St Mary’s College RFC V Young Munster RFC
AIL Division 1A
Saturday 5th November 2016.
Tantalisingly close it was, and having scored a sensational five tries to four, it seemed a little unfair too, to have lost to this powerful, well balanced Young Munster team. However, St Marys took two valuable points from a flyer. This was enough to maintain our sixth position, with 15 points from six games.
This was a strange match, for St Marys were down 3 – 24 at half time. In the second half the home side metamorphosed from slightly off tune to harmonic rhapsody. Obviously, the half time diagnostic dissertation from Jamie and Peter, was curative, as their team responded spectacularly. The response was immediately apparent through Terry Kennedy who seemed to spread stardust as he glided over the ground, loping as he looped, shimmied and swayed around defenders. He energised those around him and soon the backline was purring. He scored a try and was involved in very much of what was good in a young backline that showed again it has magical qualities. In a team that had many contenders he was a deserved SoftCo MoM.
Once again, the pack rose to the occasion in a serious test against a formidable YM pack. The lineouts were much improved and the scrum held parity with the big YM eight. McGov lead with determination and had around him all who were willing to go unflinchingly. His men stood firm, with Cathal O’Flaherty playing a major part and showing his ability in set pieces and in open play. Having Kevin (Shiner) Sheahan back was a real bonus, as he was outstanding and particularly in the first half when we were not quite firing on all four, he was there cleaning up, vitally covering, tackling, taking on ball out of trouble. And he was critically involved in the last dazzling try of the game.
There was a good number of supporters present on a fine cool afternoon, as the game kicked off. After the initial sparring, on five minutes, YM went on the attack and we were found offside thirty metres out and having kicked and taken the lineout, the maul was repelled so they ran the ball and their centre Goggin found a gap to score and it was 0 – 7. They added a penalty on ten minutes. While Conor Dean, ran his line commendably, earned three points for us with a well taken penalty on 13 minutes. YM, on 22 minutes scored a converted try in a similar fashion to their first, so it was 3 – 17. As the half developed Marys came more into the game, but an unfortunate bounce from a ball stabbed ahead by YM, gave them a fortuitous try on 35 minutes, and the half ended 3 – 24 and looking bleak.
An energised St Marys emerged in the second half and soon the team was humming, forwards and backs running well, and playing at pace. When we play the pace game, we can cause real problems for teams and indeed this has been the key to our success both last year and this. With 48 minutes showing, Marys had a marvellous series of phases and inter passes, ending with young Darren Moroney going through a gap like a scud missile to score a superb try, converted by Conor. 10 – 24. At 55 minutes YM converted a penalty. We continued the revival and attacked at all opportunity, we were winning good ball. We had a lineout in Carvill Corner, Hugh Kellegher, who had come on took the ball around the back and drove with venom at the defence splitting it, Shiner was there to take it on, then McGov made ground before the ball flicked out to Terry who scored; another beauty; and we believed. It was 55 minutes and the score was 15 – 27. On 63 minutes another mesmerising inter passing period, by the now whirring back line, ended with Darren going hard and scoring again. Conor converted and it was 22- 27. It was trembling stuff, with the terrace dancing and swaying. On 71 minutes we drew level, following a superb interplay between Terry, Shiner and the Ryan O/’Loughlin, now in dynamic overdrive, and he scored in the corner (he had to withdraw ill just after this). 27 – 27. Six minutes later, YM ran back from defence, and after several phases, got over and converted. They were in the lead again; we would not succumb. Urgently, we got down in the strike zone and set up drive after drive, phase after phase, and when held up again and again, we flashed it wide and the returning to form, Conor Hogan, crossed in the corner, we could not convert, so it ended 32 – 34. What a precursor to the historic evening to follow in Chicago, USA.
Jamie and Peter, and Alan, were sanguine as was our president, Kevin, who as ever was gracious and affable.
Although sad, the team will have taken much from the marvellous game and an exceptional second half. That confidence will be needed, as we head to Dooradoyle next Saturday, remembering 2010 and the 2014 playoff.
This is the first excursion out of town and no doubt Joyce shall be urging you to join the coach and make it a memorable trip. It is really important to show actual support by turning up in Limerick, McGov will thank you and the team respond. Garryowen lie 9th and are on 11 points we are on 15 on a very compressed table. A win is essential to keep our momentum. It is far too easy to reverse places in this league. Let us keep climbing. We still have to register a home win, but if we can keep up the consistency, it will not be long coming.
Team (including rolling replacements) 15 D Fanagan, 14 T Kennedy, 13, R O’Loughlin, 12 D Moroney 11 C Hogan, 10 C Dean, 9 P O’Driscoll; 8 K Sheahan, 7 D Aspil, 6 N McCarthy, 5 C O’Flaherty, 4 D O’Connor, 3 B McGovern (Capt), 2 R Halpin, 1 T O’Reilly, S O’Brien, N Murphy, , C Ruddock H Kellegher, I O’Neill.