J2 XV v Skerries (H) – 18.10.2019

On Friday October 18th, our J2s were set to ‘face off’ against a strong Skerries J1 side, and just like the movie, it was going to be a thriller. The rain had been pouring down and it looked like it would be a miserable night for a match under the floodlights in Templeville Road on the main pitch. However, as the lads began their warm-up, the rain stopped. It was a first sign that this was to be our night.

The St. Mary’s College SCT had just beaten Clongowes and as they walked off the pitch, our lads passed them as they got set to face Skerries. A slightly delayed kick-off meant both teams had a few more minutes to prepare for what was to be a fantastic match. Captain Fionan Magee and his team were more than prepared, as was evident while watching their warm-up earlier in the night.

The match started off as usual with big hit coming from both teams. It initially seemed like we in for a closely-fought match, until the first scrum of the match. As the barrister-cum-rugby star Ciaran Murphy rolled the ball into the scrum, our pack, who consist of some of the biggest and best of St. Mary’s forwards, pushed back the Skerries pack and won a penalty. Not to exaggerate the strength of our pack, but there were approximately 7 or 8 penalties won from scrums by our lads throughout the game. Due to the inclement weather before the match, the ball was, like a freshly mopped floor, slippery when wet. This suited us perfectly as due to numerous knock-ons, the scrum count was high.

This was truly a day for the forwards, with the backs seeing very little of the ball. Crash ball after crash ball, phenomenal mauls, lineouts won easily and of course the scrums driving Skerries back with ease, meant the backs could only sit and wait, and hope the forwards would feel pity for them as the backs waited patiently for something to do. When they did get the ball however, they showed incredible pace and handling abilities as we conceded very few penalties or knock-ons.

The first try of the day came from the ‘Famous-Lenzo’ as he is now referring to himself (I regret giving him that name but he seems to like it). He was unlucky last week to not get over the line – he could almost taste the chalk he was so close against Enniscorthy. However, on home soil he was able to summon up the strength to drive over the line and record our first try of the match. Even though it was a forwards-dominated game, our backs played some great rugby with the graceful Bourkey putting in some phenomenal kicks to touch, giving the forwards lots to work with. The backs certainly showed their prowess when the returning Sean Donohue, son of Dave ‘Dirty’ Donohue played his first J2 game and scored an incredible try in the corner following some wonderful passing across the backline – there’ll be tough competition for places in this stacked backline for sure this season.

The final try of the match went to Robert ‘Bev’ Beverland. A man of few words (some say he has never spoken, but when he finally does, all wars will end); but a titan of Mary’s rugby. Bev doesn’t need a warm-up or a stretch – he just needs a Mary’s jersey and to be pointed towards the opposition try-line and then you just sit back and watch the magic happen. Unfortunately his try didn’t come from a cross-field kick as he so often loves to do, but rather through brute force and sheer determination.

3 incredible tries, with points added by Bourkey, meant the game finished 26-14. More praise would have gone to Bourkey, however, with the clock at 80 and us in their 22 with a penalty, he opted to end the match rather than go for the bonus point try. We trust his judgement and we won the match, so there’s no hard feelings – but he will regret doing that at our court session – he will regret it big time. Skerries never gave up and came back strong with some well worked tries, but our defence was too strong for them to come out with any points on the day.

Congratulation to Lenzo (like Bono he just has the one name) who has been awarded the Man of the Match. Lenzo played incredible, with some great carries and no missed tackles. Like last week’s Man of the Match Donners, he’s getting older but showing our younger lads that skill and experience is an invaluable asset for a junior side. Well done Lenzo and keep putting in these performances.