Our J4s played Coolmine away on Saturday in this Metro division 6 fixture. This was a top of the table clash, 2nd v 3rd and there wasn’t too much between the teams.
We had a strong starting line up , back came Taylor Berliant at prop and we had our Chilean friend Andres at full back, his last game before he goes home.
The game started and continued with pin point accuracy from out half David Daly dropping the ball just past the 10 yard line, giving time for our winger James Walsh to chase and compete for the ball.
Coolmine had a strong pack and their lineout was on top , but we managed two penalties , which were slotted by Dave. To their credit Coolmine fought hard and also converted two penalties.
Half time score 6-6 .
Coaches Flats and Clery gave their players the wake up call the needed at the break. Everyone knew that we had to lift the tempo.
The second half began with us driving hard into the Coolmine backs, both centres Richard Pyne and captain Michael Daly tried hard but could not break the Coolmine defence. We received a penalty, which David Daly kicked to the corner, from the lineout we received a scrum from their knock on. Our scrum half Cristián broke from the scrum and squeezed in at the corner.
Conversion missed but the score was 11-6 to the star. They restarted with a kick off straight into the hands of flanker Naos Connaughton, who took off like a rocket down the touchline only to be stopped by a clothesline tackle around the neck. Yellow card issued to their prop.
Penalty kicked into touch at their 22. Short lineout, David Browne caught the ball and drove. Ball moved out the back line, Pyner tackled, offside at the ruck, penalty. Up stands Dave Daly to knock it over. 14-6 to the good guys.
Sin bin finished and they are back to 15,and start to push us back. After some excellent defence, hooker Chris Kane suffers a calf injury and had to be replaced by James Hynes.
We try to kick for touch but the ball is kept alive by Coolmine, who run it back, big hits form Gar Lloyd and Andres stop a potential try.
They receive a penalty and kick to the corner . After several attempts they eventually get over the line , and convert. Score now 14-13 to Mary’s with 5 minutes to go. From the restart they come at us again, tackle after tackle is made. Shouts of No penalties come from the sideline. Ball goes from ruck to ruck and from one side of the pitch to the other but nothing was going to break our line. Every man stood up, no tackles were missed, James Hynes goes in to rip the ball at the tackle. His centre of balance is unreal, they can’t get him of the ball. Referee blows for not releasing, penalty to us. Ball put into touch, Game over!
It was nail biting stuff for the supporters.
There was elation after winning, but no celebration. Everyone knew we could play better, our line-out misfired, we kicked sometimes aimlessly, but we showed heart and that got us over the line. In the past we could have lost a game like this but this team has matured, and when it clicks watch out, some opposing team is going to get a hiding.
As the results come in we find that we are second in both the J4 and J5 leagues as the Christmas break comes. This is just reward for all the players, coaches and managers who have put so much time and effort into training over the last few months.
We have a lot done but we still have a lot to do in the new year, but we know our destiny is in our hands, and that is a great motivator for everyone.