St Mary’s College RFC 16 Terenure College RFC 34
Metro League Division 3,
Lakelands Park, Saturday, January 28, 2023
While it may not have been the main attraction in Lakelands Park last Saturday, there is no denying the appeal of a D6W derby.
And so it was as St Mary’s College and Terenure College faced off in the curtain raiser on the 4G pitch, as large crowds gathered ahead of the AIL match between ‘Nure and Clontarf.
The hosts entered the weekend sitting top of Metro League Division 3 and our lads knew they had to be at their best to prevail.
Facing a lunchtime kickoff on a bright, blustery day, St Mary’s were hoping to make it three league wins on the bounce, but ran into a strong Terenure team and gifted them too many easy scores.
Mary’s skipper and full-back Niall Donovan opted to play into the wind, away from the Tereneue clubhouse, in the first half and ferocious intensity was on display for all to see at the outset, with loose-head David McGill and No.8 Adam Sloan carrying with real purpose. They were ably backed up by flanker Jack Grant, who tackled everything in sight and put in some shuddering hits.
Wingers Kevin Jude and David Sloan both caused problems for Terenure, while openside Rob Trew picked up where he left off against Naas the previous week, fearlessly chopping down Terenure runners and blasting holes in their defence with the ball in hand.
That a Terenure man ghosted through a huge gap in the defence for the first try will have disappointed, as the Blue wall had been impregnable to this point. The extras were added by ‘Nure.
Mary’s battled back and fine play and pressure resulted in two consecutive successful shots from the tee by fly-half James Bourke, leaving it 7-6 to Terenure.
Air-traffic control had to be on alert from the kick-offs, as second-row Robert Bevereland soared and plucked the ball from seemingly unreachable heights.
Despite the stout defence, good amounts of territory and fine individual performances, Mary’s conceded too many penalties and struggled to secure primary possession, with the line-out being far from perfect. A miscommunication at a St Mary’s lineout in their own ’22 saw one of the Terenure players gather the ball and walk over the line, untouched, with the conversion attempt hitting the post.
And the lineout proved to be a pain point again not too long after, when ‘Nure rumbled over after a clean catch and drive. This left the score 17-6 to the hosts at the half-time break.
Mary’s started the second period brightly and were right back in it after a Bourkey penalty early in the half.
What happened next will need a crack team of detectives to get to the bottom of.
The Blues were attacking from turnover ball but a couple of sloppy passes didn’t go to hand and Terenure capitalised.
The ball was moved to their right and the Terenure winger looked to be racing over unopposed but managed to drop the ball over the line from about two feet high. The referee, however, awarded the try even though it was clear to everyone – including the Terenure players and coaches – that it wasn’t even close to being grounded.
Despite the conversion attempt striking the upright, this was a killer blow, as a subsequent penalty from
Bourkey made it 24-9 to the hosts, when 19-9 would have been the fair reflection of proceedings to that point.
There was still some heroic defence on display from the Saints centres Andy McCarthy and Ruadhan Magee, along with substitute flanker Mick Connell, excelling in knocking Terenure backwards in the tackle. Adam and coaches’ Man-of-the-Match Jack continued to get through massive amounts of work.
Terenure bagged another try but Mary’s weren’t going to lie down. Attacking deep in the Terenure half, good ball retention and decoy runners sucked in the Purple defenders who were attracted to a maul. Before anyone knew what was happening, substitute hooker Chris Kane had ripped the ball and peeled away, blasting through a hole in the cover to score a fine try.
The team never gave up and continued to throw themselves into collisions, sub winger Cal Gray relishing the exchanges. But a lack of accuracy again cost Mary’s and after a couple of handling errors, Terenure countered and moved the ball well to score a converted try in the last play of the game.
Terenure were deserved winners, but the final scoreline of 34-16 was an unfair reflection of the competitiveness of the fixture.
St Mary’s have to dust themselves off for another tough assignment this week – away to Skerries on Friday night. Skerries were marginal winners when the sides met in Templeville earlier in the season and our boys know they can reverse the result on Friday.