J1 XV v Blackrock (Energia Park) by D. O’Brien – 07.04.2024

St Mary’s College RFC V Blackrock College RFC

33                                    21

Metro League Premier 2 Final

(The John Doddy Memorial Cup)

Energia Park

Sunday 7th April 2024.


It was fitting that St Mary’s College RFC had the opportunity to play for a trophy, named after one of our much missed, outstanding members, John Doddy, and sponsored by Brian (Spike) Fanning, his closest friend and great club stalwart. It was appropriate that the match was played in Energia Park, as John had been deeply involved in the refurbishment of the stadium.

The team did his memory proud with a skilful and determined performance. It has been long noted that when a club has a strong J1s it has a strong senior team and a vibrant club. This is certainly the case now as club demeanour and results show.

Having that strong J1s is not easy, as it requires dedication and patience to form a unit within a squad that performs enthusiastically, ensemble, to full ability.  Indeed sometimes it can be difficult even to put a team on the field. That is where a top manager and a dedicated and talented captain come in. Over the past few seasons, Darren Walker has been manager and he has excelled, patiently developing the team’s personality and camaraderie.  He has done a marvellous job.  His experience as a player helps his rugby insight. He knows his players well and how to prepare them for action.  His Captain this season has been perfect, Joe Nolan is a born leader and very fine player.  He leads by example and urging.  He is a fearless and totally committed player; and a loyal dedicated Marys’ man. On the field today he was outstanding as a leader and a backrow, ever present in support and cover. He made the right decisions which helped greatly with the outcome.

Today it was a heartbreak for Darren, as he had to be away and missed his team perform so well.  Paul Conlon, stepped in and was meticulous in his preparation for the big game.  He will be very pleased that his work was so well rewarded.


From the start St Marys looked sharp.  They played a fast open game that suited the young team, full of talent and exuberance. Although playing with some wind advantage they went behind to two Rock scores early on, however they always looked capable and soon got into full stride.  It is hard to single out individuals when the panel was so full of ability. To see a pack with Ian Wickham, Conor Pierce and DanLyons, and so on included, it was clear there was going to be an exciting day; Then on top of that there was a backline shimmering with talent, every single one. So no doubt it would be a rugby full game; and so it was. This was Craig Kennedy’s second game back after his dreadful injury 17 months ago.  He played fullback and will have been very happy with his performance. Richie Fahy was coming back from injury and sadly only lasted eight minutes when his hamstring went again.  Andrew Walsh replaced him and fitted in very well. Our lineout was excellent with Eoin Power accurate and Ian Wickham peerless. During the second half Marys looked well in control, however Rock, as you would expect, fought inch for inch and never gave up, soring near the end to close in, but Marys stayed the course well.


After 7 minutes Rock got penalty to the corner and after the lineout and picks and drives they got over in the corner and converted, 0-7. It was 13 minutes and after another penalty and lineout in the far corner, Rock broke thorough the defence and added another converted try. 0-14.

We started to up the pace further and on 21 minutes, with penalty under the Rock posts, Joe decided on a scrum.  Our scrum was in battling hard against a strong Rock scrum, with front row of Kealan, Eoin and Cameron in loose play in top form both in defence and with ball, including Lineout accuracy. The ball came to the excellent Peter Ford, who dummied and sashayed over from close in.  Max Svedjar, who we usually see in the centre was excellent at Ten, and he converted. 7-14. Daniel Sancery was causing the Rock Defence problems and caused them a major one when just before half time he got a ball with several defenders in front of him he zoomed outside his marker, flashed inside and out beating three more and over in the corner. Max converted from far out.  14-14. Half Time.

The second half started lively and after only four minutes a carry and break by hard-working 8, Conor Pierce got him close to the Rock line, he timed his pass to the ever-supporting Skipper, Joe, who burst though and over. 21-14. On the 53rd minute Max kicked a penalty to touch and following a great take from Conor, the pack rumbled forward and when stopped the ball went through six pairs of hands at speed for Eoin Carey to score in the corner. On 66 mins Conor broke from a scum close to our lone, passed to Craig and gathered Craig’s offload in the tackle, drew the second but last defender and sent Eoin hurtling down the wing. Eoin was eventually stopped close to the line but the ball was quickly recycled with Dan Lyons giving the scoring pass to Peter who went under the posts to score one of the tries of the season. 33 – 14.

We had to defend hard from then on with Rock resurgent.  Marys put in a tough defensive effort, Dan Lyons and Gavin Potts toiling hard all game, added so much in defence and Max Whelan, active in most things was a rock in centre defence. The bench, Niall Mulcahy, Billy Hamilton, Finn Connolly and Eoghan Pender came on adding to the effort. However Rock did get a converted try before the end to see the score go to 33-21 and that was it.

Post Script.

It was good to see all the support there and to see DoR Alan and the RC, also Ronan and the remainder of the squad there in support of the J1s.  After the justified celebrations this team has to face Clontarf, Metro League 1 winners, in the Metro Cup semi-final next weekend.  They deserve your support so make sure you come along and help them add another trophy.

D O’Brien


15 C Kennedy, 14 E Carey, 13 P Ford, 12 M Whelan, 11 D Sancery, 10 M Svedjar, 9 R Fahy, 8 C Pierce, 7 J Nolan (Capt.) 6 D Lyons, 5 I Wickham, 4 G Potts, 3 C Stewart, 2 EPower, 1 K Quinn. 16, B Hamilton, 17 E Pender, 18 N Mulcahy, 19 A Walsh, 20 F Connolly.