St Mary’s College RFC V Shannon RFC
AIL Division 1B
Saturday 26th September 2015.
A Lovely day, yes a lovely day with sun shining; and a lovely day with St Marys shining. This was game that for the home side started slowly, accelerated rapidly until half time and went on cruise control for the second half, the try bonus point by then having been secured. How could any Marys’ supporter have anything but joy from such an outcome? The only slight negatives were that our start was again slow, the reception of kick offs was not always secure and a number of balls were lost from the hands. On the other hand, even during early defensive mode the tackling and defensive organisation were good. Aside from that, it was reassuring to see once again the set pieces secure, with our scrum totally ascendant. The lineouts were secure. This season the game variation is both effective and entertaining and the adventure shown is profitable. The Marys rucking was fast and with Barry O’Flanagan scavenging, loose balls were hoovered.
Shannon is a club with most admirable qualities and history. At present, due to the recent economic situation and emigration, teams have been weakened and although there are signs of renewal, they are not quite back to best yet. That said they competed throughout the game and for the first ten minutes they put strong pressure on our defence. Needless to say, they will grow back to their former powerful selves.
St Marys’ pack looked mobile and happy, as each one therein played his part. The front row was dominant and found time to prowl the park with menace, while the big boys in row two were enjoying the switches and drives and backrow plugged holes and probed gaps.
Behind the scrum, with the ground conditions excellent and space available, scrumhalf, David Fanagan, enjoyed a day of float like a butterfly, sting like a bee as he fed his partner Sean Kearns. Sean ran his backline with aplomb and kicked astutely when required. His off the tee kicking was perfect as he succeeded with all his attempts, giving him six conversions and a penalty. His overall performance made him my Man of the Match (MoM).The rest of the backline played as they did in the previous game, with sharp passes and strikes, taking excellent, vectors and covering all attacks. The importance of a strong squad was shown again today as all of this was achieved without several leading players, including, Kevin Sheahan, Richard Sweeney, Phillip Brophy and Marcus O’Driscoll. Of course, we did have Fab-Fange, Darragh Fanning, who as ever was the pre-eminent figure of the game. One of the most admirable things about Darragh, is not just his ability to shine but his willingness to work so hard for his club teammates, he did so again today.
We now face three tough away games, Blackrock, Dublin University and Buccaneers in a row, before we return to Templeville Road at the end of October to host old friends Ballymena. Next Saturday we move on to Stradbrook where we face Rock, another club on the way back and we shall face a stronger challenge than our two games to date. However, if we continue to play with sense yet adventure we will advance.
Shannon having a lively start, continually ran hard at our line at the Templeville Road end, and after a series of drives, crossed for a try converted after eight minutes.
This spiked Marys into action and up the field. On 13 minutes, Mark Sexton who had a strong game made a straight hard break up the middle, he gave it to Darragh, he accelerated through the opposition and when stopped, big Steve Bradshaw ploughed through tacklers to score. 7 – 7.
On 18 minutes, having secured a penalty, Mark tapped and went, he fed David Fanagan who scampered through a gap, gave it on to Darragh, who finished the job himself this time. 14 – 7. It was 22 minutes when Darragh got a ball in his 22, he kicked ahead 60 metres and fairly singed the grass as he left defence puffing, he got the ball away to David and he linked up with Mark who did the rest, so the score clicked up to 21 – 7.
Shannon received a yellow card on 31 minutes and we took advantage with a penalty to the gate corner, then a maul that was infringed, then taken down, leading to a penalty try. 28 – 7
Just on half time, two big talented men combined with inter-passing, Steve and Brian Mc Govern then Ryan’s Express took over and finished ever so well and half time saw a the score 35 – 7.
The second half started as the first had ended with Marys again attacking and a penalty was gratefully accepted by Sean to make it 38 – 7 on 4 7 minutes. With a score of this magnitude, it was understandable that the home side dropped the intensity of their game, but always looked in control and on 79 minutes earned a pushover try from a scrum. 45 – 7. There were for some unknown reason, six minutes overtime played and at the end of this time Shannon scored a try out wide, which was not converted; so it ended 45 – 12.
The Squad (Rolling substitutions)
15 R Crotty, 14 C Toolan, 13 R O’Loughlin 12 M Sexton, 11 D Fanning, 10 S Kearns, 9 D Fanagan, 8 M Fallon, 7 B O’Flanagan, 6 D O’Connor, 5 S Bradshaw, 4 C Ruddock, 3 Robert Sweeney (Capt.), 2 R O’Donovan, 1 B McGovern, M Elliot-Murray, T O’Reilly, I Cullinane, I Dineen, R Glynn.