07.03.2009 1st XV v Buccaneers (A)
Buccaneers RFC V ST Mary’s College RFC
Dubarry Park, Athlone,
7th March 2009.
Consistency and confidence are growing in the St Marys’ squad and this serves well any team with ambition. In Athlone the weather was foul and the pitch heavy but the team made reasonably light of it in the face of a strong and sturdy Buccs’ 15. Being less than 90 minutes away form Dublin many supporters travelled, including a somewhat smaller than usual bus contingent organised by Deirdre Grimson and Robin Bailey. Many of the parents were visible, or as in the case of the most popular Pat and Eileen Nash, detectable through cigar smoke signals, also there were, Eugene Brophy with John Collier, Michael Mc Inerney, Mary and Liam Grissing, Joyce Sweeney, Declan and Eileen Fanning and Michael and Kay Lynn, to name just some.
The pack has developed the necessary internal understanding, hardness and resilience to take on a bit of hand to hand combat and come out smiling. The backs too are becoming wiser and more assured and have a hard edge in the strike sector. Two well contrived tries, a conversion and three penalties might have been much more were the weather and conditions more congenial, however no one can be too unhappy. The defence was again impermeable and there were some notable performances, from the captain who is already right back to his best, Barry Lynn at full back who also kicked well and from Darragh Fanning who again put in a most industrious 80 minutes and had hard luck not to score, when just knocked out of play at the corner, the front row is getting that frightening appearance and performed with vim, the super backrow had Buccs under real pressure, with number eight Kevin Sheahan, steadying, carrying and tackling relentlessly; he was my man of the match. When playing against a strong wind in the first half we were inclined to squander possession by kicking possession away now and then but otherwise continuity and set plays were sound.
The first half was a close hard fought period, with the big Buccs’ pack holding the ball well, but due to our tough well marshalled defence, they made scant impression with line breaks. They did not use the strong wind well and so we had a considerable territorial advantage. Their back division looked a little acraciac and frequently ours more dulcifluous and potent. We did lose the ball sometimes and missed men outside but over all we were doing well. After 16 minutes they got a penalty and converted it and after another 17 minutes they were successful with another for obstruction in an offside position and we got a sinbinning; again they converted it to leave it 6 – 0. However, we got a penalty for not rolling away on 35 minutes and Barry Lynn took it nicely into the wind from a difficult position and put us within 3 points, they did put on a deal of pressure but we held out and at the break it was 6 – 3.
In the second half we started at a higher pace and looked confident, this way we continued throughout the remainder of the game. Shaun and Barry used the ball well making good use of the wind and gave us useful positions and our pack was making inroads with carry after carry. With twelve minutes gone this half, Barry made it 6 – 6 with a penalty and then Conor Mc Inerney who was encumbered with a thigh strain, took a fine ball from the lineout and it was moved nicely across the line, a smart pass by the in-form Mark Sexton gave Skipper, Phillip Brophy, a few centimetres space and he made good ground, then the ball was set up and when it came to Shaun he slid through a gap, skipped around a defender and scampered over the line to score a fine try. Barry converted and we were ahead for the first time. It was 6 – 13. Soon afterwards Barry was successful with a long range penalty and we were now 6 – 16 up and looking good. Then on 34 minutes after a sustained period of pressure we put on their line, Buccs broke out and made it close to our line, when tackled into touch, the ensuing lineout saw Conor Mc Phillips come around the front and make a neat break out, Louis Bourke now on for Conor Mc Inerney (with Paul Nash going to second row with the hard working Gareth Logan), backed up well took the ball and hummed down the line well into Buccs’ half, he gave the ball inside to Mattie Duggan (just on as prop with David Kilbride on as hooker and Richie Sweeney moving to the backrow and H Hogan going into the centre) and a ruck ensued, the ball came out through hands and Craig Morrin (he had an auspicious debut and made one excellent break), on for the unfortunately earlier injured Conor Donohue, timed his pass well to the looping Phillip Brophy who went over in the corner. Barry had no luck with the conversion but we were in the clear and cantered home worthy winners. 6 – 21 and all on the bench had got reasonable opportunities.
Afterwards the supporters were very cold but equally happy and had showed it right through the game, even Dr Michael Farrell was happy with the referee and Spike, now chatting to the Doddy and Coleman clans was seen to be warming up his hands for the piano later on, while Niall Cogley was noted flexing his guitar fingers, needless to say Rynner had his voice well tuned up from match time. Hon Secretary, John Cunningham and Hon Treasurer, Liam Byrne, were found discussing some esoteric scientific data and Dave Donohue and Mullers were seen leaving in appraising conversation, while in the club house after the anthem was sung and tumblers of hot fluids grasped, it was very good to meet again Mick Stapleton, a former back row player of the sixties with Marys and Colonel Terry O’Neill the great Mary’s and Connaught prop (and still close friend of Sean Lynch) of the early sixties and although also a Buccs’ man still a loyal supporter of Marys. Needless to say Peter, Pottsy, Shaun, Terry, Ian and Dave were contented and Quinner, the president, was brimming with joy and hope and looking forward to a nice cup of cocoa and an early night.
Team: - 15 B Lynn, 14 R Doherty [C Donohue 55 (C Morrin 70)], 13 P Brophy (Capt), 12 M Sexton (D Kilbride70), 11 D Fanning, 10 S Mc Carthy, 9 C Mc Phillips, 8 K Sheahan, 7 H Hogan, 6 P Nash, 5 C Mc Inerney (L Bourke 65), 4 G Logan, 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 Richie Sweeney, 1 R Murphy (M Duggan70).