J4 XV v Guinness (H) – 06/10/2023

J4 v Guinness
Friday 6th October
Templeville Road

As our J4 squad missed out on their first competitive league game it was good planning and organisation to get this friendly fixture in for the squad. Although this was only a friendly there was a good atmosphere around the Friday night lights and was good to see the crowd on the sideline of the roadside pitch.

Guinness are a side that our J3 squad met last year and play in Metro 7. Based on this we somewhat knew what to expect, another big pack looking to dominate the forward battle with ball carrying and slow ruck ball which suits their game. This squad was almost dis banded last year and they put a big effort in to recruit players and keep rugby at Guinness.

The game was played in a format of 4 x 20 mins with rolling subs giving each a chance to run out all players. It was great to see the numbers that turned up on Friday and the Wednesday training session which we need to keep up if want a successful season.

After the pre match warm up by Dave we were back to the dressing room where Fran gave the the final few words before running out under the lights.

The Mary’s men were fired up from the start and after receiving the kick off dominated early possession as Guinness tried to re organise with some new players for the early exchanges. The early pack work led to an almost immediate try with quick ball out the back ending in Mattie coughlan touching down in the corner. As with some other scores in the game this left Dara with some big kicks. He had a superb performance off the boot slotting some really awkward ones and combining well with Thady at 9 they both orchestrated some clinical back moves. They were some huge carries in the first quarter with the likes of Andre and Kyle putting in a big shift and some huge tackles. Other notable performances in the pack were from John luc Carvill, Marius and our captain Andrew Gibbons.

The first quarter displayed some fantastic handling with the back line duely rewarded with tries from Thady McKeever and Jack Ryan at full back after a line break as good as you’ll see in any top level game. The pack were also rewarded with their high work rate with tries from Kyle and marius. Dara stepped up and added the points including some huge sideline kicks in the game judged to perfection. The first quarter ended 29-0 Mary’s, a very impressive performance from the team on the pitch.

After a quick regroup and review from Dave, murph and gibbo we approached the second quarter setting out to not rest on the points on the board and with the approach of putting on a display what this side can do. Guinness made a few changes in their side and went back to what they do best with big carriers in the pack slowing down the ruck ball and taking yards slowly but surely.

But despite their best efforts our bhoys proved not only did they have speed and strength in attack , but also the desire and workrate required in defence with some super tackles. Our resident saffa , dom stepped up with some great carries and got his reward with a try. He also kept his discipline in check and was awarded the MOM award on the night. His try was converted by Dara ending the second quarter 36-0 Mary’s.


Half time and in keeping with the spirit of the game noting these were both fairly new teams the referee agreed to a request to take a somewhat more disciplined approach on our squad and let the game flow a bit more for the visitors where possible. This was another good learning curve for our squad and again re enforces maintaining discipline at all times as we were conceding a lot of penalties at the breakdown.

After another quick regroup we made some more changes and went out approaching this quarter as a new game. By this stage Guinness also made some changes and grew more into the game with their pack getting over the Mary’s line. The conversion was slotted between the sticks.

36-7 Mary’s

This score was answered almost immediately with another Mattie coughlan try again converted by Dara.

43-7 Mary’s.

After more quick ball out the back by Mary’s and playing smartly in the Guinness half by running their pack around the park, another try was added from young Ryan miller on his J4 debut. Well done Ryan , Dara added the con.

48-7 Mary’s.

Despite the score line Guinness kept at it and did get over the Mary’s line once more after some big carries by their pack. The try was converted.

48-14 Mary’s.

The scoring wasn’t finished there and ended with another superb try from Harry slotting in at full back. After receiving the ball in his own 22 Harry opted to run it and side step the whole Guinness defence to score under the posts , a fantastic individual try.

The fourth quarter unfortunately ended early after a nasty tackle.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for their support on and off the pitch. This is what club rugby is all about and it showed all its qualities on Friday.

Thanks to all the coaches, management and background team, Dave, Murph, Simon, Seamie, Fran and John. It was also great to see the support on the side lines and to see flats back cheering on this which he knows well and done so much work with. We are set up well approaching our first competitive league game.

Chris O’Connor