J4 XV v Clontarf (A) 28.09.2018

Clontarf RFC J4 (10) St Marys J4 (18)
September 28th
Castle Avenue

St Mary’s J4’s made the cross-city trip to Clontarf last Friday night for a long awaited first league match in metro division 5. While the group that travelled was shorn of 10 players from the division 6 final winning squad, a strong preseason and some fortuitous recruitment left us quietly confident.
Mary’s, playing downhill towards the cricket pitch, started strongly after a great take from the kickoff from Jonathan Allison. A spell of pressure in Clontarf’s 22 was rewarded with a try by James Walsh following an excellent cross field kick from out-half Andrew Manning. A well-struck conversion drifted wide. (0 – 5)

Against the run of play, and in their first period in the Mary’s half, Clontarf mauled over from just inside the 22 for an un-converted try. (5 – 5) Two further missed kicks from the Clontarf 10 let the Mary’s team off the hook for some poor discipline but with the pressure eased and composure regained, we took a foothold in the Clontarf half and looked to take the lead before half time.
Mary’s backline continued to apply pressure and were rewarded with a break through the center from Captain Richard Pyne. His 13 years of experience in the team showed with a solid recycle and the Mary’s pack proceeded to batter the Clontarf try line for 5 minutes. Some great composure and marshalling from scrum-half John Cosgrove, resulted in huge pressure and 2 yellow cards for Clontarf. The breakthrough eventually came with James Walsh crossing. Again, a well-struck conversion drifted barely wide. (5 – 10).

Clontarf started the second half very strongly, both as a result of increased organization and strong running on their behalf but also poor discipline from Mary’s at ruck and lineout time. Numerous penalties gave Clontarf a foothold in the Mary’s 22. An inevitable, but harsh, yellow card followed for Mary’s and Clontarf, back to their full complement, got over in the corner for a well worked try. Conversion missed (10-10).

Mary’s bench brought a huge impact at this stage and Cal Gray converted a difficult penalty (10 – 13). An extended spell of pressure, with some good carrying from Fagan (just off a flight from his honeymoon), McGill and Martin gave Mary’s a scrum on the Clontarf line. Following a super pick from the back of the scrum Killian barged over for a crucial try. Conversion from the sideline missed (10-18).
Some stellar defense and solid clearance kicks (mostly) allowed Mary’s see out the game and come away with a great win and good start to season. 4 points in the bag but plenty of areas to work on and some very difficult challenges on the horizon!

Team: 1. Masterson, 2. McGill, 3. Byrne, 4. Fagan, 5. Allison, 6. Hynes, 7. Blanchet, 8. Nestor, 9. Cosgrove, 10. Manning, 11. Zaidel, 12. Pyne (c), 13: Walsh, 14, Martin, 15. Gray.