21.02.2010 U20 Premier XV v Clontarf (H)

21/02/20103.00pmJ.P. Fanagan LeagueSt. Marys U21s 1st XV28 – 22ClontarfHome

                        St Mary’s Vs  Clontarf             28-22

The Squad:

1. Neil Murphy, 2. Tommy Merideth, 3. Robert Ferris, 4. Robbie Field,  5. Sean Tevlin , 6. Wesley Wojnar, 7. Gareth Austin, 8. Darragh Keller,

9. Brian Heavey, 10. Colin Sheridan, 11. Ciaran Collins, 12. Edouard Nicolay, 13. Steve Toal-Lennon, 14. Ian O’Neill, 15. Ray Crotty 16. Rory O’Donovan,

17. Sean Preston, 18. Owen McGill, 19. Darragh Maher 20. Simon O’Donnell,

21. Daragh Fitzgerald, 22. Ross Wynn,

Ok! So I’m finally recovered enough from the UCD match to write my next report. I was however reminded at the weekend by the members of the “Travelling Loyal Supporters Club”, that not everything about the performance against UCD (apart from the loss) was poor and of course they are correct. Our forwards destroyed their pack culminating in a walk over try from a five yard scrum. Not something UCD are used to I’m guessing.

Overall the tackling was excellent and apart from two stupid mistakes / loss of concentration resulting in two easy tries for UCD we were punching equal to UCD on the day.  AAAGGGHH Enough said about that game.!

The Clontarf match last weekend however was a different animal. Lessons had been given and learned during the preceding week and my hope was that the player focus would be much improved on the day. In the first 10 minutes of the game it was evident that Clontarf were going to have difficulty holding out our back line AND YET, totally against the run of play Clontarf ran in a try under the posts. I reached for the Rennie!

In the 15th minute however, Ray (who was badly missed against UCD) collected a Clontarf  kick on the half way line and broke for the wing at pace. Linking well with Nellie, they put together a string of passes to allow Ray over in the corner. Ray then kicked an excellent conversion from the touch line. (7-7) and game on!

Robert Ferris, Robbie Field and Darragh Keller were outstanding on the day making really good hard yardage and Neil Murphy, Gareth Austin Tommy and Wes tackled everything that moved. Tev and McGill controlled the lineouts & the initial hole in defence at 9/10 was quickly closed.

Another lapse in concentration on 17 minutes however and I’m beginning to think that this team, which has all the potential to win the competition, has a glitch in their make up which could prove very costly. From our 22 kick off the Clontarf player caught and kicked the ball back to our 22. No one collected it and the chasing Clontarf players collected the ball and ran in under the posts. Now I’m thinking something stronger than the Rennie is needed.

A penalty to Clontarf and we, while in my opinion are the better team on the day, are behind 7-17.

And then the guys showed us why we have so much faith in them. The platform from the forwards was fantastic all day. I doubt there is a better front row in the competition than Neil Murphy, Sean Preston, Robert Ferris, Tommy Merideth and Rory O’Donovan. Following a 90o scrum by Mary’s, the resulting St.Mary’s scrum set  the platform for Heavey and Sheridan to send Ciarzo in under the posts. A well practiced and executed move. Ray converted easily. (14-17)

Next cam a repeat of the UCD encounter with the pack dominating and walking over a rolling maul from 15 yards out. Again Ray converted well from the touch line. (21-17)

Another excellent forward try from close in. Several re-sets finally allowed Tommy Merideth, with Robert Ferris on his shoulder, to charge over for a well worked try and again Ray converted.

At this point Sean Preston replaced Robert Ferris, Darradh Maher replaced Was Wojner, Owen McGill replaced Robbie Field (injured) Simon O’Donnell replaced Heavey (injured), Daragh Fitzgerald replaced Colin Sheridan, Ross Wynn replaced Ciaran Collins and Rory O Donovan replaced Keller.

A late, but well worked try by Clontarf added a little spice to the closing minutes but overall this was an excellent performance by the whole squad. The winning of this competition is now in our own hands and we need to win all our remaining matches (Blackrock @ home, Trinity @ home & Lansdowne away) with a couple of bonus points if possible. If the squad can bring their game to each of these occasions and leave behind the costly errors, then silverware is certainly on the cards.

See you all Sunday.