25.04.2009 J4 XV v Coolmine (H)

25/04/20093:00p.m.Winter’s CupSt. Marys J4 XV23 – 14CoolmineHome

 St Mary’s College J4 V Coolimine J4
23                    14

The J4’s continued their impressive season (only one defeat all year) with a Winters Cup semi-final victory over Coolmine in Templeville Road on Saturday.

Mary’s started well against the experienced, beefy pack of the league finalists, and a clean lineout take in the Coolmine half led to a well-executed rolling maul that reinforced the message that the Mary’s 8 has been sending to opposition packs all season – we stand up to bigger packs and won’t take a backwards step.

Coolmine used the possession they got very well in the first half, with their outhalf having a big accurate boot. A couple of uncharacteristic mistakes in the first half gave them territory in the Mary’s half and they kicked 2 penalties for a 6-0 lead. Teddy kicked 3 points for us to halve their lead at the break.

Mary’s upped the pace a level in the second half and put some width on the ball. Free-scoring winger Nick Cunningham got the ball out wide at the Coolmine 22 and managed to jink and sidestep his way to the line for the first try of the game. Ted couldn’t kick the points from the touchline but Mary’s took an 8-6 lead.

It soon became clear that Coolmine would have to change their tactics as the boot of their 10, which was so effective in preserving a lead, wasn’t going to be enough to regain it.

Mary’s continued to push and as the backs spread the ball, a grubber through led to some lax defending by the Coolmine backline and their man was beaten to the ball by Nick and full-back Colm Quinn with Quinner showing the greater pace to get the touchdown. 13-6 to Mary’s.

Coolmine are a very good side and it’s no coincidence that they went into this game chasing a J4 double and they soon had a penalty in front of our posts which they slotted to reduce the deficit. 13-9.

Mary’s won clean, off the top ball from a lineout in the Coolmine half and a simple backs move left the elder statesman of the team, first centre Paul Moran (37 years young!), with an open run to the line. His old legs managed to sustain his arcing run and he touched down in the corner. 18-9 to Mary’s.

With only a few minutes to go, Coolmine pressed again and a succession of pick & go’s, despite excellent tackling from Mary’s, led to them crashing over for a score. Conversion was missed, 18-14 to Mary’s.

Having been in a similar situation in their one defeat of the season, Mary’s were determined not to let a lead that was hard-fought, slip at the death. Cool heads prevailed and the tackling was as good at the death as in the first minute. In the final seconds, scrum half Ross Wynne spotted that there was no-one at home and put a chip over the top for Nick Cunningham to race onto and score his second try of the game. Final score, St. Mary’s 23 Coolmine 14.

A word of thanks to the members of the 1963 Winters Cup winning team who contacted us and attended the match to express their support. It was much appreciated by the lads. Thanks also to those who made it to Templeville to support us even though the J2’s were clinching the double at Anglesea Road.

The final has been set for Tuesday 5th May in Donnybrook at 7.30. I’d encourage all members who can make it to come and support the lads as they attempt to bring the Winters Cup back to Templeville for the first time since 1996. This especially goes out to anyone who has been involved in J4 rugby over the years and knows how high the skill levels can be and how difficult it is to win a trophy at this level.

Gavin Rafferty

15. Colm Quinn 14. Nick Cunningham 13. Darragh O’Neill 12. Paul Moran 11. Chi-Yuen Hui (Kieran Morrissey) 10. Teddy Moran 9. Ross Wynne 8. Padraig Nestor 7. Tim Henderson (Phil Conway) 6. Andy McCarthy 5. Joe Doddy 4. John Twomey 3. Ross Kelly 2. Eamon Moran 1. Alan Godfrey