s presidency and we would like to thank him sincerely for his support all year. Finally, thanks to all the parents, relatives, wives and girlfriends for coming out to support us all year long.

Stephen Shirley

15. Harry Norton 14. Barry Cahill 13. Kieran Lewis 12. Graham Crawford 11. Ronan O’Doherty 10. Joey Connolly 9. Eoin McCormack 8. David Wilson 7. Colm Barry 6. Rob Timmons 5. Graeme McInerney (Captain) 4. Gavin Thornberry 3. Peter Barrett 2. Brian Moran 1. Kenny McInerney.

Subs (all used): 16. Louis Burke 17. Mikey Houlihan 18. Ger Somers 19. Simon Gibney 20. Hugh McGovern