U20 XV v Terenure (A) by D. O’Brien – 23.09.23

Terenure College RFC U20s V St Mary’s College RFC

32                                          20

JP Fanagan 1 Qualifier 1st Leg.

Lakelands Park

Saturday 23rd September


“Yellow and black and pale and hectic red, pestilence stricken multitudes”  No, not the fair crowd assembled to watch this frantic game of rugby, but, the leaves on the venerable trees of Lakelands, as autumn introduces its sweeter tones, and rugby takes mesmeric hold. Oh yes indeed, the parents were there, in clarion call; and hypertension effects were on display.

If the two neighbouring clubs were to play each other in a game of snap it would draw crowds and raise stakes to astral plains, with John’s Ambulance on standby. But this was something far more substantial and taste whetting.  Two teams of teenage terriers tangling; what could be better, especially as these two sides were very well matched.

Of course before the clamour or any of this could unfold for both sides, work of herculean demand had to precede it, both by the squad, and their coaches, managers and mentors.

St Mary’s College is looking forward to the U20s doing very well this year as there has been a substantial influx of players, many with great potential. How they are managed is vital to success and the future.

Sean Healy, the new U20’s Head Coach, is young, talented, ambitious and adventurous.  He is supported and assisted in coaching by charismatic Club Captain Ronan Watters, Senior Inside-Centre, Mick O’Gara and Strength and Conditioning Coach Dan Lanelli. For several years now Vinnie Murray has been the managerial rock.  He has been a superb communicator, advisor and organiser.  He holds it all together, supported by Gary Croke, Brian McMahon and Jack McDowell.


Round 1 goes to Nure in an intense joust.  Twelve points is a substantial lead, and will be difficult to negate, however, home comfort gives real advantage, so we can look forward to a herculean heave on the part of the Marys’ lads. Modern U20s are no longer boys, they are big strong men and well-tuned athletes. The purring pace of this game was fascinating. It has to be said that the visitors’ lineout misbehaved now and then, which ultimately was expensive. Marys were also caught out, a little narrow in defence now and then. All said the squad on view has strong potential and skills, and it augurs well for the future. They were ahead for most of the first half and looked capable of winning. The defence and kicking generally by the visitors, was impressive, especially by the halves, Captain Shane McGrath and Matt Blake, and fullback John Brennan.   Likewise the individual tackling was strong and sure throughout the team.  It was clear that, already a lot of hard work has gone into coaching.  Fitness too, was evident and the attacking options and organisation excellent.   Nure scored early. The first Marys’ try by right wing Callum Gibney was a magnificent individual effort, involving zippace from the halfway, adventure and skill to bring Marys level. Team work and camaraderie are clearly evident and the recent successful trip to Corinthians RFC Galway, has created this atmosphere. Star second row, Joe Durkan, was part of the senior squad trip to Valencia to excellent effect.

There are 14 of this squad arriving directly from St Mary’s College, including Lucca Jennings (son of Karl Jennings and scorer of the second Marys’ try), John Brennan (son of Keith and nephew of committee member Paul) and Gavin Mulvihill (brother of super senior prop Adam). Eight remain in the squad from last season and one, Callum Gibney come in from Templeogue. A number have graduated, from our Youths Rugby section, including Eoghan Pender (Son of Paul, Senior Squad Manager).

Scoring Terenure scored a try out wide on five minutes, 5-0, 20mins individual  Try, Callum Gibney, Marys 7-7, 24 mins, 50/22 lineout maul and picks and drives Marys’ try, Lucca Jennings, 7-14,  38 mins Pen  Nure 10-14, 30 mins Nure try 17-14, 38 mins Pen Marys 17-17. 40 mins Pen Nure 20-17. 60 mins Marys Pen 20-20. 71 mins Nure try, 27-20, 74 mins Try Nure 32-20. Two conversions and two penalties by Mathew Blake. So it ended 32-20.

D O’Brien.

Squad. 15 J Brennan, 14 C Gibney, 13 S Ryan, 12 P O’Beirne, 11 T Tourish, 10 M Blake, 9 S McGrath (Capt.), 8 L Faulkner, 7 L Jennings, 6 T Keoghan, 5 L Pollicky, 4 J Durkan, A Shortle, L Begley-Taylor, F Devreaux. C Enright , R Smith, F King, O Reid, C Costello, G Mulvihill, S Moore, E Pender, L Weber, C de Lacy.