26.02.2011 1st XV v Blackrock (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Blackrock College RFC
Saturday 26th February 2011
AIL Division 1 A
In idle wishes fools supinely stay
Be there a will, and wisdom finds a way
When a team plays in the top division it must always expect things like this to happen and all one can do is learn from them; and I have no doubt our coach Ciaran Potts and the team will already be refocusing and reassessing, without whingeing or heteropathy and will use it to galvanise for future, vital games; it could possibly be the winning of the league for it can teach many valuable lessons. Of course, this Rock-Shock was sudden and saddening for all at St Marys but we must now prepare for the next game on 26th March and that short interim break may be just what we need. We remain in third position and while it does add extra pressure Paul Nash’s team is up to the task, of that there is no doubt.
We had started so well, running the ball wide and playing at pace, which suits our game so well, and looked as though we would win after the first quarter hour; indeed right up to half time most believed St Marys would get there. We were wrong. It must be said that Rock were well organised, had a strong pack and were as usual willing to run the ball. When they got ahead in the second half, they grew in confidence and their level of execution rose inexorably and they deserved their victory.
Today the Marys set pieces were safe, and the variation in the lineout worked well, Rock had a strong scrum but generally, we matched them. In the loose, we had some commendable successes with Robert Sweeney being foremost and his performance brought him two well-deserved tries. However, our biggest problem was lack of concentration, especially in defence, (normally a strong facet of our game), especially at pivotal times, such as after scores, when it is accepted that this is a crucial juncture.
Before the game, there had been a vibrant atmosphere with many of our Marys-Rock axis present, the lunch was well attended and regardless of the result, it is worthy to be able to enjoy the company of other senior clubs; an ancient and admirable feature of club rugby and one that hopefully will ever prosper.
Yes, from the start, the game was played at good pace and although there were some dropped balls and misplaced kicks from both sides, the game was good to watch and Mary looked to be in the ascendancy. After 11 minutes, the fast ruck game gave an opportunity to break from our half and fine double interchanges between Matt D’Arcy and Mark Sexton brought play to near the Rock line, the hard working Paul Nash drove on the ruck ball and then Robert Sweeny galloped through the defence to score close in and Gavin Dunne converted. 7 – 0. Rock worked their way up to our 22 within two minutes and with drives found a gap, to score and level the tally. It was 26 minutes when we got a series of three penalties and ended up in Carvill Corner where we won our lineout and drove on; Robert charged, with bison brawn and smashed over the line and we were 12 – 7 up. It was only two minutes later that Rock worked a well-devised try and converted, to go ahead 12 – 14. On 32 minutes, Gavin gave us the lead again with a good penalty and it ended the half at 15 – 14. Close but hopeful.
The second half was only two minutes old when St Marys were shocked, a kick ahead did unpredictable tricks, the ball rolled over the line in the corner and their winger following up tipped it down. Interestingly, he seemed to be out of play, between the goal line and dead ball line, when he stretched in, to touch the ball down (this is legitimate)15 – 19.
Unfortunately, Damian Hall had to go off injured on eight minutes. Evergreen Gareth Logan replaced him. Rock got a breakaway try to make it 15 - 24 and it did not improve for us from then on, they got a penalty on 18 minutes, 15 – 27 and finished by scoring a try, converted, on 26 minutes to make the final score 15 – 34.
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, 5 D Hall (G Logan), 4 C Ruddock, 3 Robert Sweeney (K Carroll), 2 Richard Sweeney (D Kilbride), 1 C Mc Mahon.