J2 XV v Enniscorthy (H) – 12.01.2020

St. Mary’s College RFC J2s VS Enniscorthy J1s:

I’d like to start this match report off with a warning – as I’m doing “Dry January” I feel like after 12 days that all the alcohol has finally left my system. This means two things – I had no hangover watching the game so I missed nothing and I am currently totally sober writing this match report which may or may not be a new experience – let’s see how it goes.

As our J2s warmed up before our home fixture VS Enniscorthy RFC, it seemed like all was great in the world. We had a home match that could potentially put us on top of the league, the weather conditions were perfect and everyone was in a great mood. However, about 10 minutes before kick-off, we realised something was off. With only minutes until 2.30pm, we had no referee. After a lot of scrambling and phone-calls, no ref could be found. Go tobann, the clouds parted and a light shone down on the just-arrived Michael O’Flaherty, fresh from hosting his Annual Club Dinner the night before – it was a sign from above. After discussions with Leinster Branch and both management teams it was agreed that Flats could ref the match. We then told Flats his assistance was needed and he graciously accepted the mantle – rushing home to find his dusty ref attire.

At 2.55pm, 25 minutes late, the game kicked off. 8 minutes in, a scrum was wheeled and overturned to Mary’s who won it comfortably. The ball was picked and the fast-paced Conor Sexton (no relation) dove over the line in the corner to put us ahead. Sexton unfortunately then injured himself during his post-try celebration dance and had to come off – “totally worth it” was the response when questioned by management. 5-0. After 15 minutes, Rob Trew, who swapped roles with Sean Donohue this week and started on the wing, crashed Trew (see what I did there) the Enniscorthy defence and barrelled over the line on his wing – a brick wall wouldn’t have stopped him – for a brilliant score. 10-0. 19 minutes gone – after some silly mistakes, a penalty was given to Enniscorthy in front of the post and this was easily converted by their number ten. 10-3. Just minutes later Enniscorthy slipped around a ruck and cruised under the posts for a try – also converted – 10-10.

Mary’s then realised that a capable Enniscorthy side would take advantage of any errors. From the kick-off, Mary’s were on the offensive – stealing the ball from the visitors and offloading the ball off to the pacey Denis Daly who dove over in the corner – thankfully, unlike Sexton, Denis didn’t injure himself in the corner. As our resident Frenchman Bourkey had to be replaced due to injury, our resident Barrister – Ciarán “The Law” Murphy – took over kicking duties and put it between the posts to make the score 17-10 to Mary’s. Enniscorthy, again taking advantage of a slight error in defence snatched an easy try and converted to make it 17-17. With only ten minutes left in the first half, Robert “Chatty” Beverland won a lineout 5 metres away from the Enniscorthy try line and held on to it tight. After only a handful of crash-balls, the recently appointed number seven Sean Donohue thundered over the line to guarantee a 4-try bonus point. Murph then added the two extra points. At 38 minutes, Enniscorthy had a lineout on our 22 metre line – but Mary’s snatched it from their hands and after some brilliant hands from our fantastic back-line, Mick O’Malley-Cat went over for the try. The score at half time was 31 – 17 to St. Mary’s.

The start of the second half saw the introduction of backs’ coach, Ronan “Ronda” Doherty. Ronda kindly said he would fill a spot on the team as we were low on numbers – pretending he wasn’t dying to play. “Oh ok fine…I’ll play” he said before anyone could even ask him to tog out. Despite being closer to 40 than 30, and despite the fact that he’s greying faster than his hair dye can keep up with, Ronda put in a phenomenal half and showed the lads that despite his advanced years he can still move like he used to – almost impossible to catch and feet that would make Jordan Larmour jealous. Just don’t tell his wife he played today…

2 minutes into the second half, Denis Daly intercepted a looping pass and ran 50 metres to score his second try of the match under the posts with Murph converting. 38-17. I could give some insight into the next 34 minutes but it generally consisted of each team putting in massive hits and making line-breaks – but it’s Sunday and I’m tired so basically neither team scored until 36 minutes gone when Enniscorthy ran in a try to make the score 38-22. Our centre-extraordinaire Ciaran Collins unfortunately went down injured and the game ended shortly after with the Boys in Blue coming out with a bonus point win to put them on top of Division 3!!

There are a number of lads who played out of their skin today – we were left very short on players – finishing the game with no subs left, meaning everyone who played today put a tremendous shift in. Matty Fagan who turned his hand to play in the back row instead of number two didn’t miss a tackle and carried like a trooper. As did Captain Fionan Magee who led the team as only he could. Bev played as he always does – reliable and strong. Nidge – who played an instrumental role in defence from the backline put a tremendous shift in and played another blinder (as always). Ciaran Murphy who stepped up for kicking duties played the full 80 – kicking tremendously despite getting tackled up and down the pitch – not once did he complain or let up. A tremendous team effort from every man on the day.

This week was possibly the hardest to choose a Man of the Match for – every single player had a tremendous game and it came down to overall effort, work-rate and adaptability. The Man of the Match for this week goes to Sean Donohue who moved to the forwards this week from the backline – Sean put in some massive hits, rucked and scrummaged well and despite taking some big hits, carried on for the full 80 – well done to Sean, and to all of the lads today.

Thanks to all who came out to cheer on our boys and a big thanks to the management and coaching team who thankfully put batteries into Lenzo’s walkie-talkies this week. Gavin “Joe Schmidt” Thornberry over-ruled me and said that it was just cruel to keep doing it to him. A massive thank you to Mick Flats who refereed the game – without him the match wouldn’t have gone ahead. He played it right down the middle and was commended by both teams after the match. Well done lads and roll on next Saturday when we play Skerries away.