J4 XV v Guinness (H) 14.10.2016

St. Marys J4s v Guinness

Friday night lights at Templeville saw the St. Marys J4s look to maintain their winning start to the season against a Guinness side, who themselves were looking for their first win, determined to spoil the party. The less than ideal conditions before kick-off meant both teams had a rough idea what was in store; a tightly fought contest with the forwards deciding the outcome.

From the off, Guinness looked to set down a marker from the off as they began pressuring the Marys defensive line immediately. Playing their signature brand of no holds barred rugby, Guinness’ were able to take an early lead from a penalty as the Marys defence bent but did not break to the onslaught. From the restart the boys in blue looked for a quick response and that’s exactly what came as Marys set up camp in the visitor’s half of the pitch for much of the first half.

Much like Marys, Guinness’ defence looked solid and particularly difficult to break down. Persistent pressure across the board from the boys in blue finally paid off with a try for number 8 and team proprietor of slippers, prune juice and false teeth, Gar Lloyd. It was now the turn of Guinness’ once more to test the Marys defence and discipline. Despite an outstanding defensive effort from the likes of James Hynes and Padraig Nestor, Guinness’ would register a score before the half, one of only two tries conceded by the J4s through 3 games. A half time scoreline of 10-7 to Guinness gave plenty of food for thought for the homeside, desperate to hold on to their unbeaten start to the season.

Half time saw coach Michael Flats encourage his team to take control of the game. At times when teams aren’t playing their best they look to their leaders to step up to the plate, to drive them forward and as the game restarted that is exactly what Marys got from J4 captain Michael Daly. From close to half way, Daly broke the Guinness defensive line and was off to the races, scoring his third consecutive break away try of the year. Tack on another penalty for the homeside to give a seven point advantage heading into the final 15 minutes of the game. Guinness’, determined not to lose their third game on the trot threw everything they had at Marys in the closing stages but just could not break their way through. With time expired and final play called and Guinness threatening at the Marys 22 with a free kick, queue tighthead David Browne for his signature choke tackle to bring an end to what was a bruising encounter with a final score of Marys 17- Guinness 10.

It is often said that it is the mark of a good team that you win when you play badly and that was what we saw from the J4s on Friday night, good defence and even better discipline proved the difference between the sides. That is not to take anything away from the performance of the visitors who pushed the boys in blue right till the death. Now sitting atop Metro 6 after 3 games, Marys will look to continue their strong start to the season with another tough away match against MU Barnhall this coming Saturday.