Dolphin RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1B
Saturday 16th April 2016.
A slight anticlimactic feeling could not be denied after this result, with a subdued Marys’ performance that allowed Dolphin come out convincing winners. To add to the fact that we were missing six lead players, we also had to play with 14 men for 30 minutes of the game due to three yellow cards all sequentially bestowed. In addition in cannot be denied that having won the division last week, an unavoidable feeling of fatigue and relief, at work done, was present.
In spite of the league being already won, 47 supporters came down from Dublin in the bus. Joyce and Eileen excelled in mustering their entire flock. Those two are so wonderfully committed and persuasive, you could almost expect to see them joining the team on the field. There was a number of Dublin cars present too.
On a perfect pitch, Dolphin performed well throughout the game and played with pace and confidence. They had strong set pieces, a cohesive pack with a strong back row. Their half backs were reliable, especially veteran 10, Barry Keeshan. They had an impressive inside centre too, who gave us problems.
Notwithstanding that, there were some good Marys’ performances. Robbie Glynn, home from England for a few days, had a high endeavour, high quality match. Right from the start he stood out, his defence was secure, with ranging cover, his decision making was good, his delivery sharp and he probed and podded judiciously. He was for me the best Marys’ player on the pitch and my MoM. In the forwards, Hugh Kellegher made an impression when joining the game, and looked as though he could well have a lot to contribute in the future.
After a weak first half, the second saw Marys improve, due in some degree to the incision of replacements. One such replacement was Richard Sweeney, playing his last game for the club that he has notably graced for more than a decade and captained with distinction. He and his brother, current Club Captain, Robert, are retiring from playing. They both have embellished further the illuminated Sweeney name and brought honour to their club. There is no doubt but that they will contribute enormously to St Marys in other ways for many years to come. Another stalwart, also sadly playing his last game for St Marys, was Steve Bradshaw. Steve too, can be proud of his contribution. No doubt he would have had even more success and enjoyment but for an inordinate number of injuries. In spite of these, he never betrayed frustration or bad humour but fought incessantly for recovery. The loss of these three players and leaders, will be badly felt by the club next season.
Dolphin’s two tries, along with two penalties, were scored in the first half, while, added to a Sean Kearns’s penalty in the first, we got our try in the second half with a well worked maul that saw Richard Sweeney secure the touch down. Dolphin added two penalties and a drop goal in the second period. The score ended 29 – 8.
In spite of this loss, the champions and retinue went home to Dublin in good spirits and then up to the club to have a little deserved party.
We can reflect on a season of great success, adventure and enjoyment. We did get our slice of luck now and then, but reflecting on the previous season, we got none. We shall look forward with hope and confidence to being back in 1A. We shall of course need reinforcements in a few areas, but no doubt we shall attract quality players, with the foundation squad, coaches and management group that we have in place.
The supporters can really applaud themselves for once, as they never flinched, supporting with hope and belief all season; many times being numerically and vocally stronger at many away venues.
Finally, on a personal note, I should like to thank all of you who read these reports and particularly many of you who got in touch and commented, such as frequenters, Michael Farrell, Pat Drennan, Rynner, Springer and especially Liam Birkett. Enjoy your summer, all. It will be a little narrow without your own rugby.
The Squad (Rolling substitutions)
15 S Toal-Lennon, 14 C Toolan, 13 M O’Driscoll, 12 C Gilsenan, 11 I O’Neill, 10 S Kearns, 9 R Glynn, 8 M Fallon, 7 D Aspil, 6 I Cullinane, 5 S Bradshaw, 4 C Ruddock 3 E Ferron 2 H Kean, 1T O’Reilly, 16 S O’Brien, 17B McGovern, 18 Richard Sweeney, 19 H Kellegher, 20 M Tymmons.