St Mary’s College RFC V Terenure College RFC
Ulster Bank, AIL Division 1A
Saturday 30th September 2017.
It is local derbies that help keep club rugby alive and once again this one lived up to expectations in all respects. The day was glistening as was the club, the latter due to Marie, Pat and Tony. The game was exhilarating and competitive and the crowd sporting and handsome. The pre-match lunch was bubbling and filled with inter-clubs chatter and fun. The fine meal was festive (turkey and ham), in keeping with the occasion. Our president, dapper, David Fanagan’s post prandial dissertation was fluent and welcoming in all respect, with suitable humorous inputs and genuine appreciations. Terenure’s affable president, Tom Moloney, was likewise humorous and warm in his reply; and then exceptional Marys’ man, journalist and former footballing and rugby superstar, Tony Ward, gave a fascinating and insightful talk on the great traditions of sporting rivalry between the two clubs.
The game was one of intriguing rivalries, exciting moves, intense passages and highly skilled phases. Terenure were the winners because they maintained a high level of engagement throughout the entire game. The first half belonged in the main, to Marys, in a supercharged performance from both teams. It was a slight drop of intensity and concentration by the home team, in periods of the second half that led to defensive errors and ultimate disappointment. Throughout the game there were interchanges which vibrated with velocity and power. Clashes were herculean, with thuds and thumps. Offloads were mesmeric, moves mercurial, and support plays were superb. Both sides had periods of laying siege to the opposing line. Nure put a lot of width on their attack to good effect, particularly in the second half. They have a balanced team that minds the ball well and shows patience and confidence; their position at the head of the league reflects this.
Our pack played with the desire required, especially in the first half and the set pieces were solid and our scrum is starting to reach last season’s levels. Behind the scrum too, there was a perceptible rise in cohesion. An injury to exceptional Caelan Doris was a significant loss and we hope that a repeat of the ankle injury that kept him out for so long last season is not as severe as on that occasion. There were many good individual performances. In the first half Nick McCarthy put in a very fine effort, his tackle rate was high and he effected some important turnovers. Having only returned from a very long injury layoff he tired somewhat in the second half. Jack Dilger continues to impress and Ciaran Ruddock and his partner, David O’Connor, worked endlessly, with the skipper also adding a try to his collection. Behind the scrum the hard running of Tim Maupin was evident, he was up to support and score the first try, and one break from him, led to the Ruddock try. However, it was the work rate, skill and efficacy of inside centre, Paddy Lavelle, who has been ascending the form ladder weekly, that earned him the SoftCo Mom Award. He made the break leading to the first try, he made numerous incursions, took on uninviting ball, covered and organised well. It was encouraging too to see talented, Conor Dean, coming back from long-term injury to join the fray in the second half.
The first half was a classic derby game with high stakes. The home team shot into top gear and playing towards the Road End they ran quality vectors, with support play and fast rucking. After 14 minutes of mainly attack play MoM Paddy Lavelle made a stinging break, hard running Tim Maupin was up to score; and Sean Kearns converted. It was 30 minutes, when Tim Maupin made a dynamic run from midfield and when stopped near to the Nure line for recycle, ruck and take, Ciaran Ruddock picked and used his immense power to bore over; Sean again converted. Looking good, but just a minute later, Nure’s James O’Donoghue made a fine outside break to score a very good try; converted. That was how the first half finished, 14 – 7.
The second half showed a high tempo restart from Nure and after 46 minutes the Nure 7, Niall Lalor, ran 25 metres through Marys’ defence close in, to score and so it was 14 – 12. Nure kept up the offensive and on 54 minutes, were rewarded by a penalty and yellow card to Marys, after pressure on the home line. They went to the corner and following a lineout take and well worked maul, the Nure skipper, Robbie Smyth, dived over. Then it was 14 – 19. O’Neill added a penalty on 62 minutes and on 67 minutes, after a strong picks and go series, vigilant, young Nure 9, Tim Schmidt (son of Ireland coach, Joe) dived over for their bonus point try and that left us trailing 14 – 29. We worked hard to get a losing bonus point and on 78 minutes Craig Kennedy swooped on a loose pass to intercept, and he fairly zoomed 40 metres to score under the posts, Sean made it 21 – 29. However, Nure got a penalty on 82 minutes, this killed off the hopes and made the final score 21 – 32.
Although Marys lost, there was little between the sides and there was definite progress evident. The young side will have gained much in experience and confidence. Likewise, Peter Burke and Steve Bradshaw will have noted a lot that pleased them and areas on which they will work. The way that results are going makes it bewildering, and difficult to presage, or plot future strategies.
It was good to see, on a really lovely evening, that a great many supporters stayed out on the well filled terraces after the senior game, to watch the entertaining and high tempo J1 game, held after the main event.
Next Friday we visit the Belfield Bowl to play UCD and that will be a difficult visit, however, if there is concentration, ball retention and good use of precious turnovers, we can start a series of good results. We hope to have Hugh Kellegher, Darren Moroney, Hugo Kean (possible), Mark Fallon, Cathal O’Flaherty and Robbie Glynn back. David Aspil, also played for the J1s today in his return to match fitness.
Many AIL players and supporters are not fans of the Friday games, which are difficult for amateur players, after a day’s work and then, often there are fraught travelling conditions. With the importance of the game it is imperative that we make the same sacrifices as the players to get there. We can then crowd out the bowl and help carry our lads to victory. It would be a real uplift. There is then the dreaded break after next Friday’s game
Team (Rolling Replacements X12)
15 T Maupin, 14 M Carey, 13 R O’Loughlin, 12 P Lavelle, 11 C Kennedy, 10 S Kearns, 9 P O’Driscoll, 8 J Dilger, 7 N McCarthy, 6 C Doris, 5 D O’Connor, 4 C Ruddock (Capt), 3 A Coyle, 2 R Halpin, 1 T O’Reilly, S O’Brien, J Aungier, D McDonnell, C Dean, B Cullinane.