1st XV b Banbridge by D. O’Brien – 05.11.22

St Mary’s College RFC V Banbridge RFC
66                          7
Energia AIL Division 1B
Templeville Road
Saturday 5th November 2022


It was always believed that there was only one beautiful Conor Pass and that was in Kerry. Oh no, there are also two here in Dublin 6W. The passes of Conor Dean, at his superb best today, and Conor Hickey, coruscating at full back, were the sparklers in a display of pyrotechnicsthat was this match. There was a great deal to admire about the performance of the home team, with a score that will certainly help points differential However, it is not good to see a team so overwhelmingly outscored, even if they fought to the very last whistle, matched the home side for periods and competed to their utmost.  All at St Marys will know that they will face a stern and sporting test on the visit to Rifle Park in February 2023.

There was rounded feeling about the Marys’ game.  The attack was coordinated yet often spontaneous, the rucking once again was directed and forceful. There was width on the defence which offered no leakages and follow-up was opposition-claustrophobic. The lineout this week again, had its problems on occasion, but, happily,the scrum was once again, powerful. Kicking, which has now and then offered succour to opponents, by its undependability, was precise and punitive from several sources.  There was too, a calmness in defence and attack which was refreshing. It has been long noted that great players and teams seem to have more time and are seldom rushed, yet deliver high paced performances. If this can be maintained, expectations of ultimate success may well be realised. It should be recalled however, that there was rather slower start to the game and for the first 15 or so minutes there were three at least, open opportunities to score spurned; a luxury that will not be afforded against exacting opposition. Skipper Ronan Watters took command to increase players’ concentration and eliminate errors.

There were many fine performances and this was a true team performance.  The pack was magnificent today, led by the inimitable Skipper, Ronan, truly, every one carried their weight. The backs profited from the forwards’ work integrity and were blitzful. The half backs hummed with Adam McEvoy varying his game well and giving Conor Dean a fine service. Adam is another who is blossoming this season. Conor Dean was majestic, as he controlled the game, with every aspect in harmony, his short and long kicking were searching and his use of Carvill Corner in the first half, was a valuable lesson to all.  His passing accuracy and variation were spellbinding and valuably productive. Joyous to watch. Conor Hickeyhad an inspirational day (his family there watching- photos), with rhapsodic running, precise passing andjudicious kicking.  He made a one try and scored two others; overall his play was goluptious and he received the SoftCo MoM Award.


It was once a gain a fine afternoon with a fairly light south west wind and the home side played down towards the Templeville Road End, with the wind. Thefirst fifteen minutes of a very fast paced game were played in in the Banbridge half while there were some fine attacks that broke down.  Conor Dean used that wind to put some exquisitely placed kicks into Carvill Corner, keeping the pressure on the visitors.  On 19 minutes Rampaging Ronan Foley took a ball from the back of the scrum on the Terrace side forty metres out and made 25 metres through cover, it was taken on and then when the ball came back to Deano at 10 he flicked a neat pass to Conor Hickey coming round on a subtle vector, he shimmied through three, to touch down close in.  Mick O’Gara, landed the conversion. It should be added that Mick is important to the team in so many ways and once again, as well as having a very fine game, his kicking was excellent, where he contributed 14 points in all. Marys continued to press, and just on the half hour, second phase following a lineout, Ronan Foley on a counter-flow, speared through the cover and ran 30 diagonal metres to score a scorcher. 14-0. Then, 34 minutes after a series of attacks from close in on the line, the ball went wide and a super looping pass to Stephen Kilgallen, then back in to skipper Ronan, who was running a support line and he went over in the gate corner.  21-0. It hit 37 minutes and it was Stephen Kilgallen who scored a fine try, showing super acceleration, after a half break by Deano, and delicately timed pass. 28-0. It was Conor Hickey’s turn on half time, to do his terpsichorean shuffle, disappear between three defenders, and supply the pass  that led to Hugh Lane turning in, and skimming past the cover to score close in.  It was 35-0 and half time.

The second half with Banbridge now playing down, gave them some respite and an energy boost.  After five minutes they got a good maul going, and scored a try in the Gate Corner. 35-7. It was then parry and thrust, as Banbridge battled on well, before they brought down a maul on their line which led to a penalty try on 57 minutes, 42-7. 

Just a few minutes later, Marys won a ball on the ground and out it went, got to Mark Fogarty, he put a deft grubber across the Banbridge 22 and following up fas,trobbed the defenders of the ball, pirouetted and went over in the Well Corner for the neatest of tries and it was 49-7. 

Young promising centre and brother to star Myles, Eoin Carey, had just come on 72 minutes as a replacement, when Deano fed him after a half break and he went over close in. 56-7.  And on 74 minutes Conor Hickey got the ball in his own half and mesmerised the defence as he floated through them at Mk2.  And scored close in. 61-7 and Harry MacDonald, with his father watching, slipped away from a maul near the Cabbage Patch Corner and rammed over the line to finish the scoring on full time.  It ended 66-7.


We went up to 18 points, now one point behind the leaders, Buccaneers and UCC both on 19. With the scoring system, positions can change very rapidly. President Gareth and Head Coach Sean will be enchanted with the situation as their team heads to Forenaughts on Saturday.  That was a galactic performance and all involved will have been letabund, however, that visit must be treated with the utmost caution. Naas beat UCC today.  It is fortunate we are not going there on Friday.  They have been a troublesome opponent for St Marys over the past few seasons. If we bring our true game with us, we will win.  If however, we are in the slightest out of accuracy or concentration we could suffer.    Naas have a strong team and a particularly large and loud support.  We all want our team to respond well, so must we the supporters respond and get there and compete, with Marys-Marys-Marys. The parent group were there to the fore, led by Big Brian (photo). They contribute greatly to the atmosphere and support.  Well done all.

Remember get there and Roar on Ronan.!!!!!!

It was very unfortunate that Craig Kennedy, making his return from injury playing for the J1s, got a very nasty knee injury.  All his teammates and supporters wish him a rapid recovery.

D O’Brien

Team (12 rolling changes)

15 C Hickey, 14 H Lane, 13 M Fogarty, 12 M O’Gara,11 S Kilgallen, 10 C Dean, 9 A McEvoy, 8 R Foley, 7 E Baxter, 6 R Watters (Capt.), 5 D Leane, 4 H MacDonald, 3 M McCormack, 2 S O’Brien,1 A Mulvihill. R Halpin, P Dundon, P Starrett, N Hurley, A Walsh, E Carey, J Nolan, D Lyons, J McSharry.