J2 XV v Malahide (A) – 04.01.2020

St. Mary’s RFC J2s 24 – 12 Malahide RFC J1s – Saturday, January 4th 2020:

It may only be 4 days into 2020, or more importantly – 4 days into ‘Dry January’, but thankfully all of the alcohol seemed to have left the system of most of our J2 warriors. Most of. The day was gloomy and windy and we had the prospect of making the arduous sojourn to Malahide RFC. However, even the prospect of crossing over to the Northside wasn’t enough to put a stop to the momentum our lads carried through the New Year; having beaten Navan RFC in the final game of 2019. 8 points off the top of the Division 3, with 1 game in hand, meant this was a much needed win – with a bonus point badly needed to close the gap on League-toppers Wanderers RFC.

The match kicked off with the familiar face of Sue Carty in charge of keeping law and order – a job no one was envious of during or after the game – but all credit to Sue, she took no prisoners and ensured no one stepped out of line for the duration of the game – with all commenting on the fine performance from the referee on the day. Our J2s jogged on to the pitch with enthusiasm – so much so that Big Al seemingly forgot he was starting and only remembered to take off his jumper when he reached the pitch. The lads were ready for a battle against a strong, physical side – perhaps the largest team (physically) we have come across this season. Our management team were also ready, with Coach Gavin ‘I swear I have a real job, I don’t just make Simpson’s memes all day’ Thornberry having bought a set of walkie-talkies for the management team to use throughout the game. They came in handy as Ciaran ‘One-Leg Lenzo’ Lennon wanted to stay on the far side of the pitch just to use them – more excited about the walkies than a kid on Christmas. We didn’t have the heart to tell him his one wasn’t even charged – he was just so happy.

A physical match from the start, it took 11 minutes to open the scoring with Bev crashing through under the posts after some brilliant crash ball rugby from our forwards. El Géneral James Bourke converted to make it 7-0 to Mary’s. After 15 minutes, Conor Sexton used his magic feet to keep the ball in touch and after a beautiful offload, Mary’s crashed over in the corner for a try. However, in a shocking turn of events, the touch judge (from Malahide) decided that after we had scored the try Conor’s foot had been in touch – conveniently only after we had made it over the line. The referee taking the advice from the touch judge ruled it a lineout and the game continued. This wouldn’t be enough to rattle our feathers though. After 27 minutes, Mary’s dominating Maul forced their way over and it was another try for the boys in blue – this one coming from Brian McGovern who bullied the Malahide defensive and offensive lines all day. Again, converted with no issues by Bourkey. 3 minutes later, after our lads took their eyes off the ball for a second, Malahide crashed through the middle and scored an easy try – 14-7 to Mary’s going into half-time.

The Mary’s side-line wasn’t without some familiar faces throughout the game. Club President Mick Flats graced Malahide with his presence – which was greatly appreciated by the lads. ZinZan Donners who was allowed out of his nursing home for the day cheered his team on as he was allegedly injured (turns out he had a date with a young lady that night and didn’t want to have any marks on his body before his date. Any marks left after his date though he said would be fine). Jack Hatful was there and it’s very likely he pulled his hamstring or tore his quads or something to that effect which seems to happen every time he even walks, never mind plays. And Matty Fagan was there – 1 day shy of his return to rugby – Matty selfishly got injured on a Sunday so could only return on a Sunday – dreadful carry on.

10 minutes into the second half, Malahide knocked the ball on just outside their 22 metre line. Captain-extraordinaire Fionan Magee scooped the ball up with ease and offloaded it brilliantly to Dil ‘So nice literally nothing bad can be said about him’ Zaidel who caught it and sent it out wide to Andy ‘Wrong Socks’ McCarthy who dove over the line. A brilliant try which then left the score at 19-7. Just 5 minutes later however, Malahide snuck a try in the corner to leave the score 19-12 to Mary’s. Mary’s at this point had 3 tries and desperately needed a fourth for that much-desired bonus point. McGov, with 5 minutes to go barrelled over the line and snatched that bonus point for the boys in blue after some brilliant phase work from both the forward and back-lines!! The match then ended shortly after; Final score: St. Mary’s College RFC 24 – 12 Malahide RFC.

A tough-fought win for our lads sees them just 3 points off the top spot going into next weekend’s game at home against Enniscorthy RFC. Congratulations lads on a well-deserved win. Man of the Match this week goes to the only Frenchman playing for the J2s – out-half James Bourke. Bourkey didn’t miss touch once and some well-placed and well-timed kicks were instrumental in gaining territory throughout the game. A great game in attack and defence means that this week Bourkey was the stand out man. Well done to all the lads in the forwards and the backs who gave it their all and left everything on the pitch. Super stuff from all.