17.10.2009 1st XV v Bruff (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Bruff RFC
Saturday 17th October 2009.
AIB All Ireland Cup
An all Ireland cup is a desirable, even necessary competition, however, as the league is only two weeks old and with the Heineken Cup flashing all around us, it is hard to encompass its importance or rivet the mind on to it at this stage, so the game was a little less concentrated than it might have been, although it turned out to be a highly respectable victory. Their president, affable Gerard Hehir and his committee had a jovial lunch with President Niall Rynne and officers beforehand. It must be acknowledged that Bruff were short of several of their prime players and under those circumstances they did very well, particularly in the second half, and gave a good sporting account of themselves without ever looking like winning. Another factor to be taken into account was that there were some St Marys injuries during the game which changed the shape of things. Anyway, we can be happy to have accomplished our win, even if it appeared we remained in the middle gears and seldom hit the throttle or changed into top. The scrum too was a problem area for Marys, although the lineout was secure right through the game. Because of these factors there were no remarkable performances, although the backrow was especially effective, particularly Damian Hall, as were the halves and with his fine kicking performance and overall display, outhalf Gavin Dunne was Man of the Match. It was a pity that the attendance at the game was not as high as we might have expected.
The management had made a number of changes to the team from recent weeks but it was a robust looking group, with some interesting partnerships, which took the field. Two sets of brothers were included with Conor Quinn at 15, Cormac at 9 and Barry O’Flanagan at 7 and his brother Stewart at 14. Had Robert Sweeney not been injured there may have been another set.
The day was perfect and the pitch in good condition when we kicked off and soon it was clear that Bruff were no easy touch and they got involved with gusto, however after four minutes, following a scrum near their line, Damian made good progress and gave a well timed pass to Sean (Bisto) Preston (apologies for last week putting a T instead of a P in his name), who sent it on, it reached Stewart O’Flanagan, (who did well today, particularly when later in the game he went to full back,) he held the ball well and went in low to score a nice try in the Carvill Corner and Gavin hit a top class conversion.. After nine minutes they replied with a penalty, 7 – 3.
After 12 minutes and a strong maul, sucking in the defence, the ball came back to Gavin Dunne, who saw the gap and whizzed through to score under the posts, so it was 14 – 3. On 17 minutes they got another penalty and two minutes later Gavin got one for Marys to make it 17 - 6. Soon afterwards Kevin (Chunky) Carroll withdrew, unable to continue, having injured his shoulder in the first scrum. Mikey Houlihan, the captain of the J2s replaced him. It was 24 minutes when Gavin made it 20 – 6 and then on 38 minutes we rucked well the ball went to Stephen Grissing and he went over to make it 27 – 6 and on 40 minutes a good move with many hands making ball work, Stewart took the ball from Damian and gave a neat inside ball to Paul Nash coming up hard and he went over and so it was 34 – 6 at half time.
Gareth Logan went off at half time and Steve Bradshaw replaced him, soon after Nasher went off injured and skipper Hugh Hogan came on, later David Kilbride replaced Richie Sweeney.
The trend of the game swayed in the early part of the second half and then on 20 minutes we came under extreme pressure on the line and the referee awarded them a penalty try, so it was 34 – 13, but on 25 minutes we hit back again, commencing with a high quality break by Stephen Grissing and the ball went through eight pairs of hands before Conor Quinn got over in the top, clubhouse side corner and it was now 39 – 13. At the half hour mark, Rob Hudson made a grinding tackle for a turn over and Grissing made good progress, Gavin took it on and Steve Bradshaw was following up well to take the pass and show good pace to get in at the top, terrace corner and Gavin once again hit the ball perfectly to make it 46 – 13. Understandably we lost focus a little and on 32 minutes it was their turn for the turnover and their hooker made a strong run and passed on to their full back to score and it was 46 - 20 and they finished with a break away try on 38 minutes and so it ended 46 – 27.
An Acid Test
Our team may not be old gold, though we are as good as gold and we do have our own acid test next Saturday at Dooradoyle when we face Garryowen. I do not wish to be an agent provocateur but we are all aware of the significance of this fixture (including the Shay Deering Trophy) and if you are to attend any away fixture this season this is a strong contender. Garryowen will have been growing in strength and we will have to be at our best, but we will do it, with your support, so please do the dishes; or put out the baby and the cat to bed and whatever else it takes to get you there, then get on to Eileen Fanning or Marie and book a seat and look forward to lunch on the way and a Rynner led happy sing song on the way home and at the match Marys, Marys, Marys.
Team: - 15 Conor Quinn, 14 S O’Flanagan, 13 S Grissing, 12 R Hudson, 11 C Mc Phillips, 10 G Dunne, 9 Cormac Quinn, 8 D Hall, 7 B O’Flanagan, 6 P Nash, 5 R Copeland, 4 G Logan ( S Bradshaw), 3 K Carroll (M Houlihan), 2 R Sweeney (D Kilbride), 1 S Preston.