12.02.2011 J4 XV v Blackrock (A)

12/02/201112:00pmLeagueBlackrock College15 – 20St. Marys J4 XVAway

The J4’s travelled to Stradbrook to take on Blackrock on Saturday. The teams seemed well matched in the opening exchanges and there were no scores until the 16th minute when Blackrock were penalised for pulling down a very effective Mary’s lineout maul. Mary’s went down the line and again mauled the lineout ball very effectively all the way to the Rock line where hooker, Eamon Moran got the touchdown. Teddy couldn’t convert from out wide but Mary’s had a 5-0 lead.

Rock fought back and after 22 minutes, won a scrum against the head and scored close to the posts from the turnover. Their kicker missed the easy conversion however and the scores were level at 5-5.

Mary’s quickly earned a penalty at a breakdown halfway between the Rock 10 and 22 and Teddy slotted the kick to make it 8-5.

With 8 minutes to go until half-time, it was Blackrock’s turn to use the lineout maul. With many of their backs lending their weight, they got over for an unconverted try to lead 10-8 at half-time.

Mary’s were unlucky to be down at the break, having edged the first half performance-wise, and were determined to turn things around. From the kick-off, Mary’s attacked down the left wing and after some good phases, diminutive winger Chi-Yuen picked up the ball and darted for the line, managing to get the touch down despite a last-ditch tap tackle by Rock. Teddy slotted the conversion to make it 15-10.

Mary’s extended this lead further when, 8 minutes into the second half, Teddy kicked a penalty to touch deep in the opposition half. The lineout maul was again used to great effect, with Eamon scoring his second try in the corner. Teddy couldn’t convert but the lead stood at 20-10 and Mary’s looked comfortable.

Rock were right back in it 3 minutes later though, when they managed to block down a clearing kick in our 22. Mary’s defended the line for their lives as Rock tried a series of pick & go’s. They eventually went to the winger on the short side who managed to touch down. The ref awarded a try despite the wingers foot drifting into touch before going back into the field of play for the touch down. The conversion was wide and the scores stood at 20-15 to Mary’s.

Rock had another spell of pressure in the Mary’s half but the blues managed to defend well, picking off a Rock lineout or two, and soon found themselves back in the Rock half. Rock were conceding a lot of penalties at the breakdown (as they had in the first half) and after 25 minutes, Teddy had a penalty shot from out wide which went close but just across the face of goal.

Mary’s upped the pressure and from a ruck out on the left, prop Alan Godfrey made a great break down the touchline, managing to hold off the Rock tackler long enough to get the offload inside to winger Chi-Yuen who made it to the line but the ref (from a long way back) judged that the ball had been held up and went back for a penalty against Rock, from which Teddy was also just held up over the Rock line.

With 9 minutes left, the pressure being exerted by Mary’s at the breakdown got the better of Rock and one of their forwards was shown a straight red card for 2 punches thrown straight in front of the ref.

Mary’s failed to capitalise on the possession and territory that followed, with one overlap on the short side going to waste as the ball was spilled forward.

There was still time for Rock to get back into the Mary’s half but the blues had enough to withstand the pressure and to close out a deserved but hard-earned win, 20-15.

Next up for Mary’s is a home fixture against Coolmine on Saturday – our game in hand on leaders Barnhall.

15. Paul Whyte 14. Nick Cunningham 13. Darragh O’Neill 12. Paul Moran 11. Chi-Yuen Hui (Richard Pyne) 10. Brian Moran 9. Ross Wynne 8. Padraig Nestor 7. Phil Conway (C) 6. Tim Henderson 5. John Twomey 4. Joe Doddy 3. Alan Godfrey 2. Eamon Moran 1. Ross Kelly