30.01.2010 1st XV v Shannon (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Shannon RFC
AIL Division 1 A
31st January 2010-01-31
It is understandable, having spent 8 or 9 minutes urgently pressing on the Shannon line needing the beckoning 7 points to win by 23 to 22, then to falter with just two minutes to go and for Shannon to score at the far end, and end the game 16 - 27, that self-pity might be evident. Although not quite up to the precise imperative of early season this was a greatly improved performance and especially so, given that there were several players of importance still out injured. The game was of high quality with both teams contributing to an exciting, sporting, close encounter and Shannon were worthy opponents, who, having won the AIL nine times know how to take half a chance and every half chance they got they took on Saturday. The first half was fairly even though nearing the end it appeared as though Marys were getting on top, but a good start in the second, in essence secured their victory, for in the last quarter Marys were again well on top. The St Marys scrum and lineout were secure and general forward play was good, our carrying was also good although our rucking was not as dynamic as previously and Shannon shaded that important area. The front row was sound and Robert Sweeney had a mighty, combative game in the loose and tight, right through, making him man of the match. Damian Hall, just back from injury, gave a notable performance, with Paul Nash, as ever, working until he should drop. Captain Hugh Hogan was to the fore in the first half until a severe accidental elbow, which dazed him, left him with impaired vision for the remainder of the game. Behind the scrum, another back from injury Conor Mc Phillips, had a smart game and once again the wingers, Darragh Fanning and Ronan Doherty were threatening and potent; and the marvellous Darragh, ever hungry for ball or man to tackle, scored a try like a stooping peregrine and later showed his great spirit when he shot out to block down the attempted conversion of the last try. There is no doubt but that the team is coming back to form and with a win will come the renewed confidence required to make the final push. With Dolphin beating Clontarf, we lie fourth, one point only behind Dolphin. Next Friday’s game V Old Belvedere, under lights at Donnybrook (7.30 PM), in the final of the Leinster Senior League Cup is a big game for us in many ways and a win there will do much for the team and the club. Do not miss it
The opening period was even and intriguing, as both teams sparred for openings, and indeed, after 25 minutes that opening came for Shannon when after three phases and a neat kick by winger Kelly, Mc Loughlin caught the ball and scored a try, converted by Bennett. Marys then upped the pace and put heavy pressure on and were rewarded with a penalty after 33 minutes, which Gavin Dunne converted , however within a minute Lawlor dropped a goal and we replied with a further increase in effort; then when pressing, the ball came to the in-form Stephen Grissing who cut open a hole, Ronan was at his shoulder and he transferred it to left wing Darragh near the 22 on the Clubhouse side, he stepped outside his man, stepped back in and put on the turbo, he drove at pace between two cover tacklers and zoomed over the line; breathless!. Gavin hit a fine conversion. The half ended 10 – 10.
The second half saw an increase in Shannon’s intensity and they put pressure on our line for some time and after six minutes Bennett kicked ahead then combined with active seven Grace who supplied Quinlan at 8 and he scored out wide and it was then 10 – 15, as Lawlor missed the conversion. Shannon continued to attack and were rewarded on 10 minutes when they attacked close in with short phases before O’Connor their number six scored and Bennett converted and it was suddenly 10 – 22. Undaunted we raised the pace and it was clear when we played with that raised intensity we were in the ascendency and the pressure paid with two penalties, one on 13 minutes and the second on 30 minutes. The score was then 16 – 22 and we mounted an onslaught for eight minutes, mainly on their line, coming in waves of twos and threes and still their defence held; we could see the prize as we pushed ever harder under the posts- a converted try and a win; but it was sadly not to be, they broke out and 12 Mc Loughlin scored his second try which gave them the four try bonus point and gave us a heart ache.
Off the Field
Before the game, there was a lively, enjoyable lunch with president Rynne in great form as he welcomed his old team mates from the 1983-84 Mc Corry Cup final team (then under 19), including the Gillens, Jody Fanagan, Dick Whitty, Bubbles Ahearne, Jonathan Garth, Bobby O’Connor and several others. He also thanked all involved in the lunches and match day preparations, of course he welcomed Martin Clancy the Shannon president who like Niall gave an amusing speech and then Gerry Maher was the after lunch speaker and he was at his best, entertaining all present, in his school teacher way.
Team: - 15 G Dunne, 14 R Doherty (Conor Quinn), 13 S Grissing, M Sexton, 11 D Fanning, 10 S Mc Carthy, 9 C Mc Phillips (Cormac Quinn), 8 H Hogan (Capt.), 7 P Nash, 6 D Hall, 5 R Copeland, 4 G Logan (S Bradshaw), 3 Rob Sweeney, 2 G Hickie (D Kilbride), 1 K Carroll (C Mc Mahon).