12.02.2011 1st XV v Dolphin (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Dolphin RFC
AIL Division 1 A
Saturday 12th February 2011.
“Perfection is a road, not a destination”
Although, you make your own luck, we will still have been glad that other results went our way today and we are firmly on the road again after a busy and satisfying win against a compact Dolphin side. Jack Mc Grath and Ian Mc Kinley had been withdrawn by Leinster before the game, but the team, coped well. There was much to admire about the win and it showed that the team listen to their coaches and learn from mistakes. There was greater movement and variation than recently and ball retention and defence were both solid, as were the set pieces and the pace of the game was sustained well. Vectors of attack varied and made cover and defence difficult for Dolphin. Overall, it certainly was a good team performance and the home crowd seemed more attuned to the team than of late and it made for an enjoyable afternoon. On that point, really we should all be able enjoy the games from now on, as there will not be as much pressure, and if we continue to play with verve and confidence then we can afford to enjoy the games in a relaxed fashion. All too soon the season will be over.
The recent prolonged rains had left the pitch heavy, but the fact that it was playable, made the off-season work of Spike, John Carvill and Liam Byrne worthwhile. There were many good performances today, especially in the pack, with Robert Sweeney taking on ball with determination and at pace, often scattering the opposition, in addition his scrummaging was, with his two front row colleagues, in control; also he scored a nice try. Paul Nash, as ever, was found leading and working incessantly and Damian Hall was a towering figure in all respects, covering ground, taking on ball, defending and grafting, he was man of the match. It was too, satisfying to see Hugh Hogan and Kevin Sheahan finding form again. Our pack was in command and our backline had more potency and pace than the opposition and found more width this week than recently, while holding their counterparts in bonds. At the end the team though lutose were deservedly letabund.
The game followed a most enjoyable lunch, when President Ronnie Mc Brien, ever a great raconteur, welcomed all with an exceptionally amusing and entertaining speech and then his guest speaker, Gerry Maher, regaled us with a story of his recent trip to New York. An additional surprise treat was in store, as the truly legendary Colin (Pine Tree) Meads [voted best All Black of the 20th century] who is in Ireland on a RWC promotional tour, entranced the audience with a disarmingly phlegmatic dissertation, in which he amusingly compared present day rugby tours to those of old and the related logistical, nutritional and training systems. He also paid tribute to Irish rugby and particularly our own Sean Lynch whose scrummaging, he said, was a major reason for the success of the 1971 Lions’ tour.
The game commenced with intent by us and soon we put pressure on their line, on nine minutes we took a good lineout; and then following a series of drives, the ball came to Mark Sexton, (who probed all game), he took a superb vector and swept in under the posts for a quality try, converted by Gavin Dunne. Dolphin worked hard to get more into the game and put some pressure on us but we were mainly in command. It was 25 minutes, when we made a further onslaught on their defences and Damian Hall made great ground and put back the ball, Gavin took it on and then timed his pass well to the rampaging Rob Sweeney who contriturated the defence to score close in and so it was 14 – 0, after Gavin added the two points. Paul Gillespie who had a neat game made a strong break showing marvellous verticity, he gave a good reverse ball inside to Ronan Doherty who was just stopped short of the line; he got the ball back through the ruck and Gavin, who was enjoying himself, slipped nicely over the line and he added the points to make it 21 – 0 at half time.
The second half started better for Dolphin, and on six minutes they closed on our line and set up a good maul, directed by their impressive prop David Ryan, that eventually led to a try by Christy Condon, converted by outhalf Barry Keeshan, their captain. It was 21 – 7. We made it 24 – 7 with a penalty on 11 minutes and they had a penalty on 23 minutes to make the score 24 – 10.
Marys were hungry for a the fourth bonus point try and worked hard and calmly to achieve it, it happened on 27 minutes, we had brought on substitutes Gareth Logan, David Campbell, Conor Hogan, David Kilbride and Kevin (Chunky) Carroll. The crowd were now chanting and throbbing and the players responded. After a lineout from a penalty and a subsequent maul, then a number of drives, the ball came out to Darren Hudson who skipped over in the corner and so it ended 29 – 10 and we had our winning bonus point. Well done to all.
Next Saturday we have to make the trip to Limerick once more, to face the bottom club and so a most dangerous one, Garryowen, and we will need to be at our best to get anything out of it. It will be a great help to the team if we can do our bit by making the effort to travel down; supporters often think a team has a duty to them, we must remember that the corollary is also true so let us get there.
Team:- 15 P Gillespie, 14 R Doherty (C Hogan), 13 S Grissing, 12 M Sexton, 11 D Hudson, 10 G Dunne, 9 M D’Arcy (D Campbell), 8 H Hogan, 7 P Nash (Capt), 6 K Sheahan (G Logan), 5 D Hall, 4 C Ruddock, 3 Robert Sweeney 2 Richard Sweeney (D Kilbride), 1 C Mc Mahon (K Carroll).