14.11.2009 1st XV v UL Bohemians (A)
UL Bohemians RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1 A
Saturday 14th November 2009.
The second visit for us to Thomond Park and our last of four visits to Limerick this season; We were expecting high winds, heavy rain and a really tough match we got light winds and bright sunshine and we got, yes a tough match, but a really most exciting, sporting and skilful match between two quality teams. It has to be admitted that UL just deserved their win and their attractive almost irreverent approach had to be admired. The dreadfully sad news of baby Peter’s death made a sombre situation for all St Marys players and supporters and the respectful minute’s silence was heart rending. Everyone can feel acutely the unspeakable pain of Peter, Gillian and their families.
With all these visits to Limerick, some claimed they could discern a slight Munster intonation creeping into our lads’ accents and, be that as it may, the UL president Ted Mulcahy and his committee gave our president and cohort a most cordial welcome and top class hospitality and Rynner was heard to comment that we had played more games in Thomond Park than either Shannon or UL Bohs this season so far.
The game was one of non stop action, both teams contributing to high tempo skill and endeavour. They ran vivid lines, had excellent hands and quick support play making for a enjoyable game to watch; there were however a few periods when both teams engaged in modern kicking warfare, there, Gavin Dunne was secure and controlled and did well all round. The game could have gone either way right to the end which added to the entertainment and the nervous tension. We were not quite at our sharpest today. They have the edge in the scrum and at breakdown but we were strong in the lineout and set moves. Robin Copeland and Darragh Fanning gave splendid performances, with high skill levels, both scoring tries and continually putting heavy pressure on the UL Bohs’ defence. Some eccentric and effective running from atypical situations and some clever work in the loose just made Robin my choice as man of the match.
As indicated the game started at a high pulse rate and both teams tried to run the ball, on 11 minutes after a number of phases UL broke our defence and scored a good try, which impressive fly half Fergal Lawlor, converted from far out. We responded with accelerated urgency and were awarded a kickable penalty on 14 minutes, we rebuffed the shot at goal and went for touch Robin made a nice take and we drove towards the line, Damian Hall took it forward, then hard working skipper Hugh Hogan was stopped just short, Robin calmly picked up the ball and popped over the line, try; we missed the conversion and so it was 7 – 5. We were caught offside on 30 minutes and Lawlor made it 10 – 5. We surged at this stage and it appeared as though UL Bohs could be tiring, our game on the ascent and after continuous pressure a clearance kick was blocked down by fast tracking Darragh and he adroitly picked up the contorting ball, shrugged two tacklers aside and streaked over the line for a try which Gavin made into a seven pointer; the half ended 10 – 12. Things were starting to look hopeful and the sun continued to shine.
2nd half commenced with signs of resurgence in UL, though we got a good penalty after four minutes and it was 10 – 15 but it was only a minute later when a scrum on our 22 saw them move the ball wide, left to right, with quick hands and they scored in the corner from 1st phase, it was converted so they had jumped us again to 17 - 15. Paul Nash sadly had to withdraw with a groin strain and was replaced by Barry O’Flanagan who did very well. Gavin Hickie who is coming to full fitness now also had to withdraw injured, with dedicated David Kilbride coming on and Steven Grissing strained his hamstring to be replaced by returning Conor Donohue, good to see him back; later Cormac Quinn replaced Joe Burns at 9. At 15 minutes Marys had a mirror image try with first phase ball making its way right to left to Darragh, who belted through the cover, to score a fine try in the corner, with no conversion it was now 17 - 20 and to borrow a cliché it looked like happy days, but it was not to be, they mounted a sustained attack that, on 35 minutes after four phases, culminated in an unconverted try. They ensured the win when we were penalised at the scrum on 40 minutes under our posts; they popped it over and it was 25 – 20, when it ended a minute later. We did get the losing bonus point and remain three points clear at the top of the AIL division 1 A. A sad and serious trip was made to Dublin afterwards.
Next Weekend, 21st November, we face Clontarf in the LSC semi final, at Castle Avenue this is a competition which means a great deal to our club and one that we would dearly like to win so, you can expect a committed effort on both clubs’ parts. It is very important that you support your team, your club and your president. You are expected.
Team: - 15 G Dunne, 14 R Doherty, 13 S Grissing (C Donohue), 12 M Sexton, 11 D Fanning, 10 S Mc Carthy, 9 J Burns (C Quinn), 8 H Hogan (Capt.), 7 P Nash (B O’Flanagan), 6 D Hall, 5 R Copeland, 4 G Logan, 3 R Sweeney, 2 G Hickie (D Kilbride), 1 J Mc Grath.