26.03.2011 1st XV v Cork Constitution (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Cork Constitution FC
AIB AIL Division 1 A
Saturday 26th March 2011
Last home game of the league schedule
And Ladies Day
Fate cannot rob you of deserved applause
Whether you win or lose such a cause
It was neither through laziness nor laxity that we failed to win this tough encounter, for the team tried with every fibre. We showed resolve and mounted many well-directed attacks, particularly in an even first half, but failed to cross the Con line. Our scrum found parity and our lineout was generally good, however, we made several handling and decision errors. In the pack, Ciaran Ruddock and captain, Paul Nash, in particular slaved urgently and incessantly to the point of collapse and at scrumhalf, Matthew D’Arcy was defiant in the face of persistent pounding; darting with the ball, varying tactics and ever in support of defence and attack; he was my choice of Marys’ man of the match.
Cork Con is a fine team and deserved the victory. They have a strong well-balanced squad, displaying 11 contracted players on Saturday, their pack is formidable, they have good halves and their back three are confident and sharp. This allows them vary points of attack and hold the ball as required. They have a particularly well organised defence that shows exemplary composure under pressure. They have a professional sheen about them.
All that said, we need not be pejoristic and with Young Munster’s loss on Sunday, we have destiny in our own grip. On the equivalent day last year we were the victors, yet were later beaten by Con in the final, we might well hope for a similar reversal of fortunes later this year. That hope could be well justified if head coach, Ciaran Potts, has a full squad from which to select. Old Belvedere will be a difficult assignment next Saturday, so it is vital that all of you make the short trip to Anglesea Road, without your help, the assignment will become even more testing.
The first five minutes of the game was tentative in nature as both sides looked for weaknesses but after seven minutes they got a penalty, which Hurley, their Nine, converted. As mentioned, we mounted several attacks during the remainder of the half but no breakthrough came for us. However, a kick from play into Carvill Corner on 37 minutes, gave them a chance and when they turned us over after the lineout, with men over, Jouve scored out wide. And it ended 0 – 10 at half time.
The second half saw Marys raise the tempo even further and we came close on seven minutes after four scrums and three hard line drives, again they turned the ball and raised the siege. Confidence grew in them and when young left wing, Zebo, got a ball on 13 minutes, he kicked ahead gathered and charged over to make it 0 – 15 and he was on hand, when the half was 23 minutes old, to collect a chip through by outhalf, Deasy, and score a try converted by Hurley, 0 - 22. Replacements came on for us, Ian Mc Kinley went to Ten, Gavin Dunne to 15, Mark Sexton to 12 and Kevin Sheahan went to Six with Damian going to Five, and all did well, but still we were unable to break through and so it ended 0 – 22.
Off the field
It was Ladies’ Day, thanks to the hard work and organisation of John Kilbride and this gave a lively excitement to the day; and a gleam of glamour. As it was also the last home game of the scheduled league programme it was a special day for dapper President Ronnie Mc Brien, sporting a dickey-bow and who had his family in support and the French ambassador to Ireland, Her Excellency Emmanuelle D’Achon, as his special guest. He also had former government minister and ever popular, Ms Liz O’Donnell, as the post-prandial guest speaker. He was in particularly ebullient form as he welcomed all guests, including Der O’Riordan, President of Cork Constitution FC and all the sponsors. Der paid generous tribute to St Marys in his reply and added to the entertainment of the day. H.E. Emmanuelle D’Achon in a short dissertation, thanked Ronnie, extolled the values of sport and Ronnie’s dancing expertise, nothing like fast feet in a rugby club ! Ms O’Donnell told of her love of rugby in her upbringing in Limerick and paid handsome tribute to Ronnie and all his attributes. He has been a marvellous host at the lunches and all events and overall an outstanding ambassador for our club.
After the game, although the result cast a shade over all, the younger members and friends had a wonderful evening and got the bonus of seeing the very talented and perennial performers, the J2s, win their league in a game under lights; they deserve the utmost credit as do Michael Houlihan (Capt.), the exceptional Alan Shirley, coach, his brother Stephen assistant coach, Derek Gately, Manager, and all involved with the team.
Team:- 15 P Gillespie (I Mc Kinley), 14 R Doherty, 13 S Grissing, 12 P Brophy, (M Sexton), 11 D Hudson, 10 G Dunne, 9 M D’Arcy, 8 H Hogan, 7 P Nash (Capt), 6, D Hall, 5 S Bradshaw,( K Sheahan), 4 C Ruddock, 3 Robert Sweeney,2 Richard Sweeney, 1 C Mc Mahon.