Young Munster RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1A
Tom Clifford Park
Saturday 28th.March 2015.
A few wet and withered leaves spun in a stinging wind eddy under a grey sky, as we trudged leaden footed from the bleak surroundings of Tom Clifford Park. The very many Marys supporters who generously answered the call and who thronged the bus and crammed the cars to come and cheer, looked wistful and worn. This had been an emotional storm.
With a strong wind in the face of the team in the first half, Marys stepped up and blunted the brutal force of a big Young Munster (YM) pack. By half time and behind by only one point, with a very strong wind to aid us in the second half, the auguries were excellent.
This was everything one could ask of a young team. They played with cohesion and intelligence, holding the ball, covering holes and driving out with power. After initial and expensive misunderstandings, our pack dominated the scrum and had a vital weapon there. However, for the entire game the lineout was a fiasco. The strong wind did not help, but YM seemed to cope better here and overall it must be considered a contributory cause to our defeat. A brilliant try from 60 metres at the end of the first half, by Cathal Marsh, picking up a loose ball, whizzing for the line and withstanding a tap tackle, left the score at 8 – 7. The entire pack was performing with controlled zest and Steve Bradshaw, in his native city, was revelling in it leading the charge.
Sadly, the trouble started in the second half. With the propitious wind, we put pressure on a YM team that was largely dependent on its big pack. However, our backs got little opportunity, although, young Ryan O’Loughlin looked particularly sharp and avid for work. Alas, as with many previous teams, there was a reluctance to use the willing wind; therefore, playing from deep in the Marys’ half, a couple of errors cost dearly and having got to 8 – 10 from a Ray Crotty penalty, we let in two tries and only a superb Cathal Marsh penalty ensured a losing bonus point, 18 – 13. After that penalty, we came looking for victory. In the last five minutes when in the YM 22, we won a scrum and were going for the kill, a YM prop went down and astoundingly fortuitously for YM, limped off; result, non-contested scrums, outcome, no pressure, no try, no conversion and no salvation yet.
We are far from gone and I have no doubt but that we will prevail. We are playing, already relegated Dolphin, on 11th April at home. Whether we win or not, we play the runner up team from 1B at home on 25th April. If however, we were to win with five points and UCD were to lose and not get a losing bonus point, UCD would have to play that match.
Please take heart, believe. Our coaches and our team will have it right. If you look at the table and the spread, you will see that the middle order to bottom team is narrow. We have beaten six of the other nine teams in the league over the course of the campaign. Without moaning, there were a few games where, had we got any bit of luck we could be now facing a top four spot. We have the finest coaching and management group and a good team, led by a committed captain, and although the players are pained and dejected, they will rise as the phoenix and show us how good. This is not a platitude, it is truth.
So we must all be patient a little longer and stand by our lads. Please, please do and we shall soar into the future and Elysian Fields.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 R Crotty, 14 R O’Loughlin, 13 M O’Driscoll, 12 M Sexton, 11 C Lilly, 10 C Marsh, 9 D Fanagan, 8 K Sheahan (Capt), 7 B O’Flanagan, 6 D O’Connor, 5 S Bradshaw, 4 C Ruddock, 3 B McGovern, 2 S Mc Carthy, 1 Robert Sweeney, T O’Reilly, Richard Sweeney, C Olliver, N Timoney, C Toolan.