On Friday night our J5s played the Emerald Warriors in the last Metro Division 11 league game of the year. This match was an away fixture, but was played in Templeville the new home of the Emerald Warriors.
The back pitch was to be used as the first pitch had a Metro 2 fixture. There was no home advantage as both teams train there and have also played against each other throughout training sessions.
We welcomed back our captain Gary Masterson, and our recently retired prop Keith Gavaghan. Our line outs hadn’t gone well in the previous games but with these two lifters, and Steve Walkin returning at hooker, that all changed.
Before the game our coaches Mick Flats and Smudge, concentrated on the lineout and low and behold we had a 100% record during the match.
We started off with a high tempo, within minutes we nearly had our first try with a superb cross kick from out half Cal Grey to the corner only for our winger Mattie Ryan to miss the bounce by his finger tips and the ball found touch. We kept play there until our 2nd row David Dixon drove over the line for his first try of the evening, con by Cal 7-0 to us.
After the restart collected by Foxy we attacked again, the ball was moved to our ever impressive centre Eric Dunne who sprinted 20 yards to cross the line for our 2nd, con missed 12-0 to us.
Then man of the match David Dixon caught the kick off to great cheers from the sideline and again we swarmed towards their line, captain fantastic Gary Masterson did not crab his way to the line but ran straight at impressive speed, fending off two would be tacklers to secure our third try, con missed 17-0 to us. Our line outs were superb, with flanker Andrew Perkins dominating , he stole their ball and after great back play we rucked and drove to get Swoop Dixon over for his second. Con missed 22-0 to us. Half time.
It was great to see so many of the J4s there to support their club mates, and they were treated to a great display of rugby.
We had our newest member of the squad Billy Shanahan playing his first full game and he was well supported. It was a pity his fellow Kerry men Mike & Feargal could not have played also, but they will get there chance in the new year.
The second half began with the Emerald Warriors now beginning to get a foothold in the Mary’s Half, they eventually broke through our defenders to score. 22-7 to us, then Foxy was yellow carded for not rolling away after the tackle. The reason being he was temporally paralysed, by a stinger on the shoulder, but once the initial shock wore off he never felt as good. The bang had straightened him and he was a new man after that.
We were down to 14 men and the Warriors began to play rugby and scored 22-14 to us, game on. They had their heads up and would have scored again, if it wasn’t for the brace of brave tackles from our Italian winger Alessandro. When Foxy returned normal service returned. Cal Grey kicked a penalty to the corner. Short lineout. Training ground move called, excellent handling and Donnagh Ryan gave and pass to hooker Walkin who dived for the corner for a glorious try. 27-14 to us.
All the bench was on and biting at the bit to score. One more score was to be had and it fell to the brick house Dixon, to drive over for his hat trick. Final score 32-14.
A very enjoyable game to watch if you were a neutral. The Warriors are called that because the kept playing to the end and never gave up. They gave their large group of supporters something to cheer about as they improve every game. The also had their Christmas drinks party in the club house afterwards and invited us to join them for some curry. Total gentlemen and an honour to have them in our club.