04.02.2012 J4 XV v Wanderers (A)

04/02/20123:00pmLeagueWanderers17 – 21St. Marys J4 XVAway

Wanderers J4 17 St Marys J4 21

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Never have the famous words been more apt than after Saturdays display of courage and steel from the men in blue. Due to injuries, late cry off’s and one no show the J4’s were forced to take to the field with only 13 players against a Wanderers side who ran us close in Templeville, came within 4 points of toppling the Greystones Galacticos a few weeks back and sat above us in the table!

Right from the off the brave 13 tore into Wanderers and despite the numerical advantage we more than held our own in the early exchanges. After only 5 minutes it seemed the impossible could yet be achieved and after a lovely set play move, Muller (centre by trade, back row by necessity) ran a lovely line to cut straight through the Wanderers defence and canter in under the posts. Ted added the conversion to make it 7-0. The pressure began to mount from Wanderers and, after a penalty to make it 7-3, a crooked throw from our lineout allowed them to scoop up the ball and skip through two tackles to score and take the lead 10-7. The pressure didn’t stop and only immense last gasp defending kept Wanderers at bay. As the half drew to a close and with still no sign of the cavalry arriving a long kick up the park led to a Wanderers scrum under their posts. Oddly, they chose to run the ball out and “retired” Paul Moran showed he still has an eye for a half chance as he tipped their pass up in the air before catching the ball over the line and securing our second try. Ted slotted the kick to leave the half time score 14-10.

Some desperate phone calls from the sideline as the first half began meant we would be up to 15 by the end of the game but as the second half kicked off the first “sub” arrived. With 14 v 15 it was meant to get easier. However the lads had used up a lot of energy in the first half and it began to tell as Wanderers began to dictate the pace of the game. On a surface better suited to Laytown, the J4’s continued to hold fast. Some inspiring defence at times meant the score remained the same until 15 minutes into the second half outhalf Teddy Moran threw one of his trade mark dummies and galloped for the line. Rather than being selfish he drew the full back and popped the scoring pass to his brother Paul, who touched down for a giant score! The simple conversion made it 21-10 and suddenly the reality set in that this game was ours to lose. Our number four, Joe Doddy, arrived shortly afterward to allow us the full compliment of 15 men for the final 20 mins. And boy did we need him! The previous 60 minutes had taken its toll and weary legs were beginning to show. The grand cru was put back on ice as Wanderers scored another try from fatigue induced mistakes by us. As the clock ticked closer to the end the time seemed to slow down and after what seemed like a third half of defending right on our own line the ref blew for a penalty against the home side and Ted gratefully kicked the ball dead to cue richly deserved celebrations. A truly epic performance from St Marys.

Wanderers had been second and with both of us having played runaway leaders Greystones twice this effectively was the decider for second spot. Not a bad result with 13 players!

A huge thanks to Ciaran, Joe and Wally for giving us a hand. Ciaran dropped his Saturday plans to come at extreme short notice (the match had kicked off when he got the call!), Joe cut short his wedding planning and Wally yet again answered the call so we could field a team. He’s played more matches since he retired than some of our main players! He won’t be put out to pasture just yet!

On a separate note, congratulations to Greystones RFC on winning the J4 league. Without doubt the strongest team in the competition.