04.04.2009 1st XV v Young Munster (A)
Young Munster RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
Tom Clifford Park
4th April 2009.
Manic melees and mad moments mixed with hard graft, all went to make up a win at the Killing Fields; always something to treasure. During the hour and a half there were more palpitations, drawn faces, wobbling legs and at the end exhausted bodies lying around; and these were just the supporters. This was a game played at panting pace, but was often without structure and both sides made multiple errors. In the first three minutes we had three knock-ons, a missed line out and conceded a punished penalty, on the other hand, at the end in injury time they had a simple penalty to win the game, from almost in front of goal, come back off the posts. It was one of those days. But who can complain when, often over the years, we have gone there with hopes high and come home heads hanging, saddened and empty, not so this time, we won and showed a lot of courage and ability in the winning. Anyone who had thought that we could go there, and they clawing and scraping for survival in the 1st division, and run up a big score were to be quickly disabused of the notion.
The Marys’ backs did look more potent than theirs, when given the opportunity and our forwards showed the heart for the battle. On a number of occasions in both halves we put together several series of high potency phases, one of which led to the try. They had a team of hard bold battlers too and they never stopped probing and pushing and trying to bully, as did their supporters. It was good to note our scrum once again was dominant and this gave Kevin Sheahan the opportunity to carry and carve which he did to good effect, his covering too was excellent, taking balls comfortably and he worked with panache from start to finish, he was my man of the match; his dad, Professor Sheahan, there supporting the team would have been well pleased with him. The rest of the back row gave of their mightiest too, with Paul Nash at the heart of the conflict, tackling and driving them back and carrying ball and Hugh Hogan doing likewise and adding a fine lineout dimension, which took on added importance when early in the second half Robin Copeland retired injured. The front five did their utmost too with contriturate intent. It was difficult for the backs to find space and gaps, but they were not short on effort or commitment. One area of considerable concern again this week was the kicking, particularly from the ground.
The first half started on a damp pitch after some heavy rain, but the sun shone and reflected memories of Kevin Potts and Steve Jameson and Babs and Mullers and Mickey the Fish and Kevin Devlin in hand to hand combat with the Clohessys and Edwards, Prendergasts and Earls, with the heavy heaving crowd with cloth caps, baying for blood and getting it. But that was of another era and now we kicked off with new and fresh fellows of equal worth and feelings, ready to jot their names in our history, and we hoped. Within three minutes our hopes were stalled as we conceded a penalty and they converted and it was 3 – 0, it was 12 minutes when they got another so it was 6 – 0. On fourteen minutes we got a chance with a penalty but missed but made amends on 23 minutes, and it was 6 – 3. It was high pace low space as we strove to build patterns and impose and then on 33 minutes after good spell of controlled phases Rob Sweeney took on the ball, then Hugh Hogan burst through the middle from half way and made it inside the 22, he managed to off load and Ruairi Murphy who made ground gave a kind ball to Conor Donohue, who is coming back to his best, he cut in sharp with power and grounded close in. We were ahead 6 – 8 having missed the conversion. There was a goodly band of Marys’ supporters led by our president Eoin Quinn and vice president Niall Rynne and they gave it their best with Marys – Marys – Marys and then it was half time and still 6 – 8; we did have an escape when they knocked on with a chance at the line.
After only two minutes of the second half we were penalised for coming in from the side, they converted and we were behind again 9 – 8. Try as we did we could not break them and they dug in and their crowd got behind them and they put on pressure and so the battle swayed one way, then the other. Mark Sexton came on for Ronan Doherty, with Conor Donohue moving to the wing, and he did well and on 25 minutes was heavily involved in a fine move which ended with their slapping down his pass which would have led to a try in great probability. Shaun Mc Carthy hit the ball well and it went over so we regained the lead at 9 – 11.
We had difficulty putting pressure on their lineouts when Robin Copeland went off with a severe dead leg, Louis Bourke replaced him and did very well, also Jack Mc Grath, back from his successful Irish U20s campaign replaced Ruairi Murphy. Precarious was the lead and even though we worked we could get nothing else, another knock on by them near our line after a defensive error gave us a let off, but nothing to the let off, when in injury time we were caught off side from the scrum, after an illegal dummy by the scrumhalf. The dry mouths, shaking legs and nauseous stomachs took over in the blue brigade as their 15 lined up his easy kick, he stepped up and stroked the ball it headed between the posts, but then veered slightly and hit the posts; we caught it on the rebound and cleared. We had won 9 – 11.
Afterwards there were shaking heads and relieved sighs but none the less happiness that we had got over this hard hurdle and are only four points behind the leaders with two games to go and still all to play for. Joe Fanagan along with JB Sweeney and Brian Corrigan were happy with the win as were the usual groups that made the trip. Pat and Eileen Nash were unfortunate to get a puncture on the way down and so missed the game. Spike and John Doddy Snr and Jr were there with Declan Coleman, John Lawlor and Fr Brian Mc Laughlin, Dr Dave Ryan had his gang with him, Jr Vice President Ronnie Mc Brien, Kevin Conboy and Frank Kennedy were also to the fore; John Ayling insisted on being marked present. Peter Smyth nervously awaiting the result of the match was also awaiting the result of his own match as he and Gillian are hoping for good news within the next few days and everyone wishes Gillian and him the very best.
Next Saturday we entertain UCD and we need a convincing win, heading in to the finale against Terenure the following week, and hopefully the play offs. This is again where you come in, which means you must come in and support your team.
Team, 15 B Lynn, 14 R Doherty (M Sexton), 13 P Brophy (Capt), 12 C Donohue, 11 D Fanning, 10 S Mc Carthy, 9 C Mc Phillips, 8 K Sheahan, 7 H Hogan, 6 P Nash, 5 R Copeland (L Bourke), 4 G Logan, 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 Richard Sweeney, 1 R Murphy (J Mc Grath).