28.03.2009 1st XV v Galwegians (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Galwegians RFC
March 28th 2009.
St Marys had simply too much punch, power and pace for Galwegians and played with spirit and skill, all of which was clearly defined by the score line. Two influential players, Conor Mc Inerney, unavailable with a knee injury, and Robert (Chops) Sweeney having been suffering with flu all week withdrew before the game. Robin Copeland again stood in ably for Conor and Kevin (Chunky) Carroll came in for Robert and did admirably against a vaunted scrum. Just before kick off, Simon Gibney, who had been looking highly impressive in training, failed a fitness test for a muscle injury. This necessitated a team shuffle, allowing Conor Mc Phillips to move to scrumhalf. Pace and variation were the keys to success and the team all raised the overall intensity of their play. This ensured some first-rate performances by both backs and forwards and good to relate every one of the players did their part in this important bonus point win. Out wide, both wings did well with Ronan Doherty looking hungry for work and, as in every game this season, Darragh Fanning was tremendous, covering, rucking and running with confidence and penetration. Barry Lynn had a strong game in all respects and the mid field and half back pairs were up to the same high level of competence. The forwards contributed equally to the success with the backrow striving diligently, the front row too worked all game as did the 2nd row where Large Logie led and laboured with grit and power from start to finish and was my man of the match. The scrums were usually sound, the line outs did falter on a few occasions but it was in the loose where Marys reaped the greatest rewards winning ball, out rucking and out running the opposition. There was healthy spatial appreciation and greatly improved off loading and ground command. But most significantly the ball was retained to good effect and only kicked when it was judiciously necessary.
From the kick off it looked as though we could be in for a fright as Galwegians ran the ball with vigour and intent and indeed for the first ten minutes had most of the possession. After 6 minutes they converted a penalty, conceded for off side at the ruck, and led 0- 3. However we engaged seriously then and on 12 minutes Logie made powerful progress, Chunky took it on and then the ball came out to Nasher who, taking a fine line, cut though and gave a good ball to Conor Donohue out wide, he did very well as he cut in hard between two defenders then through a third tackle and made it over the line. It was 5 – 3. We continued to attack at all opportunities and eschewed kicks at goal, wisely going for tries. On 25 minutes we were rewarded, as Chunky again took on ball and from a ruck, it came to Shaun who weighted a lovely reverse pass to skipper Broph coming in at an acute angle, and he sliced in; Barry Lynn added the points and it was 12 – 3. Then on 38 minutes Barry Lynn fielded a high ball in his own half, gave it to Hugh Hogan who ran hard and straight, right through the centre and when a ruck formed Nasher won the ball and it came to Shaun Mc Carthy, who was enjoying the firm under foot conditions and running game, he dummied and swerved through two tacklers and went in under the posts. Barry converted and it now read 19 – 3 and so it was at half time.
For the first five minutes of the half Galwegians, as at the start of the first half, were prominent and running the ball, however we won possession and then raised the pace again. It was a 6 minutes old half, when Logie put a shunting tackle on their 8, dislodging ball and winning possession, Richie Sweeney was on hand and from inside his own ten metre line he ran, through a gap and beat the second line defence, then put on the turbo drive and went for the line with a stream of followers; he made it the whole way and it was our bonus point try. Delight spread through the home letabund crowd, as Barry made it 26 – 3. We did drop our concentration and intensity a little for a while after that and they got up near our line and forced their way over for a converted try to make the score 26 – 10 with ten minutes of the half gone. Marys refocused and soon were in control again. It was 29 minutes when Darragh got the ball and powered through the Galwegians defence and when covered at the 22 he laid of the ball beautifully for Mark Sexton, now on for Ronan, and he ran hard and well for the line, and, with the convert missed, it became 31 – 10. Thirty six minutes had passed when a good ruck on Galwegians line gave the ball to Shaun and he sent a massive pass, 20 metres to Stephen Keogh, on in the second half for Robin, and he galloped over, so adding to the score and to his very useful contribution. After the conversion it was 38 – 10. As might be expected the concentration dropped a little and they broke our line on our 22 and ran in for a converted try on 40 minutes and so it ended 38 – 17. A job well done and a needed bonus point earned.
The lunch and beyond
Galwegians are a gregarious group and good company and so the pre-lunch gathering, the lunch and the post match chats were enjoyable and relaxed. David Mowlds and Jack Ebbs marshalled the diners well, as they do for all the lunches, as they organise and arrange the entire occasion. John Cunningham, Hon Sec, was particularly happy and welcoming to all, having returned from Wales where, with son (Lion) Vincent, he had attended the grand slam game. He was one of few (if any) other club members who had attended both this and the previous one too, 61 years ago. When President Eoin Quinn rose after the lunch to welcome Galwegians president, Mick Casserly and his colleagues, he was in superb form with anecdotes and even a little gentle “slagging” for his friend Victor O’Connor. He was particularly happy to announce that our John Hussey is most deservedly nominated to become the IRFU Jr Vice President next season and is expected therefore be our first president in three seasons' time (2011-12). He gave a résumé of John’s achievements in the club, including being president in 1988-89, in Leinster Branch, of which he was also president and IRFU, there being Magners league chairman and ending up as chairman of the IRFU management committee for the past eight years. Eoin said how proud and happy he and all at the club are for John and for the club itself; it is a signal honour.
Eoin mentioned some players who had played for both clubs such as Jim Murray (away on tour at present), Mick Stapleton, Mick Tarpey, Noel Mc Carthy, Mick Quaid and Conor Mc Phillips (back playing today with Marys). He thanked the main sponsors Investec and Michael Cullen, there present, also Paul Dean and Topline the gear sponsors and several who had taken tables such as Michael Fanagan Aspects Systems, past president, Brendan Spring who attends most games and takes a table for family and friends a couple of times per season, Eoin also made special reference to Steven Hennessy, there with many of his special friends (Barney sneaked in) and family, including son Gareth who was 18 today, Steven frequently takes a table. Quinner told how Steven had so successfully played for and captained and coached St Marys, particularly when he came in to coach the team to promotion after we dropped to 2nd division for a season in 2004, he now coaches the Ireland Women’s team (with best finish ever this season,). The president took the opportunity to thank those who make the AIL days possible, such as Marie Hammond who takes the bookings, gate minder Tom Brace, car minder Noel Keegan and groundsman Frank Doyle; also bar staff under Patsy Fogarty and Vinny Hanlon Caterers. He also mentioned the successful J1 team, many of whom were present, with manager and assistant coach Patrick Crawford. A J4 double winning team of yesteryears, led by Frank Kennedy, was also there in anniversarial revelry. Mick Casserly replied and said how much Galwegians enjoyed meeting with St Marys and wished both teams the best for the game. The president then introduced Liam Birkett, past president and raconteur, who gave an amusing little address which was appreciated by all present.
At the game it was good to see Marys’ men coming to support their team, long time member Peter Prendeville who attends most games was there in spite of being under treatment again for a serious illness, also Gregory Mc Cambridge was there as was Barry O’Sullivan, Louis Mc Mullan and Maurice Hogan all among other usual attendees such as Paul Sheeran, Jimmy and Pamela Smyth, Dan Coveny, Greg Murphy, the Carvill family, Barney Moran, and Fr John Flavin, patron of the club and affable Fr Jimmy Mc Nulty.
After the game, Dr David Ryan was on duty, and as ever in the most helpful and affable way, attended the bruised and sore players with the aid of physiotherapist Jane Fogarty. After the hard pitch there were plenty of those bruised bodies, but no added serious casualties and the players were very happy; as were Peter Smyth, Ciaran Potts, Shaun Mc Carthy; and Terry Tierney and his team of helpers were also well pleased; the game plan was perfect as was the result. Now we have a really difficult one to come, back down to the killing fields of Young Munster and Limerick next Saturday and we really need your full attention in attendance. Keith will inform you of the arrangements, in case you wish to go by coach.
15 B Lynn, 14 R Doherty (M Sexton), 13 P Brophy (Capt), 12 C Donohue , 11 D Fanning, 10 S Mc Carthy, 9 C Mc Phillips, 8 K Sheahan, 7 H Hogan, 6 P Nash, 5 R Copeland (S Keogh), 4 G Logan, 3 R Murphy, 2 Richie Sweeney, 1 K Carroll (D Kilbride)