J2 match report – Clontarf J2 away 14th Jan 2023
This game was disappointedly a bottom of the table 8 pointer. The winner would start the new year with rigor and purpose and the loser would be resigned to having to scrap for every last point for the remaining fixtures to stay in the league. Thankfully, Mary’s managed to turn what has been a positive season for performances (not results) and bag a bonus point win to kick start the season in what was a mature and very encouraging performance from the team.
First half – Captain fantastic Niall won the toss and decided to play against the conditions (strong wind and low sun), the plan was to contain them first half and ramp up the play in the second half. We controlled the first 15 minutes with the forwards winning the collision battles and backs holding tarf at bay in the strong wind. Special call out to ‘twinkle toes’ Cal who caught the ball off a Tarf KO to bosh a tarf forward and then dance through the tarf pack gaining 20-30 metres. I don’t need to say much more as he has shared the video on social media already (he’ll dine out on that one for years to come). Tarf managed a purple patch from 15-35 mins in the first half as they started to get a foothold in the game and play the conditions more which resulted in 3 easy enough tries (1 converted). Mary’s were rewarded for the positive & physical play with ‘steady boot’ Bourkey converting a penalty and in the last minute of the first half, our dominate scrum managed to push the tarf pack from 20 metres out over the line. ‘Evergreen’ Donners superbly controlled the ball at the back of the scrum and he was rewarded with his first try of the game. We talk about match minutes, this try was psychologically worth 10 points as it was the last play of the game. Half time 17-8 to Tarf.
Second half – With the wind on our backs, the sun dying down and the try before half time, we were set for a big half from the team and they delivered. The dominate scrum continued lead by pack leader Fionan in the tight head which eventually resulted in a yellow card for tarf. Our dominate pack set the platform throughout the half for the comeback and closing out of the game. Special call out to ‘Mr Junior rugby’ Dave McGill, as he had some powerful carries and a bone crunchy tackle that had the side line up on their feet. ‘Donners two times’ got his second try of the game by catching an over throw lineout by Tarf to waltz in for the try, Hand off extraordinaire Kevin, scored a try in the corner assisted by skipper Niall but McGill, Donners and Ruadhan also had quick hands to get the ball wide for the try . With 5 mins to go, were 18-17 up but chasing the bonus point win, the interplay of forwards and backs was a joy to behold, patience and control was personified from Oisin and Bourkey with forwards battering away with carry after carrying and pick and go after pick and go. Eventually the patience paid off and some quick passing, resulted in Ruadhan going over the line under the posts which was just reward for a superb performance & Bourkey put the icing on the cake with a drop goal conversion. Queue big celebrations, pats on the back. The winning feeling was back but more importantly we kicked off 2023 with a win built on control, patience and high work rate which bodes well for bigger games ahead against Naas next weekend and then a big one against Terenure at the end of the month. Final score 25-17.