J2 XV v Clontarf (A) – 15.09.23

J2 XV 32-22 Clontarf

Castle Ave

15th September 2023

Metro League Division 3

With weather forcing the late concession of a home start to the season, the Mary’s J2’s made their way to Clontarf to kick off their campaign.

From the start, smart kicking from James Bourke, Barra O’Loughlin and Cian Dalton kept Mary’s in the Tarf half. Fast line speed lead by Jack McKenna, Shane Fanning, Aaron Coen and Adam Sloan forced errors from Tarf however the boys in Blue found it difficult to break through the Tarf defence.

After relentless pressure from Mary’s in the Tarf 22. The Kenyan powerhouse Kevin Shihabira went over for the first try of the game. James “flat white” Bourke added the extras from the sideline with a spectacular curving strike to end the half 7-0 to the good.

Tarf started fast in the second half scoring a quick try to make it 7-5. With a number of big hits and carries coming in from the likes of the rhino Dave McGill and the self proclaimed best Fanning, Shane Fanning (I still prefer Dec),  Mary’s worked their way down the pitch once again. The human 3 iron James Bourke capitalised on some ill-discipline from Tarf, converting two penalties to bring the Mary’s lead to 13-5. Tarf struck back following some ill-discipline on our side to bring it back to 13-10.

After fighting their way back up the pitch, with massive shifts from Dave Rohan and Morgan Mooney putting their bodies on the line.  Kevin Shihabira crashed over again to bring the lead to 8.

J2 coach Richard “Top Gun fan” Andreucetti looked to the bench for an injection of speed with Ev “The Don” Collins, Jamie Coolican, Rob “Nice Guy” Trew, Paddy McCormack, Tackehi Oe and Dave Sloan joining his brother to put in a shift.

The fresh legs off the bench brought the tempo up. Some inspiring play followed with dominating runs from the Sloan brothers, Tackehi and Andy “Clonakilty Pudding” McCarthy.

Mary’s shifted the ball across the pitch creating spaces on the right wing perfectly exploited by an inch perfect crossfield kick from James “Espresso Martini” Bourke to Jamie Grace who tipped back inside to Jack McKenna. A quick offload from Jack then put Tackehi Oe in for a beautifully worked try on his return to rugby. The human 3 iron added the extras making it 25-10.

This pattern repeated itself, hard carries and fast ball followed by another inch perfect crossfield, this time taken and finished by Jamie Grace and converted by James “White Shirt” Bourke.

Tarf found some form towards the end scoring two tries in quick succession, however by then the damage was done and the Mary’s men had kicked off their season with a well worked win.

Final score 32-22. James Bourke with the well deserved Man of the Match.

Dillon Zaidel