18.10.2008 1st XV v Clontarf (A)
Clontarf FC 30 V St Mary’s College RFC 19
Castle Avenue 18th October 2008
One swallow does not make a summer. nor one loss, a swallow; only a hiccup. Yes it is disappointing but there is much to look forward to and enjoy. The best has yet to come! Make no mistake Clontarf have a good strong side and with contracted players like Jowitt and especially Sean O’Brien, who was superb at 7, available to them it was always going to be difficult, add to that the loss of Paul Nash and Mark Sexton relatively early in the game, both with head injuries, it was just that bit too far to go and thoughts of failure were almost ineluctable. In addition we had already had the disastrous loss of star centre Stephen Grissing last week, out for the season with cruciate ligament damage, also Kevin Sheahan and Ronan Doherty still injured and also the temporary loss of captain Philip Brophy. These losses meant the backline was not as balanced as previously. It was good to note a big improvement in the scrum and overall we showed we could compete and indeed near the end we were in the ascendency and scored two nice tries, with a bit of luck we could have scored the fourth and bonus point try. It must be admitted that our discipline was not always as it should have been and we lost concentration for periods of the game. It was heartening to see Conor Hogan, Louis Bourke and Simon Gibney do so well when they came on, Hugh Hogan had another good game, Conor Mc Phillips had a strong second half and Mattie Duggan never stopped working all game.
Concerning the social side, rugby clubs have developed that lovely aspect of life, giving and taking and with genuine sportsmanship and once again we were welcomed in a munificent and enjoyable fashion by president John Dinan and he and our president, Eoin Quinn, swapped complimentary anecdotes and ties. Quinner also received some connoisseurial Clontarf whiskey, while he offered John some tempting Templeville treacle in return. The lunch was excellent and we all ate to an elegant sufficiency and enjoyed the conviviality. With the Leinster-Wasps game set for 5.30 PM it was never going to be possible to have a more than the briefest of chats afterwards; maybe as well with the way we felt as it turned out.
We started the first half well, competing strongly. With the first clashes there were lots of North-South Bodies lying around and the game was on. Five minutes had passed and we won a ball it went right to left to Conor Donohue, playing 11 and he beat two men, then from the ruck Paddy Brophy got the ball and danced his way at pace to the line and scored in the corner and we were 0- 5. Could we ask for a better start? Hardly. For the next 15 minutes it was give and take and the commitment from both sides was frictional. Then a Marys’ lineout failure gave them an opportunity to run the ball across the line and beat the cover in the corner, so it was 5 – 5. Ten minutes later we were battling our way out of defence when a reflex play of the ball in an offside position gave them the chance to make it 8 – 5 and five minutes later Nasher and Mark Sexton had to go off after a clash of heads. .Louis Bourke and Conor Hogan came on. Conor Donohue moved to 12 to accommodate Hogie out wide. Just on 40 minutes a missed penalty to touch gave Clontarf a chance to run back at us and after some fine inter-passing Wickham scored far out and it was 13 – 5.
The second half started as it ended with some high tempo rucking and picking and after 7 minutes they got another penalty to bring the score to 16 – 5 and then we lost Logie to the sin bin. Richie Sweeney came on for Barry O’Flanagan. .Obviously it was tough then and we conceded a converted try on 15 minutes and another on 22 minutes with the score now registering a lopsided 30 – 5 ugh! We got the prod in the backside we needed and we started working hard, getting more ball and running it well. Simon Gibney came on and he enjoyed these high speed sorties. With watches showing 39 minutes we had a period of sustained pressure and Shaun Mc Carthy took the ball, camouflaged it and slipped it inside to Conor D hurtling in at the angle, he scored under the post and it was 30 – 12 and having continued the assault, on 42 minutes, Darragh Fanning, trying hard all afternoon and having gone close twice, got the ball from the hard working Louis Bourke and burst in at the corner for his just reward. It was 30 – 19 and a little less ugh.
Don’t forget we play Clontarf again on 15th November in LSC and Cork Con twice in a row (AIL and AIB Cup) starting next Saturday. You may be fed up with my cajolery but I must, more than ever, ask you to come along next Saturday to Templeville Road (no, not for the Templeville Treacle, silly) for our next big AIL game V Cork Con. Please come and show your support for and belief in Smythy’s boys. Especially as they (Cork Con) were beaten by YM at home at Temple hill at the weekend, so they will be seething and we badly need your support to soften their seethe. Just get in behind Rynner, as you did before and when he unleashes his self contained PA system with Marys…..MARYS, MARYS, MARYS, let it rip. The team is good enough, are you?
Team 15 D Fanning, 14 P Brophy, 13 C Mc Phillips, 12 M Sexton (C Hogan), 11 C Donohue, 10 S Mc Carthy, 9 M D’Arcy (S Gibney), 8 H Hogan, 7 B O’Flanagan (R Sweeney), 6 P Nash (L Bourke), 5 C Mc Inerney, 4 G Logan, 3 R Murphy, 2 M Duggan, 1 Rob Sweeney (Capt) (C Mc Mahon).