1st XV v Shannon (A) 07.12.2019

Shannon RFC V St Mary’s College RFC

24                  11

Thomond Park

Energia AIL Division 1B

Saturday 7th December 2019.


The two clubs’ paths have not crossed for a few years now, so St Marys looked forward to the game. Everyone will now more than ever look forward to the next one; the return at Templeville Road.  If ever we left a ground with a feeling of empty disappointment this was it.  That is not to denigrate Shannon, who won fairly and deservedly. It is because we had the clear ability and opportunity to win.  In fact at the start of the second half, when down to14 men, due to a harsh yellow card, we played con brio, scored a deserved, sweet try, by deadly winger, Hugo Conway and looked a superior team.

We led10-11, however, inexperience gave the game to Shannon, a loose, rash pass giving them the ball, with a run to the line, then later a long ball over the top of the lineout, presented the opportunity to the home team to score another seven points.  At the point of extremis, St Marys were unfortunate, not to score at least a try, and get the opportunity to bring home a losing bonus point. It would be fair to say that we can look forward with reasonable confidence to that return game. Unhappily to relate, this slip means St Marys drop four places from fourth to eight in one bang. Shannon move up to fourth.

An area where Shannon shone, was the singing of their anthem, There is an Isle. They sang with gusto, though tunefully.  We have a particularly melodious anthem Erica: We are Marys Boys, sadly we do not do it justice.  It would be rousing and inspiring, were we to deliver it in a similar fashion. It is not the fault of the players, they have never been taught the tune.  Maybe, someone would be happy to volunteer to do that, it would only take a couple of times and a few minutes?  You can find the history of our anthem on the website; have a look.

All know that this is a truly talented, loyal and courageous team, they are also young, adventurous and inexperienced. It is the latter that came to the fore today,  The defence was solid, the scrum was again in command, the team  worked extremely hard and never stopped trying, with the back row particularly busy.  However, we did not retain the ball well, losing it too often, and too easily on occasion.   Additionally, the lineout which had started to hum, was too loose today, especially in the second half. On the other hand, Shannon had a notably efficient lineout.

We had lost Craig Kennedy and Liam Corcoran to injury, before the game, and then Peter Starrett during it.

In mentioning the back row, David Aspil put in continuous effort, never shirking tackles or carries, making substantial ground, his cover action was significant and timely.  He is a powerful, competitive and cerebral player.  He was awarded the SoftCo MoM Award.

The Game

The game on the back pitch, was played in excellent conditions and sunny weather. As would be expected, Shannon came hurtling at us from the start.  They won a penalty which was converted, after four minutes.  3-0.The remainder of the half was even, although Shannon retained possession the better of the two sides.  Marys did level on 12 minutes through Ruairi; on 43 minutes he converted another penalty, 3-6. Shannon attacked with vigour well into added time. When attacking from close in they appeared to infringe.  However, the movement going left to right was called back and a penalty try awarded with a yellow card handed out for an intervention in an offside position.

The half ended 10-6

Second half, there was clear intent and intensity to the visitors’ game, as St Marys swept forward.  The ball was shepherded and was moved up field, where the Shannon line was assailed.  After eight minutes action and with only 14 men the Marys got the ball wide with brisk passing, when Hugo took the ball he showed his power, balance as pace as he smashed over in the corner.  We led 10-11 and were looking good.  Unfortunately, possession was not treasured so on 58 minutes when attacking strongly a ball was loosely thrown, it was picked up by Shannon in midfield, giving them an easy converted try, 17-11. A further ten minutes saw us doing it again. We lost a lineout and the ball,when an overthrow was picked up by Shannon.  They gratefully set about scoring, making it 24-11.  We did respond and spent the remainder of the game in attack mode.  When well into lost time, we worked our way up-field, then a kick ahead put Hugo ahead and when he went to tap it over the line he was most unfortunate, as the ball skewed off and into touch. Last play. It was 24-11

Next Saturday 14th is our Xmas party day, but even more importantly is also when we play Old Belvedere, a game we need to win if all players, management and supporters want to enjoy the day and indeed Xmas itself.  Belvo have been playing well and are third on the table, with 22 points; we have 18.  We can be confident that our lads will rise to the want, but they do need our help in the form of loud determined and vivacious support.  Marys, Marys, Marys.   Then we can have a memorable day.  It will be worth that extra effort, so let’s all do it.

Team up with Tommer

D O’Brien

Team (Rolling Replacements X12)

15 M Fogarty, 14 H Conway, 13 M Carey, 12 M O’Gara, 11 D Fanagan, 10 R Shields, 9 C Foley, 8 R Watters,  7 C Dempsey, 6 D Aspil, 5 L Curran, 4 P Starrett, 3 M McCormack, 2 R Halpin, 1 T O’Reilly (Capt), S Healy, P Dundon ,  H Diepman, N McCarthy, R O’Loughlin, (B Watson)