U20 XV v Terenure (H) by D. O’Brien – 30.09.23

St Mary’s College RFC U20s V Terenure College RFC

14                                      26

JP Fanagan 1 Qualifier 2nd Leg.

Templeville Road

Saturday 30th September 2023


All week we were suspiciously eyeing Storm Agnes and the way she might look at you and her sharp humour and then musing as to how Hurricane Healy, devised by Sean, would shape up today after last week’s Lakelands’ lip licking opener. Nure took a 12 point lead into decider where aggregate scores decided.  It would indeed be churlish to crib, as again they deserved their hard earned victory.  The teams were well matched and both played with spirit and verve. It did look after the first half that Marys could at least get the individual win, but Nure’s power and avoirdupois gave them the edge.  Errors and necessitated large rearrangements of the home team, gave the visitors the immediate win and overall victory.

Much had been done to rectify some problems from last week.  It was clear the lineout had been a focus and it was greatly improved with Joe Durkan and Luke Pollickey excellent and working well with their hookers. The back row too was even more effective with Lucca Jennings leading relentlessly from start to finish. He was impressive.

St Marys played down towards the Templeville Road End in the first half.  After a downpour all morning the pitch was clearly heavy with some splashdowns evident early on.  It did dry out substantially as the game proceeded and the rain disappeared. The first 15 minutes were full of enterprise and errors on both sides, as the young titans grappled. When 17minutes had sped by, the visitors converted a penalty for offside, 0-3. The rain soaked and sparsely populated terrace, started to become dotted and then clumped as the rain ran and brave souls ventured out like a spreading ink spill.  Soon the expected support from both tribes vibrated in an intense cacophony and the game swung to and fro. It was 40 minutes when a ball ran left to right 45 metres out.  Then, right wing Callum Gibney grasped it and hit the burners. He has true winger pace and derring-do to go with it.  He fairly scorched along as he went outside the cover and jinked at Mk2 sweep by two more, to go over in Carvill Corner. Nice one Callum. On 44 minutes a Penalty by Matthew Blake left the half time score 8-3. It was looking promising as the home side were starting to look a little dominant.  Vinnie Murray was looking optimistic.

The second half started evenly and we added a penalty to be 11-3 then on 51 minutes Nure earned penalty and we earned a yellow card for a deliberate Knock on, 11-6 and the clouds built again. On 57 minute another Blake penalty brought the score to 14-6.  Optimism grew; was it possible? Ten minutes of increasing Nure pressure led to a harsh off side penalty and it was 14-9. At 71 minutes Nure had a penalty to the corner and a lineout, maul and break from the back for a try, made 14-16, on 78 minutes Nure extended lead with a penalty, 14-19 and in stoppage time a converted try meant it ended 14-26. 

There were some robust performances from the home team and several players already show that they have the ambition, skills and attitude to play senior and thrive. The pack overall is showing early cohesion and will improve.  And with a bit more innovation, the backline, which has quality all through, will thrive. St Marys will play this year in JPF League 2. It may not be a bad thing. This will give this very young promising squad time to develop under Sean’s tutelage; and getting the opportunity to learn from Ronan Watters and Mick O’Gara will be an exciting, positive and developmental experience.

D O’Brien

Squad. 15 J Brennan, 14 C Gibney, 13 P O’Beirne, 12 S Ryan, 11 S Kennedy, 10 M Blake, 9 S McGrath (Capt.), 8 L Faulkner, 7 L Jennings (VC), 6 D Ryan, 5 L Pollicky, 4 J Durkan, 3 A Shortle, 2 L Begley-Taylor,1 F King.

F Devreaux, R Smith, O Reid, T Keoghan, L McGill, G Mulvihill, R Moore, E Pender, C Costello, T Tourish.