|14/04/2012||3:00pm||O’Connor Cup||St. Marys J5 XV||10 – 8||Bective Rangers||Away|
O’Connor Cup Semi Final Saturday 14th April in Glenamuck v Bective Rangers RFC
Whereas the eyes of the Club were (quite rightly) fixed on our marvellous firsts in Castle Avenue, a small matter of the O’Connor Cup semi final was occupying the minds of a bunch of J5 rugby players with enough spirit and determination to fill the whole Club! On a wind swept pitch, Bective won the toss, played with the elements and applied pressure through a strong scrum and well drilled pack. Somehow this opening onslaught of nearly 20 minutes was rebuffed time after time, by equally committed waves of St Marys College RFC scramble defence. Rodrigo alone put in 25 tackles in this half when everyone’s tackle count was very high indeed also. After 35 minutes playing with the strong wind, Bective secured a penalty to go 3 0 ahead. On the stroke of half time, Bective ran the ball wide and left…for the first time…and went over in the corner for a try. (This same left hand corner of the pitch was to produce quite a bit of drama late in the second half too!) And we so turned at half time 8 0 down but knowing that, with enough possession, we could still turn this into a win. With limited success at our own lineout and a first 20 minutes of pressure yet again from Bective, we ended up playing defensive rugby … again. We could not get our hands on the ball for long enough periods to clear our lines and set up the attacking platform we needed. Time was ticking by and 30 minutes into the second half, still at 8 0 down, we finally won a penalty on the 10 meter line…one of only two penalties we won all game! Olan Cleary slotted with ease and our team was galvanised … yet again. (How often does a team’s first score deliver that winning confidence!?) From then on, it was all St Marys … the great and welcome addition of the U21 players helped in no small way to use our greater fitness levels for this most crucial part of the game. We finally got clean ball, the lineout started working and with 5 minutes to go, we ran the ball simply and effectively though the hands left and aiming for the same corner that Bective scored in, in the first half. 4 clean passes to our stand in wing, Jack Ebbs, who brilliantly checked his overrun and received the ball behind him, turned without breaking stride, beat the last tackle and scored a great team try in this (particularly busy) corner of the pitch! 8 8 with 4 minutes and a conversion from the sideline to go. (A fully charged defibrillator was handed out to the St Marys College RFC coach on the sideline at this stage!) Olan Cleary (using up 59 of the 60 seconds allowed to take a kick!) struck a conversion between the sticks from an impossible angle! St Marys ahead 10 8 with 3 minutes to go…who would have believed it! This team did! Bective are a good, clever and more mature team and cleverly worked their way back up the pitch and with one minute to go, won a penalty 30 meters out and in front of our posts …probably to win the match. The wind died as the penalty was given, making the kick easier. (The sound of the second charge of the defibrillator on the sideline broke the deafening silence!) As the Bective kicker started his run, the wind returned and thankfully guided the ball 6” wide to the left! What drama! What a game! And nothing more than this team deserved after such a spirited, never lie down, play till the last minute performance! Junior Rugby has never been so dramatic, engaging, heart breaking …. and beautiful to watch! The O’Connor Cup final awaits this spirited team…and that’s the least they deserve.