St Mary’s College RFC V Malone RFC
AIL Division 1B
Saturday 29th February 2020.
The greatest triumph today was that of the spirit of all the players and officials over a truly testing weather event. Storm Jorge vented his full venom on Templeville Road. Sadly for the home side the visitors prevailed. The first half saw an heroic performance by St Marys playing into the tracers of Jorge and the power of big strong side. The second half showed the value to Malone of professional players, who used their guile in a half of brilliant and powerful ball control, obfuscation and delay.
The weather made lineouts almost impossible, kicking against the wind suicidal and ball retention vital. With a reinforced front row, Malone held slight sway in the scrums today.
Once again our players did not flinch and every man on the field played is part in a herculean effort to win the day. Tommer, who gave every erg of work can be proud of his team’s efforts. At half time, it looked as though that might well be the outcome, having faced the storm, controlled the ball and kept the score to 0-14. Under the conditions, the pack took the brunt of the opposition, the backs the brunt of the weather. We had some robust and commendable performances, with the half backs both secure and enduring in effort. The back row worked incessantly. Nick Mc Carthy is in a strong run of form and he made some important interventions and effective breaks from the scrum. There was a battle royal in the front row with our young trio giving nothing, and fighting to the end. Indeed, in the latter part of the game, they were in the ascendancy. Central, in fact and action, was Richie Halpin, a fine player, leader, and person, who was peerless today, with a notable second half, as carried and tackled with determined accuracy, skill and persistence. He was deservedly awarded the SoftCo MoM award.
Winning the ball from the kick off, we held it well and made some progress. Indeed the home side settled into a strong pattern of short passing drives and odd, skip and slip, short breaks. We held sway with excellent ball retention. With eleven minutes gone they got possession and kicked to Carvill Corner. Into a gale, our clearance made little ground, the Malone hooker threw to the front and took on the ball, with picks and drives, they worked their way towards the centre, and forced their way over close in. Conversion led to 0-7. On 18 minutes, they again got possession of the ball, and a scrum on our line gave them a chance to bring their strong pick and drive game into action once more, with a similar result, 0-14. St Marys held possession in commendably secure fashion to half time and everyone was fairly happy and hopeful.
The second half started well for Marys and with possession. They attacked but a chip ahead was picked off, and Malone played spoil sports, they would not give it back as their strong ball carriers, kept it close with very short safe passes. They continually made ground and after a penalty (scrum taken) on 54 minutes, they broke from the scrum thirty mitres out, and went all the way to score in the Well Corner, 0-19. A minute later we got the ball to Craig Kennedy and once again, he did his zoom, to score a fine try of hope, in the Gate Corner, which Mick O’Gara did very well to convert, 7-19. Yes we hoped and wished and had some bright sparkling glimpses. However, with their shrewd ball management and strong control, brilliant delaying tactics and several minor injuries, time drained away. So, we could not break through and they held the ball and the lead.
A lesson learned and points lost; however, Naas and Belvedere were also beaten, so we have a two point advantage over Naas. We are four behind Belvedere, and five behind Armagh, who beat Shannon 18-0 today. Next for us, is a trip to Cork in two weeks’ time. So it is all to play for.
Team up with Tommer
Team (Rolling Replacements X12)
15 R Shields, 14 H Conway, 13 M Carey, 12 M Timmons, 11 C Kennedy, 10 M O’Gara, 9 P O’Driscoll, 8 N McCarthy, 7 C Dempsey, 6 P Starrett, 5 L Curran, 4 H Diepman, 3 M McCormack, 2 R Halpin, 1 T O’Reilly (Capt), S Healy, N McEniff, D Lyons, S Heeran, M Fogarty.