18.04.2009 1st XV v Terenure (A)
Terenure College RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
Saturday 18th April 2009.
The last Post
Overall and Round up
Magnificent could be the only way to describe the efforts of everyone on the St Marys side today and heartbreaking the only way to describe the outcome due to events elsewhere. St Marys pulverised a very lively, but limited Terenure team. After what was a stunning win, when we should have been enjoying the fine marquee, good friendship, banter etc. many felt deflated and sad to see a team which could have been champions miss out on points’ difference. But it was a highly successful season and all should celebrate a marvellous and still developing team and the coaching and management squads that have much to do with those facts. The future is very promising for this squad. The support from Marys was excellent also and recent great Mary’s men like Dennis Hickie Jr and Kevin Potts were to the fore in that support today.
The game. For the first ten minutes or so it looked as though we might have a task on hand, especially when a blocked kick through led to their pressing our line and a scrum gave them a blindside break to put them 5 – 0 after 7 minutes. But the response was immediate and there were a couple of very close efforts before Ronan Doherty scored on 28 minutes and a brilliant solo run by Ronan doubled our score within a minute and then after sustained pressure Louis Bourke scored wide out, when Phillip Brophy switched the attack that way. The half ended with a Mc Allister penalty on 44 minutes. By this time we were looking to be in total command, our scrum was strong, the lineout far better than recently and the rucking was sharp and effective, so we had complete ground control and we were running lovely lines from all over the field with almost bewildering effects on Nure.
The second half became a race against time as we piled on the tries with Darragh Fanning causing them all kinds of problems, willingly supported by Shaun, Conor Donohoe, the backrow and Robin Copeland. The heavy weights of the pack were grinding out metres and bursting through frequently. Darragh, an equal to most professional wingers and man of the match, without doubt, scored two beautiful tries (18 and 35 mins) and was joy to watch, with Conor Donohoe not far behind and he scored two tries also (28 and 30 mins). Robin had a try on 20 minutes and Craig Morrin who was very impressive when introduced had one (24 mins). Jack Mc Grath scored on 32 minutes and Barry Lynn finished it off on 45 minutes with a great individual try which he converted. Phillip Brophy had converted earlier with a drop kick. Mc Allister did get another penalty on 18 minutes and so it ended 11 – 59.
The Players Today, and earlier noted ever more as the season progressed the front row was top class, especially in the loose with Robert and Richard Sweeney complementing each other with hard graft on the ground and courageous ball carrying, they both have also shown strong leadership qualities and they will be very happy with their season, as no doubt will be JB and Joyce, ever there to support. Young Jack Mc Grath is a mighty man, still under 19 and he has the size strength ability and heart of a Hayes, he is going just one way and that is to the top; today he was highly effective in the tight and the loose. In the second row today, as he has done this season more than any other, Gareth Logan was the heart of the pack as he ran his powerful frame continually against rucks and player knots, scattering those in front of him and shifting rucks like a runaway JCB. Robin Copeland has come of age over the past few weeks, having to fill highest quality boots and yesterday he showed his athleticism and spirit, he runs and leaps like an antelope and has a wonderful side step and he kept his engine going for the entire game. The backrow has been the backbone of the team all year, with it very hard to separate any of the three on display. Again today it was so, however, Hugh Hogan, a strong leader and captain of the Irish club international side, who was at 8 today with another highly charged and intelligent performance, probably has had the most consistently high quality input over the entire season. He was to be seen every where an 8 should be, doing what an 8 should do. Kevin Sheahan is another of the modern high quality players, doing everything asked and more with ease, and today his contribution was massive in every way. Up with the best was Louis Bourke, another filling in highest quality boots, he, like Robin, is a consummate athlete and he worked wonderfully well in lineout, on the ground and in support. It is difficult to overstate the value of a masterful captain and Phillip Brophy is just that, today he never stopped working, driving on his pack, supporting his backs and leading from the front, he tackled rucked and ran until he almost dropped and still went on. He has been a truly great captain, on and off the field, all season, he was also in the Irish club international side and although he had the captain’s curse and was out for a considerable period of the season he contributed greatly even during that time; over the season he has played as 15, 12 13, and 9 and contributed handsomely in each case; his team and the club are indebted to him. Shaun Mc Carthy, this wild colonial boy, has been a great success as player and coach, and recently he has found the underfoot conditions to his liking and has been excellent, with good decision making, snappy passing and lovely running skills, today he was in great form and made a major contribution to continuity and distribution. He has brought new slants and ideas and freshened many aspects. Mark Sexton is another versatile player with fine distributive hands, he has a good eye for a gap and today he kept the pressure on all game and worked hard, his partner in the centre Conor Mc Phillips was another who today never stopped working and also kept the Terenure defence under pressure, he too has played at 9, 13, 14 and 15 and is an exemplary player who helps all around him, both on and off the field. It was great that he came back to us he has made a very significant contribution. Ronan Doherty is full of unpredictable talent and has lots of pace and determination, today he got two tries, one of them a bewitching solo run from well inside his own half, he will have enjoyed his season. A new comer this season is Conor Donohoe and how lucky we were that he came to us, now a true blue he has been a success from the start, he is probably best at 12 where he takes clever angles and lines and has a centre of gravity that makes him like a torpedo and as hard to stop. On the wing today he never stopped looking for work. Darragh Fanning has been almost sensational all season, he puts the fear hell up the opposition whatever team he plays, he is big, strong, fearless and fast. His confidence has grown as the season progressed and he has been outstanding in almost every match since Christmas and has made a telling contribution to the team over the year and again yesterday, while playing at 15 rather than his more accustomed 11. I think he was every ones’ man of the match. He has a really big rugby future. David Kilbride came on in the second half and needless to say he made a fine contribution, this lad like fellow replacements Kevin Carroll, and Fergus O’Sullivan today, are all exemplary players, their attitude on and off the pitch is brave, honest and totally committed, they work without complaint or moan they are an indispensable part of the squad and can be proud of their contributions. Another young man who came on today and who has improved immeasurably over the season to be a strong contender for a place is Craig Morrin, he was hungry, running back ball hard, looking for work and he scored a fine try having been intimately involved in another. Barry Lynn has been at the club for a number of years now and he is another club man of great importance, he has contributed nobly to the club including a season as captain (blemished by injury) and today he was so totally committed when he came on it was almost decreed that he would do something special and he did; he scored a top class try in injury time and converted it as the last throw of the die.
Poor Nasher (Paul Nash), the soul of the pack, he failed a fitness test just before kick off, consoling himself with a next Saturday semi-final game. Sadly that was not to be and he has done so much for the team in playing, leading and in emotional terms it was really a tragedy for him. He does not know the meanings of no or can’t and he will be waiting for next season to take up where he left off. Ruairi Murphy, injured early in last week’s game, a young man who came to Marys this year and he did find it hard to acclimatise for a little while, but when he did, he made a highly significant contribution in many ways as a loose head and we wait to see even more from him in the future. He certainly would be in contention for the most improved player of the year. Conor Mc Inerney, out for the past four weeks he was an almost irreplaceable loss. Conor is quality and quantity of the highest order, athletic and strong; he was one of the great players in this top class squad this year and is equally impressive at 6 or 5. He is highly regarded in Leinster and it can easily be seen why. The now departed to Doncaster, Matthew D’Arcy, was a major influence during his time here this year and we owe him a lot, he is a top class player and all at the club were delighted for him to get the opportunity; he deserves to make progress in the professional ranks. Stephen Grissing, so nearly back now from a serious cruciate ligament injury and a later operation, he was electric when playing and would undoubtedly been a star during the campaign. The only good thing is that he will be fully fit and straining to get going come September. Another who was very unlucky was Simon Gibney; he was in top shape before getting a leg injury at the last run in, which kept him out. Simon is a leader and a super player and great reader of the game; let us hope he will be okay for next season when he could have strong influence. Needless to say Jonathan Sexton would have been a major influence in every way, including his kicking, had he been more available, however he has been most supportive all season. Several others including up and coming flanker Barry O’Flanagan, most promising Conor Hogan, Stephen Keogh, Matt Duggan, Paddy Brophy, Rob Hudson, Ross Condren, Eoin Mc Cormack, Eoin Keane, Colm Mc Mahon and Vesi Rauluni all made contributions and most we will see more actively involved in the future, as others on the fringes like young Ray Crotty, Darren Hudson, Ian O’Neill and Ger Prunty, all highly rated, will come to the fore over the next couple of seasons. A big well done and thank you to all of these fine players.
Coaches and Management etc.
Although often mentioned during the season, due tribute must now be made to this singularly talented and dedicated group. It was remarkable from the start how they all worked so well together and, along with the captain, they gelled perfectly and inspirationally with the players getting the best from them, lifting when needed, re-focusing when called for or liberating them when appropriate. There can hardly if ever have been a more harmonious group and that is why there was such a response from such a fledgling squad. Peter Smyth is not only a very nice young man but has all of the coaching qualities to be the best and an added work ethic and attention to detail which make the difference in a tight corner. Ciaran Potts is a natural and well qualified coach, he has the most pleasant of natures and he sees and recognises ability and weaknesses and works supportively to emblazon or correct in a patient and quiet manner, if he choses to, he can make an indelible mark on coaching at a very high level. Shaun Mc Carthy has been mentioned earlier in this report but again it has to be stressed how he fitted in and worked to do this, bringing innovation in a good humoured and effective manner, a great success.
Probably the most underestimated group in rugby is usually the management team as they do the hard, vital, often unseen work in a quiet unobtrusive manner; they can also play a vital role in rugby matters. Nothing could be truer in this case, Terry Tierney is a gem, he has the maturity to understand needs of all types without being asked and has the organisational work done before it is realised necessary. He was always there to talk and explain to players and coaches any problem or need and was rightly admired and respected by both groups. The club is fortunate that he, with his colleagues, are remaining in situ for next season; and those colleagues Ian Grimson and Dave Lyons Jr are almost clones of Terry in action and have been top class in every way, they also are much appreciated by all involved.
The physio and gym group has also proved also to be superb with Will Heffernan showing a wide range of skills in many areas including gym affairs, massage, minor injury management and entertainment; we could not do without him. Everyone in the club knows the tireless work that Davy (Dougal) Lyons does in his quiet efficient manner; he is a font of knowledge on rugby injuries and is selfless with his time and advice. This year he was ably supported and his work augmented by Jane Fogarty, who gave generously of her time and expertise. Of course she would not be any different than her father Dr Ossie who oversaw the medical rota and freely and most generously got many a player back to fitness with his direction and help. His colleagues on those rota too, gave a wonderful free service to our club all season.
Finally a word on the President and his committee who gave ensured it could all happen. The club was more than fortunate when it selected Eoin Quinn to be president; he has been a wonderful help and crutch when needed for all involved in rugby and ensured a smooth running organisation.
So it is the last post.
Team 15, D Fanning, 14 C Donohue, 13 C Mc Phillips, 12 M Sexton (B Lynn), 11 R Doherty (C Morrin), 10 S Mc Carthy, 9 P Brophy (Capt) 8 H Hogan, 7 L Bourke (D Kilbride), 6 K Sheahan, 5 R Copeland, 4 G Logan (F O’Sullivan), 3 J Mc Grath, 2 Richard Sweeney, 1 Robert Sweeney.