07.11.2009 J4 XV v Clontarf (A)

07/11/20092.30pmLeagueClontarf13 – 16St. Marys J4 XVAway

The J4’s played Clontarf at Castle Avenue on Saturday afternoon in our second away game of the league season. Since the league has changed to a merit-based Section A, the team have been aware how crucial away wins will be. After losing our league opener away to Coolmine (albeit while picking up a bonus point), the lads were keen to get a result.

The conditions were good with the match taking place on the main pitch. It was cold with a breeze but the rain held off. That breeze played a part in the opening score, as Clontarf took an early lead. Clontarf won their own lineout just inside the Mary’s half and the ball was tapped down to the scrum-half. He took advantage of some missed tackles to break down our left wing. He chipped ahead and the ball seemed to drift out of play and the Mary’s players switched off. The breeze carried it back into play though and ‘Tarf got the touchdown in the corner for a 5-0 lead after only a few minutes.

The lads got right back into it and Teddy took a quick tap penalty in the Clontarf half, the ball was recycled quickly and prop Marc McKay took it on and offloaded to hooker/coach Eamon Moran to get the touchdown. Ted slotted the kick for a 7-5 lead.

‘Tarf regained the lead by kicking a penalty (8-7) and then extended it even further after a lineout outside the Mary’s 22 was won and mauled deep into our territory with their player breaking off the back to score down the blindside. 13-7 to Clontarf.

Clontarf were conceding penalties at nearly every breakdown but Mary’s were making a lot of mistakes and had more knock-ons than usually seen in far worse conditions. Just before half-time, after being tackled into touch in his own half, a Clontarf player refused to release the ball for a quick throw. leading to a tussle on the ground. The ref adjudged that the Mary’s No. 8 had kicked out while on the ground and produced a yellow card and awarded Clontarf a relieving penalty – great reward for their cynical tactics!

The ref advised at half-time that Clontarf’s constant concession of penalties at the breakdown would be addressed if it continued.

Mary’s came out of the traps quickly in the second half with a great burst for the line by second-row Joe Doddy, who was stopped just short but the ball was cynically killed by a Clontarf forward in a completely offside position and the ref duly produced the yellow card. The penalty was tapped and spread but the chance was lost.

Clontarf continued to concede penalties though and Teddy slotted one to bring the score back to 13-10 and another one soon after to level the scores.

Clontarf conceded a penalty at the breakdown yet again, but must have thought they were safe as it was just inside their half on the wrong side for our left-footed kicker. Teddy was having a great day with the placed ball though and confidently kicked us into the lead.

Clontarf came back and had a penalty towards the end but couldn’t convert and Mary’s eked out a precious away win.

After 4 matches, Mary’s lie in second, 3 points behind leaders Old Belvedere, who have a 100% record. Next up is Tallaght in Templeville Road on Saturday at 2.30. 

Gavin Rafferty