St Mary’s College RFC v Garryowen FC
AIL Division 1 A
Saturday 12th February 2017.
The alternative facts were being unveiled in foreign fields, while here some home truths were unfolding, both bringing tidings of great joy. Unfortunately, due scheduling and weather, the terraces were scantily populated. Before the game, Kevin Sheahan had to withdraw having not recovered from a badly wrenched ankle, courtesy of the Lansdowne pitch. As expected, it was, all through, a tough battle and one that was relished by the royal blues; both in attack and defence. In fact the defence was most impressive, for Garryowen put extreme pressure on the Marys’ line during several periods. Most impressive was a period between 56 and 60 minutes when the visitors assailed the try line, using every possible play and ploy with guile and with power. This was met with calm, accurate and powerfully pummelling tackling; never an inch. The follow up and the vectors were sharp and determined. Having Cathal Marsh as axis was seminal, for he ran the game with élan. His line kicking was assured and he executed a try-producing cross kick with exquisite accuracy. In fact the work done by the coaching team and the return of Cathal, David Fanagan and Terry Kennedy gave a sharper edge to the back line generally, and being fed exceptionally wisely and well by the impressive Paddy O’Driscoll, it ran with greater potency.
The pack was in top form today, the lineouts were clean, the scrum emphatically dominant, so much so that having reaped penalties from five succeeding scrums. Garryowen took off an injured prop to cause non-contested scrums. This was the fourth game this season when Garryowen caused non-contested scrums. Although the sanction is to play with a man less, this is far more easily managed than conceding penalties or tries, from each scrum. In fact this, and a very hard call in the final play, may well have deprived Marys of a deserved four try bonus point.
This was a day when every one of the eight clicked in, and hummed. The second row men, Cathal and Ciaran, were outstanding, with both warriors like rampant rockets, defending and attacking in the loose and determined and reliable in the set pieces. Ciaran Ruddock, a most affable and kind man has been for many seasons now, a credit to himself and to St Marys. Today, on his birthday, he excelled in all aspects of his game, he never stopped working over the 80 minutes. He was the SoftCo MoM. After the game when the anthem was barked out, with President, Kevin Conboy, Skipper, McGov, the coaches, and DoR, Alan Shirley, all glowing, the entire squad and supporters riotously sang Happy Birthday to Rudds in warmest affection and appreciation of a super Marys’ man. He received his well-deserved SoftCo MoM award.
A very welcome newcomer to St Marys and on the bench today, is Gus Jones, a young man who has played at openside for England at under 20 level, and has won three Oxford Blues in succession. He came on in the second half, fitted in very smoothly and showed his potential abilities. He will be a valuable asset to St Marys. Rudds says, he sings well too, he heard!!
Soon to return we hope, will be Marcus O’Driscoll, Shiner, Paddy Lavelle, Mark Fallon, Darragh Keller, Hugo Kean and possibly Ivan Dineen. We can look forward with confidence but caution to the upcoming matches. Next week we visit the Killing Fields to the second in league team, Young Munster, a tough one, but we go with belief.
Extra congratulations go to our Head Coach, Jamie Cornet, whose St Mary’s College SCT defeated a fancied Newbridge and now face Clongowes in the next round.
Once again Spike was exceedingly happy and confident to see Marys play up towards the Cabbage Patch in the first half. In spite of wind and slope disadvantage, Marys pressed from early on, smoothly and confidently, a penalty from Cathal after three minutes, and another on 11 minutes, gave the home side a 6 – 0, however, against the run of play, on 16 minutes, from a lineout Garryowen broke and through winger, Liam Coombes, scored an excellent try, Cronin converted to make it 6 – 7. Marys then increased their pace further, and on 24 minutes when pressing on the Garryowen line, the ball was recycled several times, then came back to Marshy, who went right to left, drew in the cover and dunked the ball delightfully to the fast closing Conor Hogan. He confidently held the ball in front of two defenders, stepped between them and went line-wards, shrugged off the final tackler and scored. Hogie is fast growing back to his best abilities again. A superb kick from far out gave Cathal the conversion; 13 – 7. The game went end to end for the reminder of the half, which finished on that mark, 13 – 7.
The second half commenced as the first finished, at high pace, and as the time went on the Marys forwards looked more dominant, with both lineouts and scrums working well, and more turnovers being won. There were a few loose kicks that caused worry but those worries were worked through. On 49 minutes Marys were on a fast passing interactive move, then the ball was slowed and a maul formed that got up to sprint pace from outside the 22. It was nigh on unstoppable and the commendable, hard-working hooker, Richie Halpin got his just reward in touching down for an uplifting try, converted by Marshy; 20 – 7. Soon afterwards, non-contested scrums were called. Garryowen became emboldened after this, and set up a series of attack, pinning the home side inside the 22 for that four tense hard minutes. Nerve, muscle and heart held and Marys vitally, returned to the attack. It was into added time that Marys really cut loose and ran with real intent and adventure. It was 82 minutes, when a scrum near the Garryowen line, gave the backrow opportunity to attack off the back then after being held up, the ball went right to left and got to the powerful Darren Moroney who crashed through two tacklers and scored a deserved try. Marshy again converted to make it 27 -7. When the ball was kicked off again, Marys ran from deep, with an exhilarating display of inter-passing, offloading and hard running. The move went from deep in the Marys half to the Garryowen 22, when an error was called; the deserved try was not to be. But it was a worthy win. Much of the game would have been to the great Shay Deering’s liking.
Team (including rolling replacements) 15 D Fanagan 14 T Kennedy, 13 D Moroney, 12 , R O’Loughlin, 11 C Hogan, 10 C Marsh, 9 P O’Driscoll; 8 J Dilger, 7H Kellegher, 6 D O’Connor, 5 C O’Flaherty, 4 C Ruddock, 3 B McGovern (Capt), 2 R Halpin, 1 T O’Reilly, S O’Brien, C Ryan, G Jones, I O’Neill, C Gilsenan.