16.10.2010 1st XV v Old Belvedere (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Old Belvedere RFC
LSLC Semi Final
16th October 2010.
You may well be wondering and asking was the game as close as the score and your question will be answered with, Closer. It looked for a considerable time as though Belvo were again going to leave Templeville Road with the wager, but to our credit, our refusal to accept the probable loss was the deciding factor in the game. This was game which only seldom conflagrated, although the outcome may be immensely important and stimulatory to us; for a win against such a strong team, can only give confidence and determination for next Saturday’s AIL game against Shannon RFC. Both teams were missing some players. We had lost Jack Mc Grath, Ciaran Ruddock, Ian Mc Kinley and Darren Hudson to Leinster A and Richard Sweeney had to withdraw with a back/hamstring injury (he was on the line as an example to Brian O’Driscoll for the Leinster game later on) and Robert Sweeney had to leave the field injured (ankle) early on, later Tommy Meredith and Darragh Keller likewise (both groin strains).
With their disciplined pack, led by their destructive 8 and a strong pair of halves, they looked the more likely in the first half, having knocked over three penalties and an admirable drop goal in the first half without reply from St Marys. That is not to say that we were quietly acquiescing, we had some promising attacks but did not manage to convert any. To the fore in many of these was Paul Gillespie, who also was eager in defence and hungry for work throughout; and he was my man of the match.
With the new rolling substitutions rule again being well used by the coach, changes and positional swaps made, seemed to stimulate and settle the team and soon in the second half we were starting to look more dangerous, playing with greater intent and urgency and our halves were switching points of attack and adding greater pace to the game and soon it paid off. Their 8 had to withdraw injured for some time too.
On ten minutes of the second half, Hugh Hogan who is getting back to form again after his illness, fielded and ran out of defence, switched to Shaun Mc Carthy, who was making a significant contribution since his introduction, he took it on and gave it to Ronan Doherty who made another of his slicing runs, diagonally up the field for forty metres, he gave it to Stephen Grissing who passed back to Shaun on the follow up, who sent it on to Mark Sexton and he timed his pass well to Skipper Paul Nash, who was in attendance like a good Seven and he beat the cover to joyously touch down; a score of suitable class to suit this ancient and revered competition and so it was 5 – 12. We continued to ratchet upwards the pace and Gavin added a penalty on 15 minutes, 8 – 12, they were caught off side on 28 minutes and Gavin made it 11 – 12. The tension and the quality were growing and so was our confidence, but at 32 minutes they wedged a little daylight with a penalty and it was 11 – 15 and time was diminishing. The captain stood up and said we are not going to lose; and they went at it and putting on the pressure squeezed the penalties. We put one into the corner and mauled it, we got another and did the same then we ran it close to the Belvo line, went across the pitch, we picked and drove and picked and drove; they held form. Just on the time we got a final penalty; a final chance, we put it into the top car park corner and took it on, we slewed sideways we inched back we “metred” forward, we stalled, we heaved again with Herculean effort, all in, all out and we surged over the line and Chunky Carroll, who had been having a fine game, came up with the ball, a russet smile on his face. We had won 16 – 15. It was close. We will not mind however, when we take on UCD in a few weeks time.
One disappointment was the low turnout for an important game on a fine day and it is to be strongly hoped that next Saturday for the visit of Shannon you will all respond and come in great numbers; you are truly needed and Captain Paul Nash has asked especially that you please come and get going again like the last few seasons with your passionate and committed support, then afterwards cram the clubhouse, meet the players and other supporters and enjoy the afters, not just next week but from now on join the crusade and ensure that we have a full and successful season.
15 P Gillespie, 14 R Crotty, 13 S Grissing, 12 M Sexton, 11 R Doherty, 10 G Dunne, 9 M D’Arcy, 8 H Hogan, 7 P Nash (Capt), 5 D Hall, 4 R Field, 3 R Sweeney, 2 T Meredith, 1 C Mc Mahon.
Subs. S Mc Carthy, D Kilbride, K Carroll, D Campbell, M Donnellan, W Wojnar, C Hogan.