1st XV v Buccaneers (A) by D. O’Brien 09.12.2017

Buccaneers RFC V St Mary’s College RFC

6 22

AIL Division 1A

Dubarry Park

Saturday 9thDecember 2017.

“Christmas Present”,


Yes, from the team, a super Christmas present, and just what we needed. This was one that may not have been a sparkler, rather an honest piece of work. Yet it seemed the more valuable for all that. Thank you, coaches, management and squad. Thank you also supporters, You are back to your best, Joyce and Eileen brought a large coach down, 49 seater, without an empty seat, and the cars pulled into Dubarry Park in mini convoys; altogether out shouting the home supporters, it was uplifting; and to see the relieved joy on the President, David’s face, was in itself, well worth the trip.

As noted, this was a graft, but an admirable graft, where everyone did their job well and for the entire game. The team showed consistency and constancy, with a complete match performance and that was the difference. Buccaneers for their part, played with their usual commitment and drive, giving hard competition. They had a slightly different team than that which faced us in Templeville Road. This week our scrum had dominance, which gave us a try in the first half. The Marys’ lineout again faltered on occasion, but our ruck pace and ball composure were much improved. These were the deciding factors.

Generally this was a team concert, but there were some signal performances. The pack stood hard against a rugged eight, and there again, Cathal O’Flaherty showed his value in the lineout, also in defence and with ball. Nick McCarthy has the ferocity of drive, leadership and skills to add so much, unfortunately, due possibly to the former quality, he is sometimes injured, but while intact he contributes intelligently and well. However, once again one cannot but marvel at young Caelan Doris. He has all the molecules and kinetics to be what he is, exceptional. He has the qualities seen in star players, Time and timing. He excelled in all aspects of the game and again deservedly receives the SoftCo MoM award.

Last week’s SoftCo MoM Marcus O’Driscoll, aggravated a groin strain in the warm up, this led to a reshuffle of the backline and Mathew Oppermann coming in on the wing. Looking at the backline running out at the start of the game, one would be reminded of a Leinster Schools’ SCT, young, slight and callow. That was where the comparison finished, they performed with aplomb. Craig Kennedy has been the most consistent back this season, and he continued with a fine performance. We were very happy to welcome back Seanie Kearns from long-term injury, and having Terry Kennedy back at fullback, gave a constantly fizzing fuse to start an instant chain reaction. But Myles Carey, who has been serving well on the wing, showed his true home den, 12. He was a joy. He was solid in defence and brave and alert in attack, he worked nonstop, he took on ball effectively and showed awareness and ingenuity in purloining the ball for his invaluable try. At last, Mathew Oppermann got an opportunity to show his pace, and he did, with a sprinkle of guile and a dollop of bravery.

The Game

This did not look like a basement bash, it was a solid tough game and with two teams in great need; it had enough dagger to stimulate senses and audience adrenaline. It did really seem from early on that Marys had slightly the better of the venture, but only just. The constant rattle of our travelling support appeared to lift the team the little bit extra needed.

On a really piercingly cold day the teams got to it right away with the exchanges even. It became obvious that the Marys’ scrum was in the ascendant and when on 14 minutes, after a series of attacks on the Buccs line, the visitors were awarded a scrum, repeat penalty scrums then led to rampant shunt forward and the scrum crossed the line, although Caelan, controlling well, touched down a penalty try was awarded. 0-7. Buccaneers kicked a penalty on 26 minutes and on 32 minutes St Marys were penalised at a maul near their line. This led to a yellow card and converted penalty, 6 – 7. A penalty awarded to Marys close to the halfway line on 38 minutes, saw Seanie coolly stroke the ball and watch it sail through the posts. Marys continued to attack and on 40 minutes Terry Got the ball on the right hand side to the pitch and looped at Kennedy pace leaving defenders, then he straightened and slipped the ball to Mathew Oppermann who slipped over nicely. This gave the visitors a 6 – 15 lead at half time.

The second half remained competitive and even, however, this week there was no hiatus in, Marys’ concentration and pace. This made a real difference. We did miss a close penalty, but it did not affect the team which kept working and on 77 minutes a Buccs defender was caught on the line under the posts by fast following up Ian Cullinane, and Myles Carey in support ripped the ball from the defender and dived for the line, Conor Dean, who was now floating impressively, kicked the conversion. 6 – 22, which is how it ended. St Marys came very close in the last few minutes to grabbing a bonus point try, once a ball just rolling away from an attacking pair of hands. Christmas Past was never better than this Christmas Present.

Now with a break until 6thJanuary 2018. This will give all involved a chance to appraise the situation and get back the many injured players. No doubt the players will have a mental rest and work incessantly hard on their fitness. If we can build to super fitness, there is a really good chance that we can close out games and run teams out before the game’s end. If too our support continues as the last two games, we are in for a very happy, Blue and White, new-year.

I wish you, who still read my efforts, a great Christmas, with everything you need, especially, hope and sharing.

D O’Brien

Team (Rolling Replacements X12)
15 T Kennedy, 14 M Oppermann, 13 C Kennedy, 12 M Carey, 11 T Maupin, 10 S Kearns, 9 P O’Driscoll, 8 C Doris, 7 N McCarthy , 6 H Kelleher, 5 C O’Flaherty, 4 C Ruddock (Capt), 3 A Coyle, 2 R Halpin, 1 T O’Reilly, H Kean, J Aungier, R Glynn, C Dean, D McDonnell,