J4 XV v Tullamore RFC Division 8 Final

J4XV v Tullamore RFC

Metro League Division 8 League Final

St. Mary’s College RFC (3) v Tullamore RFC (20)

Saturday 6th April


As most know to get the opportunity to play in a league final is the aim of any team as they start out in October, however what lies ahead is unpredictable at this stage. One thing we were quiet certain off with this squad was as long as the squad worked,  trained hard and kept showing up there was nothing stopping this squad being in the mix at the business end of the season.

To get to a league final is a huge achievement and the players and coaches deserve huge credit here. The J4 league campaign was impressive throughout the season, with a strong start against Stillorgan, DLSP and an impressive display against Landsdowne. A tight game against Bective in Energia Park in miserable conditions was also a season highlight. Other tough games against Emerald Warriors were in the mix but after fiercely competitive games with Tullamore the task

at hand was evident. A big loss in the season came when captain Andrew Gibbons broke his ankle in DLSP. A huge leader on and off the pitch, he kept the effort going throughout the season and a is a huge part of the success of this squad. Given the quality in this squad another leader was there and standout player  and v.c. Thady took the captaincy on the pitch. Tullamore and Mary’s were neck and neck throughout the year with the Mary’s also holding the top spot.

Tullamore therefore was not going to be an easy venue to go to but coaches Dave, Fran, Murph and John along with the support of Malo and Richie during the year had the squad well prepared for battle.

A battle is exactly what it was against another big Tullamore pack and a gale force breeze Mary’s done extremely well to have the amount of possession that had in the  first half. The first few minutes went as expected with the game extremely tight and focus was to contain the early Tullamore pressure up front, meet them on the gain line and neutralise any yards their big carriers were going to make. Mary’s done this extremely well and given the conditions were certainly the better side in the first half through shear workrate, most notably our flankers , Matty and Jayden who stopped the Tullamore bomb squad in their tracks. Their tackle rate was immense and both made big line breaks with Matty Gallagher unfortunate not to get in under the Tullamore posts at one stage, while doing so in slippers for boots!

The first half was made extremely difficult with the wind and rain and underfoot conditions were also quiet heavy, despite this Mary’s played one of the beast halves of rugby all year and it was energy zapping even to watch. It was a difficult day at the line out and the wind gave both sides no options here really. A difficult day for Marius , stapo and max here but long with Aaron, ayman and John luc our scrum was good on the poor ground and work at the breakdown was well organised to stop Tullamore in their tracks. There was little back play in the first half and it took almost 35 minutes to see any points in the game. This came through a Mary’s penalty with Dara putting the ball through the sticks.

3-0 Mary’s

Approaching half time Mary’s continued to put pressure on Tullamore and after a huge clearance kick from Thadys boot , the lineout was won and platform set up to attack the Tullamore line. Matty Gallagher made a huge break in the middle of the field gaining huge yards and the Mary’s men were up fast to secure ruck ball. Matty had a huge game and put in a great shift earning him the man of the match award. After some big carries by the front row Mary’s were just short of the line and stapo was just held up by Tullamore who defended well. After this it was Tullamores turn and then piled on the the pressure after changing their winger and doing some rearranging at centre, their pack carried until they sucked in our backline defence and left space out on the wing to score.

5-3 Tullamore Ht

At half time Dave and Fran gave the necessary instructions and it was noted what a huge 40mins of rugby was played, a real battle. Now we had to use the wind wisely and this game was shaping up to be a battle of the benches given the huge first half. Tullamore got their try at the right time and they did make the necessary adjustments to isolate the Mary’s men especially out the back with a huge defensive workrate of the line and had 2 defenders up fast of the game line to meet Thady when quinny and Dara got ball out knowing that if Mary’s got to run ball the game was back on. Tullamore really started utilising their bench and making changes in the pack brought on a big second row and flanker. Mary’s with wind tried kicking to the corner when it was on and the change for Tullamore in the line out worked winning Mary’s lineout ball deep in their 22. Their flankers provided more energy to deal with carries from stapo, John luc , Matty. Tullamore piled on the pressure and added another score with their 15 being instrumental in the game and always attacking the line, stretching the Mary’s numbers. It was a tough day out for our back 3 with Matty, Cody and Jack all having to deal with the conditions. At this stage the Mary’s men had put in a massive effort and the bench was required with all players getting minutes. Jack, Gary , Liam, Kyle , Ryan and Ali.

Thank you to all those that made the trip down to support especially our J3 squad and all those that travelled directly from the Buccs game. Although a home game forTullamore the Mary’s support was huge and noted. Onward to cup rugby and all the excitement it brings to the club.

Chris o connor