15.11.2008 1st XV v Clontarf (H)
St. Mary’s College RFC V Clontarf FC
Saturday 15th November 2008
Leinster Senior League/Cup
No Rhythm for Blues, or Reds for that matter, this was a strange game, even a little bit like the later little tussle at Croke Park. Clontarf were not a good side and although we looked better throughout, this was not how it turned out on the score board. Both sides struggled to put together phases, there were multitudinous errors and even though a few players on both sides looked impressive the collective item was rough edged. Some of our players ended up injured, which adds to the worries for AIL and we ended up out of the LSC. Strange as it seems, early games before international matches ever seem to lack something.
On the positive side Shaun Mc Carthy, who for me was our man of the match, looked and played like a real quality number ten (although he did not have much success with penalty kicks), our scrum, with Chunky and Johnny Molloy propping, was strong and far superior to Tarf’s, Conor Mc Phillips (until he had to go off injured – repeat hamstring, for L Bourke to go to the wing D Fanning to 15 and B O’Flanagan to 7) and Nasher continued to give exemplary performances and Eoin Keane, back from new matrimonial duties and a half game with the J2s (which continues to be the form team in the J2 league), had a really sound game, when he came on for the injured Logie (calf strain). Keaner is an old style club man putting his team and colleagues ahead of himself, with bravery, skill, strength and determination. Most will remember he broke his neck a few seasons ago and how he still applies himself so fearlessly speaks for itself. Of course it must also be borne in mind that due to injuries and the dreaded A inter-provincial games we were without four forwards and several backs, although they too would have been without a number of players.
The first half was five minutes old when their young 10, Duffissey, chipped ahead and we failed to deal with it so Tarf regained possession and Mc Donald their fine 13 ended up beating the cover in the corner and it was 0 5 and ten minutes later they broke out when under pressure and a nice interchange saw Mc Donald again score far out and it was 0 – 10. We continued to press but were also making lots of little errors, however following a good scrum in their 22 and a drive by Matt Duggan, as ever working hard, the ball came back to Mc Carthy who went to go open switched to blind and neatly skipped through a gap between two players and scored under the posts, he tapped it over and it was 7 – 10. Fortunes swayed for the remainder of the half and it ended that way.
The second half started as the first had finished and we continued to scrap away and have most of the possession, their defence again being strong and secure, we did get a successful penalty on 18 minutes to bring the scores level and so it stayed until 38 minutes when at this stage we had enjoyed a period of several minutes attacking their line with some intent when a move broke down and their young flying winger, Keating, got the ball in his own 22 and sliced our cover, weaving his way the length of the field, to score a notable try; so a bit of “s(or)(auce)cery” effectively to spell the end for us in the cup. Our lads, to their credit, went furiously about trying, with might, to get back into it but it was not to be, the Tarf resolve stayed firm and their defence, although it creaked, it cracked not. It ended 10 – 17.
We have only a couple of games next weekend and no senior, J1, 2 or 3 games so our focus will be on two weeks’ time when we travel to Cork and Dolphin RFC in AIL. Meanwhile Peter Smyth and his lieutenants will be working full steam ahead, getting the squad ready in all respects. Everyone is watching anxiously for progress reports on club captain Phillip Brophy, doing a gait assessment tomorrow for his hamstring, on Gareth Logan’s calf strain, Conor Mc Phillip’s hamstring strain and on Matt D’Arcy’s rib cartilage, Rob Sweeney’s back strain, Barry O’Flanagan’s ankle ligaments injured over the weekend and Hugh Hogan’s thigh bruise. Next week Stephen Grissing faces his cruciate ligament repair operation and everyone in the club is wishing him well. It is good to report Barry Lynn’s continued rehabilitation as he has now played twice for the J1s, with a short run on 1sts and Rob Smyth twice for J2s.
Team: 15 C Mc Phillips (B O’Flanagan), 14 P Brophy (C Hogan), 13 M Sexton (B Lynn), 12 C Donohoe, 11 D Fanning, 10 S Mc Carthy, 9 M D’Arcy, 8 K Sheahan, 7 L Bourke, 6 P Nash, 5 F O’Sullivan, 4 G Logan (E Keane), 3 J Molloy (C Mc Mahon) 2 M Duggan (Richie Sweeney), 1 K Carroll.