J4 XV v DLSP (H) – 03.11.23

St. Mary’s College RFC v DLSP
Metro League Division 8
Tempeville Road Friday 3rd November

Friday night lights was back in full swing last night in the club for this huge game for our J4 squad with this familiar foe. Our u20 squad were also in action on the first pitch and the dressing rooms were humming since early evening. A full car park in the club and even parking close to the newly installed train track outside the gates meant a night full of club action.

Before the start of the game both teams observed a minutes silence, this was due to some sad news received this week with doms father passing. Our prayers are with dom and his family at this difficult time.

As always match preparation starts in training and good numbers allowed our J3/J4 squad to get some good team runs in along with captain gibbo keeping heads focused approaching game day. The game started with Mary’s receiving and a fine catch and carry by gibbo. The ball was recycled quickly from the early rucks and went out the back where Dara kicked us into the salmo 22 and the resulting line out was crooked resulting in our scrum. The ball was quickly recycled and spread to the opposite side of the pitch resulting in another salmo line out. Mary’s then won a penalty at the breakdown for salmo not releasing, the quick tap was taken by john luc who got over the line for our first score. Dara duely converted and after 10mins of Mary’s pressure we were deservedly up on the score board.

Mary’s 7-0 salmo

Based on previous encounters with this side we knew we had to apply early pressure and the squad was set to avenge last years cup loss by running this side and their pack around the pitch. This salmo side were set up to ruck all day and slow down ball where possible, using their pack to take big carries and gain yards. Our pack however had a different plan and dominated the majority of the game at scrum , breakdown and particularly lineout where they excelled. The analysis team supercomputer (Fran and john) were on the job from the warmup and had the salmo lineout figured out. When then failed to hit the front of the lineout in the game they reverted to overthrows which our lads were alert to and adopted well to win ball here. The pack again were immense with a huge workrate, fitness and technique that few sides in this league will match. Super performances from gibbo, Kyle , Boyler and especially john luc whose workrate was exceptional throughout disrupting rucks and lineout and rightly won the MOM award.

The early pressure was evident with the salmo restart not going 10m and Mary’s putting the pressure back on getting quickly back into the salmo 22. They controlled ball at the breakdown and were awarded a penalty in their 22 , like a lot of the penalty decisions on the night there wasn’t an evident hand signal as to why it was awarded. Salmo kicked and made an exit. Mary’s continued to put huge pressure on their lineout and regained possession keeping sustained pressure on the salmo defence. Salmos over reliance on competing and winning ball at the breakdown was to be their downfall leaving huge space out wide to target. As soon as the pack got us near their 22 again quinny and Dara called the back line play and after some accurate passing through the reliable hands of Thady , the space was created for Matty coughlan to get over the line yet again in the corner. Dara converted.
Marys 12-0 after 15 minutes
Salmo finally got a bit of traction in the game soon after and got into our 22 only to seal off ruck ball and awarding a penalty to Mary’s. After an exit we soon lost Liam through an ankle sprain only to be strapped on the sideline by caglar and come back on. Collie came on and lasted only a brief time after putting in a big hit and being hit with a stringer on the shoulder. After some quick band work and magic spray he returned to put in some huge hits. Salmo did not last long in the Mary’s 22 and Mary’s were quickly back down the field to be awarded a high tackle penalty near their 5m line. After the kick to the corner the lineout was won but the resulting maul was collapsed, salmo then won turnover ball. The game continued with pressure mainly on salmo who gave away some soft penalties , through some quick taps and knock ons we unfortunately did not come away with more points after stages of sustained pressure and position. Some referring decisions disrupted the flow of the game at this point but our penalty count was better than salmo who resorted to sealing off rucks , playing the 9 and some offside penalties. We had 7 penalties in the first half, with 3 for not releasing which was characteristic of this game. Our backs play was of a higher standard than this league again with some of our new players putting in some great displays of passing and chasing down with Ryan and jack again putting in good performances.
We regrouped at half time and after some words from gibbo and Dave we refocused the group on controlling the game our way and not trying to influence referring decisions or rise to the indiscipline of the opposition. Marius came off at the half to be replaced by daragh , with both players putting in great work and big shifts. We started the first half again with the early pressure on salmo. Mary’s didn’t panic and when the opportunity came the ball hit Dan Mc gill at 12 who put in a huge carry and offloaded to Thady who timed and weighted the perfect pass to put Matty in again in the corner. Con missed.

17-0 Mary’s

Mary’s again dominated the game with salmo gaining very little traction. Various penaties and scrums broke up the flow of the game , however Mary’s set piece was impressive especially at line out. After an incident off the ball we unfortunately lost Thady to a yellow card but even so Mary’s spread salmo side to side with some crisp passing in the back line. Jack who put in a great performance at 15 , opened up salmo again and passed to Dan mc gill to get over the line , which Dara converted.

24-0 Mary’s

This provided the opportunity to use the full bench and after some huge performances off came collie, Kyle , ryaner and max.

Liam and Mattie also came off slightly earlier in the game. Among those off the bench were jack o Kelly , Gary masterson,
Cian and rian. The Mary’s pressure continued and salmo gave away another penalty for playing the 9 but unfortunately after a quick tap penalty we lost ball after a forward pass. The pressure kept up however with salmo obviously struggling to deal with the intensity and fitness of the Mary’s

Men they soon gave away another high tackle penalty. Dara kicked into the corner where jokey won the lineout. After some quick decision making jokey took a pass out on the blindside wing where he then ran over the salmo line to add another try to the scoreboard. Dara converted

31-0 Mary’s

Salmo made a late push in the game to score under our posts to make it 31-7 in the end. In summary it was another polished performance from this side, with the majority of possession in the game. Line out and link ups in the back line were highlights of the game. We also improved on the high tackle penalty count. Overall this side continues to mature with game management on the pitch while focusing on controlling what they can do and not referring decisions or rising to opponents indiscipline on the pitch. Thanks again to all those who turned up to support, this really does make a difference from the start of each game. A fantastic start to the season that sees the J4’s on top of the table. Again our focus is now just on a good session Wednesday and good preparation for Lansdowne.

Chris O’Connor