24.01.2010 U20 Premier XV v Lansdowne (H)

24/01/20103:30pmJ.P. Fanagan LeagueSt. Marys U21s 1st XV15 – 9LansdowneHome

                        St Mary’s Vs Lansdowne                    15-9

The Squad:

1. Neil Murphy, 2.Tommy Meredith, 3. Sean Preston, 4. Robbie Field,  5. Sean Tevlin , 6. Wesley Wojnar, 7. Gareth Austin, 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,(cpt) 16. Rory O Donovan,

17. Robert Ferris, 18. Gavin Thornberry, 19. Ronan Lennon 20. Brian Heavey,

21. Darradh Fitzgerald, 22. Ciaran Collins,

What a game! What a great game and an even better win against out old nemesis!

Over the years, Lansdowne have shattered many of our hopes with their (some would say) loaded teams and no more so than in the Tomsie Byrne Cup earlier in the season. Last Sunday was an opportunity for the squad to get some payback (and yes they were reminded about it) and also to show their quality and intention for the rest of the season.

To my mind they did both jobs admirably. Before the game we were conscious of the Lansdowne strength up front, the danger of their No 10. and also the fact that their kicker would convert every opportunity given to him in our half. He certainly lived up to his reputation converting an excellent penalty from the touch line after only 15 minutes.

Their pack however were simply no match for ours and all credit to Neil Murphy, Tommy Merrideth, Sean Preston and Robert Ferris (who replaced Neil in the second half) for totally neutralising the traditional Lansdowne threat.

The St Mary’s backs were always going to be the stronger of the two back lines and with the solid platform established, all that was needed was clean ball.  Mid way through the first half, following excellent ball from a very solid scrum on the half way line, Lilly supplied good ball to Steve Toal-Lennon who made excellent ground. His off load to Hudson was well timed and Darren ran in under the posts. Ray converted. From start to finish, this team try was enough to put the wind up any scout watching the game as it demonstrated just how strong we can be when we believe.

While I mentioned the front row earlier, the rest of the pack deserves huge credit also. Robbie’s aggression in open play was a joy to watch and he made excellent yardage all day. Keller’s work rate was up to his usual high standards as was Sean Tevlin’s who secured us good lineout ball consistently. (ably replaced by Gavin Thornberry during the second half).

Wesley Wojnar and Garreth Austin worked hard to neutralise the No 10 threat who was obviously a very talented player, and for the most part they succeeded. Wesley unfortunately injured his hip and was replaced by Ronan Lennon before half time.

Lansdowne again punished us with another good penalty before half time.

With only 5 minutes gone in the second half, Lansdowne again converted an excellent penalty (now 9-7 to Lansdowne) and it seemed possible for a while, although totally against the run of play, that our indiscipline could cost us the game.

The team showed their metal however and, following a sustained period of forward pressure which sucked in the defence, the ball was released to Eduard, Steve-Toal Lennon and ultimately to Ray who scored an excellent try in the corner.

Ray subsequently converted an excellent penalty from the 10yrd line.

Lansdowne piled on the pressure and their Full Back and winger were denied a try out of defence by the ‘cross pitch covering tackle’ of Nellie (his trademark tackle) and the excellent defence of Ray Crotty and Chris Lilly.

For the last 10 minutes St Mary’s were forced to defend a spirited attack from Lansdowne and they did so very well.

Well done to all concerned on an excellent display of rugby and for giving the club a much needed lift at the weekend. Although we will be missing 5 of our starting 15 for next Sunday’s rematch against Trinity (Templeville Road) , we are very confident in our overall squad and so we look forward to it with no small sense of optimism. We would of course welcome as much support on the day as possible.

Thanks to the regulars for their continued support and also to Shaun McCarthy who took the pre-match warm up last Sunday.