11.04.2009 1st XV v UCD (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V UCD RFC
11th April 2009.
Q. What is a fright?
A. A fright is when you have scored four tries, secured the bonus point, and are leading comfortably by 24 points to 5 with around 15 minutes to go, the opposition score two tries and then on full time, with two of your men in the sin bin, you see the opposition backs at full tilt (minus the lance) and with an overlap ten metres from your line; luckily they make a mess of it and you hear a collective whewwwwwww. That is a fright.
Today we played well, the game was like those we might have played against UCD in the 60s or 70s, more full of free-flow than the Garda at Christmas time. It was entertaining and of high quality and it has to be said that the better team by a distance won and looked comfortable, up to having very harshly lost two to the sin bin. The changed line up of the three quarters worked well, especially for Conor Mc Phillips who looked more comfortable and potent at 13 and scored two tries in a fine game and captain Phillip Brophy who did well at scrum half and will have been particularly pleased with his captain’s performance. While on backline performances, Conor Donohue has to be mentioned for he had an outstanding game, contributing markedly for two tries, making ground almost every time he got the ball and covering territory, often vitally; and he was my man of the match. It must be stressed however that this was really a fine team effort, all the backs doing well and with the pack working effectively, especially once more the backrow of Nash, Hogan and Sheahan. Our lineouts again gave a few problems and we did not clean out the rucks with the usually reckless ferocity. However all associated will be happy and given any kind of decent luck should see us proceed to the play-offs. This result and the relevant others leave three teams with 47 points and two of these play each other, ruling out progress for one of them, then the next three, including the good guys, are on 46 points so if we can get a bonus point win and one of these drops a point we are there; or of course if any one of those lose they are gone. In the event of each fetching a bonus point win, then points differences will count and we are now 17 points adrift of Clontarf who are on 5th spot.
The 1st half commenced on a lovely day with all the spectators cheered by the sun’s apricity, we played against the wind and hill, which irrationally, many members feel suits us best and indeed we looked a little bit more composed at the start, than on recent games. The game was not long on when Ruairi Murphy was most unfortunate to get injured having taken on ball very well, he was replaced by Jack Mc Grath who had a superb game. However, after setting up several promising attacks, which UCD repelled and starting to look comfortable, after 14 minutes they ran the ball from a scrum near half way and their impressive fullback Reid came in at pace and ran through our mid field and scored an unconverted try to give us the spur in the ribs, and indeed it seemed as though we were being almost sardonian, for after 13 more minutes, Conor Donohue ran the ball back at them, made good ground, gave the ball to Large Logie who was humming along all game and he burst through with great intent, he made more metreage before giving it to Nasher who slipped it delicately to Conor Mc Phillips who glided in and it was 7 – 5 after Shaun’s conversion. We kept up the almost frantic pace and within a minutes Logie took well and then Hugh Hogan, probably the most consistently high quality performer all season, made progress, passed on to Shiner, he used his power and pace, then it came back out to Shaun who was obviously enjoying the dry firm conditions and he slipped two tacklers and danced through to score; and it was 12 – 5. The game to-ed and fro-ed with abandon, then on 43 minutes they kicked ahead and Conor Donohoe ran back hard at them making very positive ground, he was tackled but got the ball back from the ruck, it came out to Mark Sexton who put in a lovely diagonal dropper and Ronan surged on to the attempted clearance by Aherne and blocked it down over the line, Mark following up fast did the rest, pounced and it was 17 – 5 and half time.
The 2nd half saw a few changes during its course, with Louis Bourke coming on for Robin Copeland (and a positional switch of Nasher to second row), Barry Lynn also came on for Ronan Doherty (he went to 10 and Shaun went to 15 and Darragh moved up), late in the game David Kilbride came on for Richie Sweeney. The half was only four minutes in gear when Conor Donohue made a nice break and when he was caught the ball was quickly rucked back and Conor Mc Phillips stepped and used his super celerity to shake off tacklers and leave all grasping as he zoomed in under the posts and Shaun converted, now it was 24 – 5 and we were cruising. We continued to play well and forced them back but on 17 minutes they got a breakaway converted try against the run of play and it was 24 – 12; then ten minutes later they forced their way over for another as understandably we had dropped our pace a little, so it closed to 24 – 17. Having lost two players to the sin bin it became almost chaotic for the last ten minutes and as mentioned earlier we could have been squeezed to a draw late on. None the less it was a commendable win for a spirited and skilled team, which is coming into its best and is a credit to the club.
Off field it was also an important day as it was our last home AIL game and last lunch for the season so there was an added animation about and you could sense that Eoin Quinn was feeling the nostalgia and excitement, Arthur Costello was in great form as were most of the attendees, Fr Flavin was smiling benignly and John Cunningham had a touch (now only a slight touch) of humour as he introduced the speakers at the lunch. The UCD guests were good company and the close friendship that exists between the two clubs was apparent. Unfortunately although invited by the president Eddie Thornton could not be there nor could Finbarr Costello. President Quinn welcomed UCD and particularly their president, Tom Kavanagh, with whom he has formed a close friendship over the season. He mentioned many of the great players who played for both UCD and Marys, many of which had also been pupils at St Marys College.
Quinner then thanked the sponsors especially our main and loyal sponsors Investec and also Umbro and Aspects Systems and explained how vital they are to our club’s success. He especially thanked his close friends Dermot Ferris, Paul Murphy and Niall Cogley who had done a lot of work for the club this year and responded so well to his request to get involved. He paid a charming and deserved tribute to his wife Kathy for her understanding and wonderful support all year. He made particular mention of Frank Kennedy who had been Eoin’s president when he was vice president. He also gave special thanks to Niall Rynne, his vice president and close personal friend, for his invaluable help. He explained how Marie Hammond played a crucial role in the running of the club including the lunches and thanked her strongly and warmly. He also thanked David Mowlds and Jack Ebbs for their priceless roles in running the lunches. He paid fulsome praise and thanks to all involved in rugby at all levels (where he himself has been extraordinarily supportive and interested over the season), particularly the senior coaching group Peter Smyth, Ciaran Potts and Shaun Mc Carthy, the management of Terry Tierney, Ian Grimson and David Lyons Jr. He also remembered Patsy Fogarty and his bar staff, Tom Brace who looks after the gate, Noel Keegan who sees that the cars are safely parked and the groundsman Frank Doyle.
Tom Kavanagh gave a very witty reply in a relaxing style. He had Michael Mc Inerney as his guest and it was nice to see a table with several parents of the players, such as Mr and Mrs Pat and Eileen Nash (and Eileen’s sister), Professor and Mrs Sheahan, Mr Greg Murphy, John Kilbride (brother of David), present The guests all seemed to appreciate the speakers and the atmosphere, including the class of 1971, there to have some fun, as were Darragh Coleman and Dave Mc Enroe and Dave’s look alike Keith Mc Carthy (off for a well earned holiday this week)
Now we have our big game next week against our great rivals, Terenure and although they are already relegated, they will be a formidable challenge and if we allow them a hint of a chance we will pay the price, you know what a blue jersey does to them. However our unit this season is a special one and players never stop working for each other and for us from kick off to exhilaration time, we ardently hope and wait. If anyone has spare tranquilizers let us know.
Team:- 15 D Fanning, 14 C Donohoe, 13 C Mc Phillips, 12 M Sexton, 11 R Doherty (B Lynn), 10 S Mc Carthy, 9 P Brophy (Capt), 8 K Sheahan, 7 H Hogan, 6 P Nash, 5 R Copeland, 4 G Logan, 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 Richard Sweeney (D Kilbride) 1 R Murphy (J Mc Grath)