St Mary’s College RFC V Dolphin RFC
AIL Division 1 B
12th September 2015.
This was like opening your post, expecting a bill and finding a big cheque from the Income Tax. After the game, in the dressing room it was a joy to see the two Fannings smiling genially, the president Declan, one end of the room, and player, Darragh, at the other. In fact there was a fair bit of smiling going on all round.
Early on, Dolphin, playing towards the Road end put on intense pressure, with a siege that lasted 17 minutes, they accrued three points from a penalty, but that was all as our defence was strong and coordinated.
When we broke from impressive defensive mode and attacked, it all came together for the home side. Just after a penalty by Sean Kearns on 17 minutes, the climate changed and the Marys’ machine started to hum. Soon we were rucking fast, and the ball was being retained and nurtured. The backline seemed to have found its rhythm and every player thereof, seemed innately inspired, as they ran hard and straight and took perfect vectors. They twisted, flicked, floated, flew, they switched ball, reversed, skipped and shot through gaps, each one as good as the other. However, it would be wrong not to mention Darragh. He had been rested by Leinster, but great clubman that he is, he insisted on playing for his club and what a contribution he made in every way. He scored three marvellous tries and was involved in so many aspects of the game, vital in defence as well as attack.
The forwards too were vital to this win, with a cohesive powerful performance. The set pieces had improved well. Every man was part of the strong effort, led by skipper Chops, and none more than Brian Mc Govern, who once again was thundering in defence and spear like in attack, he had a super game and yet it was a young developing lad, Mark Fallon, today playing Eight, who was my MoM, for his clever nonstop contribution, covering, backing up, his lineout work, groundwork and variation.
Before going further, the contribution of the captain and coaching and management group must be extolled; as the work done in sharpening and honing attack and defence skills was great. The two Peters especially, must be very happy. The backline has seldom shown that quality of play, with poise, patience, and pace off the line, collectively too there was an understanding and variation which kept pressure on the opposition.
Dolphin, who are old friends and rivals, will be very disappointed and dejected, but they will regroup and get back, we will play them again and they will be different and difficult to beat in Cork. Having attacked for so long and failed to score and then when Marys put the scores up, it was natural that they lost composure and confidence, with inevitable consequence.
I do not want to put a damper on a great victory, but each game as the season progresses will be more difficult and we will need to continue to work hard and improve each game. Yet, justifiable confidence will have been born and what a great start to get a five point win and to play so well so we can rightly take a lot from it; and we were without Phillip Brophy, Kevin Sheahan, Mark Sexton and Rob Glynn, all to return for the Shannon game.
It was heartening to see Marys use the wind in the second half, actually putting the ball down, especially into Carvill Corner and playing in the Dolphin 22.
Finally, Tom Browne a member of the club since 1940s and who has made a major contribution in all regards, on and off the field, to the development of the club was awarded the special honour “Life Honorary Member” an extremely zealously guarded honour. He received it to the great pleasure of all members. He was highly praised by the president and enjoyed vibrantly his special day. There has seldom been a more admired and genteel member; a quintessential gentleman, who has kept Cidona (on the shelf) and in existence for the past 50 years, may he enjoy it for many more. Congratulations to him, and his family.
After 14 minutes it was 0 – 3, 17 minutes 3 – 3 and on 24 minutes Darragh scored a delightful try from an impossible situation, 8 – 3. As 29 minutes arrived, Barry O’Flanagan who was at his sharpest today, made a clean break up the middle and linked well with super Ryan O’Loughlin and he to Darragh who did the rest Sean converted, 15 – 3. On 33 minutes, Darragh put in a singeing run, he swept across the goal and switched with marvellous Marcus O’Driscoll, and he went over close in, Sean made it 22 – 3.
A mauled try in the gate corner from Dolphin on 38 minutes, gave the southerners hope and made the score 22 – 10 at half time.
The second half gave no respite to the men from Cork and 57 minutes and dolphin defending the gate corner, Brian Mc G took on hard ball and following a line ruck the ball went to Darragh and he crashed over in the corner for his hat trick. It was 27 – 10. 64 minutes and Darragh was sweeping across the field, he put in a precise kick to Carvill Corner and when we disrupted their lineout and won ruck, Mauradering Mark Fallon went blind and shot over and it was 32 – 10. Just on 76 minutes, a lovely sashaying run by sparkling footed David Fanagan, brought him to th10 M line and saw him dink a delicate chip when surrounded, and Conor Toolan skimming along the wing scooped the ball, stepped inside, put on the turbo and went for the line, he then flicked the ball with precision, inside to Ray Crotty up in support and he flew over, Sean from the touchline converted; it was 39 – 10.
When 79 minutes had passed of exhilarating rugby, David again broke from loose play in mid field and did the soft-shoe-shuffle as he left the defence on their faces and scored. Sean again did the honours by adding two and making the final score 46 – 10.
Wow, what a breathless win!
The Squad (Rolling substitutions)
15 R Crotty, 14C Toolan, 13 R O’Loughlin 12 M O’Driscoll, 11 D Fanning, 10 S Kearns, 9 D Fanagan, 8 M Fallon, 7 B O’Flanagan, 6 Richard Sweeney, 5 D O’Connor, 4 C Ruddock, 3 Robert Sweeney (Capt.), 2 R O’Donovan, 1 B McGovern, T O’Reilly, E Ferron. C Gilsenan, I Cullinan S Bradshaw