J3 XV v Tallaght (H) by Mick Flats – 05.04.23

St. Mary’s J3 24-17 Tallaght

Winters Cup

On Wednesday evening we took on Tallaght in the second round of the Winters Cup.

The pitch was in good order (thanks again to Peter O’Kelly, our groundsman), the weather was perfect, and we got to play under our new LED floodlights. The scene was set.

The support for both teams was impressive for this mid week encounter, plus it was great to see our President, Gareth Roche, present.

The team had not played together in over a month, and it showed, as we started the game  with nervous tension, chucking passes and offloads we wouldn’t normally do. We did however secure a penalty which our Captain Michael O’Malley (or Malo) sweetly slotted over. 3-0.
This impressive Tallaght team started even better, scoring an unconverted try shortly afterwards. 5-3. They followed that up when their centre kicked through our defence and caught the ball on the bounce  to sprint under the posts. Conversion over, score now 12-3 to Tallaght who were well on top.

One thing this St Mary’s team didn’t lack was belief; our hooker David MCGill secured a fine converted try to bring us back to 12- 10 just before halftime.

We regrouped at the break, bringing on fresh legs & using the roll-on-roll-off subs, who brought great tempo to the team.

We started the second half brightly – Malo kicked 3 penalties in the following 30 minutes after continued pressure. 19-12.
The more physical Tallaght pack were now dominating the scrums but our lineouts were going well with Kyle Henegan and Liam Kennelly outstanding in the air all night, supported by our pack.
Conor Quinn, our sub scrum half, who had replaced the ever-improving Max Ebbs at half time, broke from a ruck to sprint from the halfway line, pursued by the Tallaght full back. He dived under the posts to make it 24-12 . Surprisingly Malo missed his easiest kick of the night, pushing the conversion wide. The ref let it be known there would be 9 minutes of injury time, as players from both sides had been dropping all night with cramp.

Tallaght did score to make iit 24-17 right at the end. The final whistle blew, and a delighted J3 team now go on to play Trinity at home in the semi finals on Saturday 15th of April.

Big thanks to Ray Sloan, touch judge, Caglar and Murph, our backs coaches, Aaron, and Simon for all their help.

Malo for his overall display deservedly wins the Frank Keane man of the match.