St Mary’s College RFC V University College Cork RFC
Energia AIL Division 1B
Saturday 25th March 2023.
It has to be emphasised that this excellent win was put into perspective by the loss of one of our most popular members, Patsy Fogarty, whose death, after a long illness occurred as the match progressed. A deep gloom spread around the attendance as news of his extremely sad passing filtered through. And indeed he was held with such high affection and regard, the celebrations afterwards, by the team and all present, were wholly muted. This sadness of the team and management was accentuated further by the fact that their teammate Mark, Patsy’s son, had withdrawn from the team to spend what he thought would be the last few days with his dad. Patsy was renowned for his warmth of nature, sociability and incredible generosity of his life; an exceptional Marys man. He is an enormous loss.
It had been a nervous few days, with rain hammering down and our pitch soaking up enormous amounts of water. What would we do? Could we play, could we get use of a G4 pitch, or would we have to postpone the match a most invidious decision to have to make. As we looked out of our windows, Friday night, still the rain came and still the pools formed and gulleys ran. Eventually it ceased, roofs grew silent and gutters barely dripped. Early this morning our intrepid senior team manager, Paul Pender and his aide-de-camp, Conor O’Neill, along with the ever helpful Iron Man, Aaron Hudson, took to the pitch (no they did not test it with a game of Tag). Then with brushing and forking and clearing drains, they created a little miracle. Two hours later, the pitch was passed perfect. Well done Titanic Trio, we owe you.
All of that tension and meteorological uncertainty seemed to heighten the anticipation of the match to come, with our men facing a University team which had put 50 points on the board the previous week. President Bobby O’Connor welcomed Charlie Haly, his UCC counterpart, and committee, to Templeville Road. While there was genuine warmth in his welcome, there was an inevitable undercurrent of sadness, as all were aware of the grave illness of, most popular and cared for member, Patsy Fogarty. We were to learn later, during the match of his death. Although, St Marys had a memorable victory in a close, throbbing game of high class rugby, the air was rightly subdued and reserved in respect of a special member. President Bobby paid tribute to Patsy after the game.
This was a high quality game, and a fine advertisement for AIL Rugby. There were some outstanding features, Daniel Sancery’s hat trick of tries, another feature, the tackling performance by dynamo Ethan Baxter and another stunning all round performance by Skipper Ronan Watters, were noteworthy. Each one of the three AIL games to date has seen a heroic performance in all respects by Ronan. His defensive and attacking aerial ball retrieval were terrifyingly brilliant; and his tackling shuddering. His leadership and game management is vital to the success so far. Today he seemed to be everywhere, and one try saving tackle near the end of the match was breath-taking. He was awarded the SoftCo MoM Award.
Playing against a high quality team that is UCC was a good test for the burgeoning squad; one they passed with aplomb. UCC emphasised their quality by their comeback and their all-round ability. The game was played in a good sporting manner right through.
The Marys’ lineout management is improving constantly and Jamie Harding is settling in impressively; he scored a well worked try from a penalty, lineout, and maul. He is of course part of a powerful and brilliant front row, with former captain Tommer and Mighty Mick McCormack, who is vital to the team’s wellbeing, he is a pillar of the scrum, of the lineout and the maul; and has a major part to play in general play.
Indeed, the squad each outing looks more settled and confident. The close in defence, long covering and fast rucking were admirable and backs’ width and innovation were noteworthy. The interaction between players, coaches and management is clearly thriving. The future continues to look bright for this team.
After five minutes Marys scored a fine try from a scrum with a primary move and added width allowed Daniel Sancery coming across from his left wing to make excellent use of the space, 7-0. It was 23 minutes of nip and tuck, and UCC scored a penalty. 7-3 and they scored a try almost on the half hour, when their left wing chipped ahead and got the touchdown in the Cabbage Patch Corner, 7-8.
Again from a scrum on 32 minutes, the ball was swept out to Dan-San with space and he fairly flew in at eth Gate Corner, Mick O’Gara again converted, 14-8. UCC added penalty on 35 minutes and then on 40 minutes a penalty for Marys, driven to the Gate Corner followed by a maul, saw Jamie Harding flip over for a try. Half Time 19-11.
The pace continued in the second half. And on 47 minutes following a lineout, the ball came to Conor Hayes, who had an impressive game, and he swung out wide, dummied and showed super pace to beat all and score in the Well Corner. Mick converted from the edge and it was 26-1. With two tries following from UCC they climbed ominously to 26-25. However, on 75 minutes Daniel Sancery clinched his hat trick, with a lovely try in the Cabbage patch Corner, following an exquisite pass from the excellent, Conor Deane. That was it, 31-25.
We have a two week break until our next game against Naas at Forenaughts, which is always a tough one. Make sure to mark it well and: –Come and Roar on Ronan.
15 C Hayes, 14 L Ramirez, M Carey, 12 M O’Gara, 11 S Sancery, 10 C Dean, 9 A McEvoy, 8 R Watters, 7 E Baxter, 6 B Taylor, 5 L Corcoran, 4 D Leane, 3 M McCormack, 2 J Harding, 1. T O’Reilly. C Stewart, L Jack, I Wickham, R Fahy, J Reidy-Walsh, M Svejdar.