Lansdowne FC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1A
Friday 3rd February 2017.
Not to say this was a well-deserved win by a very fine Lansdowne team would be churlish in the extreme. In fact Lansdowne had the appearance of fairly complete professional side. The main things that impressed were the almost instantaneous speed at which the ball passed through hands, the hard vectors run, the banks of back up runners and the filling of spaces in defence.
What of St Marys? Marys have not become a poor team, and there were many commendable things about the Marys performance. Maybe two or three times a season they play on an artificial surface and this was the big problem. The bounce predictability, the pace of the ball off the surface and the player surface interaction are all completely different on a grass pitch. It took the first half for any compatibility to form.
As the second half progressed Marys came more into it, pushed Lansdowne hard and scored two deserved tries, one by Paddy O’Driscoll after a maul and a series of hard drives, when he broke and took a hard vector to cross close in. Ryan O’Loughlin who is playing very strongly now, ran in his try well, late in the game, after several phases of attack play. Conor Gilsenan converted both, having earlier scored two penalties. It did not help matters either that, early in the game, highly influential Kevin Sheahan went off injured.
It will be left to that fine Lansdowne scribe, Michael Daly to describe the Lansdowne performance in detail, including their six tries.
It is credit to Brian McGovern, the captain, that he kept his team fighting to the end and he himself never flagged as he drove himself forward relentlessly and effectively and scrummaged well. His hard work close in and his support play were hard and unrelenting. He deserves real credit and he was my SoftCo MoM. Also in the pack once again both David O’Connor and Cathal O’Flaherty did more than asked of them in the lineout and in the loose. The fact that the Marys team came to terms with the conditions and reached competitive standards in the second half will encourage and embolden them for the adventures ahead. And indeed there are many such, commencing with next Saturday at 2.30PM when we kick off against Garryowen. This will be one of a number of defining matches that are really essential to win. We will hope that a number of players will return from injury.
3 mins penalty 3-0, 7 mins penalty 3-3, 8 mins goal 10-3, 9 mins goal 17-3, 22 mins goal 24-3, 29 mins penalty 24-6, 34 mins goal 31-6.
Second Half 44 mins try 36-6, 57 mins 43-6, 63 mins goal 43-13, 77 mins 43-20.
Team (including rolling replacements) 15 C Hogan, 14 I O’Neill, 13 D Moroney, 12 P Lavelle, 11 R O’Loughlin, 10 C Gilsenan, 9 P O’Driscoll; 8 K Sheahan, 7 J Dilger, 6 D O’Connor, 5 C O’Flaherty, 4 C Ruddock, 3 B McGovern (Capt), 2 R Halpin, 1 T O’Reilly, H Kean, C Ryan, H Kellegher, M Timmons, Z O’Hagan.