29.01.2011 1st XV v Young Munster (H)
St Mary's College RFC V Young Munster RFC
AIL 1st Division A
29th January 2011.
“Tis not in mortals to command success
But we’ll do more Sempronius, we’ll deserve it”.
And deserve it we did, even if it gave the supporters delirium tremens near the end. Yes this was granite grind right through and it was the pack mainly which hewed out a path to victory. When we played Young Munster in Limerick they out scrummaged and out mauled us; today we had a slight advantage in the scrum and commendably we never permitted them to maul once; try as they did. Our lineout too was good with Richie Sweeney’s throwing secure, added to his all round high quality performance. Our fast ruck and run game gave them real trouble and our counter-rucking won a number of balls. Again, our ball retention in the tackle was good and when we perfect the off load, eliminate little handling and other errors; especially late in games, we will be even more formidable. The first half was relatively even after a scintillant start by Marys and in the second half Marys held sway throughout, not however able to draw clear. In the hard working pack, every man worked to stagger level and all can carry the laurels, but Ciaran Ruddock was man of the match for endlessly toiling, with carries and fetches and ground trembling tackles added to buffalo bashes, lifts and clever support work; he crossed the line too but the referee was unable to see the grounding. Behind the scrum, we looked the far better equipped unit, with Paul Gillespie, at fullback, in particular adept in all respects. Late on, when the game broke up and we were using a somewhat eclectic system, had we been able to get the ball wide we may well have finished further ahead, but nobody is complaining; this was a hard earned, well deserved and vitally valuable victory. Young Munster, to their pedigree and history, never flinched and fought with temerity throughout. Their defence was admirable. They will win on other days ahead in this campaign, while we are now in a strong position in third place, seven points ahead of fourth placed Young Munster. At the start of the second round of games, Ciaran Potts can be well pleased with the progress of the team and with a broad squad; he can face the journey ahead with some confidence. The club too will be pleased with results all through the teams and also with the support today, which was spirited and reasonably plentiful, certainly, President Ronnie Mc Brien was beaming after the event and his vice president John Gilsenan seemed equally ecstatic, as the team and management blasted out We are Marys Boys. The hard work of Ciaran and his little group of colleagues, Steven Hennessy, the management of tireless Terry Tierney, Ian Grimson, Dave Lyons Jr, with Dave (Dougal) Lyons , physiotherapist, Ian Bloomer our fourth official and rugby council in support, must be recognised as we head into the last six games of the league proper. No team can prosper without a competent captain and Paul Nash is the epitome of a great captain, being a leader on and off the field and being brave to a fault. Once more, he had a captain’s game today.
On a truly perfect day for rugby, dry, with a light wind and cool temperatures and the pitch perfect, the game started in a candescent manner as we surged forward, with diverse attack points and rapid recycles, putting YM under intense pressure, sometimes their tackles were finger-tip, on we went keeping the pace up relentlessly, then at the catastasis of this action we had a series of fast rucks and Matt (Duracell) D’Arcy broke to the right under the posts at the Road End, he drew the cover and gave the ball to Ian Mc Kinley coming in at an ultra acute vector which left the defence rooted and he scored and converted his own try, on six minutes. YM got more into the game and they got a penalty back, through Alan Kingsley, a minute later, 7 – 3... We were unfortunate to lose a player to the sin bin and with the succeeding penalty; they kicked to the corner and mounted a series of attacks culminating in a blind side try by their left-winger, Aaron Carroll, in the top terrace side corner. It left the score at 7 – 8. The pace of the game dropped somewhat then, with the forward battle raging and no quarter asked; it was a tough but fair arena. We got a penalty for off side on 31 minutes and Ian kicked it well to leave the score at 10 – 8 to half time.
The second half started evenly, with both sides continuing the battle; however, one of our forwards having gone off his feet in a ruck gave Kingsley the opportunity to pull YM ahead with the penalty on 6 minutes. 10 – 11. St Marys gathered momentum as the half progressed and built pressure and velocity again, gaining most of the possession. We continued to attack close in and through the middle and YM stood firm, their defence being solid. We had a missed drop goal attempt from Ian and then mounted a sustained forwards’ pick and punch assault on their line and on 30 minutes Ciaran Ruddock plunged over the line, unfortunately the referee could not see the grounding and so had to set an attacking scrum out five metres and they scrambled it away. David Campbell, Mark Donnellan and Gavin Dunne had come on and immediately got positively involved. We were almost frantic in our efforts to secure a score of any hue, yet still YM hung on. We came close again but a dropped ball was hoofed away and the clock ticked inexorably onwards, we tried again and lost the ball again, the terraces trembled the supporters wailed, the players, laboured on sudorifically, one more effort; we moved forward, we recycled the ball came out, Gavin was in position, he got the ball, he switched it right from left we took it in again, Gavin changed coordinates, he stood impavidly and the ball came back, he glanced non committing almost nonchalantly at the posts and from just outside the 22 to the left of posts he swung his leg and stroked the ball with grace as it sailed through, the clock smiled 40. Now it was 13 – 11. It was not quite over and for another 4 minutes’ injury time we soaked up their flailing efforts to get a score back; they did not and we had won a close, hard earned but deserved victory.
We now head down to Coonagh to play Shannon next Saturday and you can all imagine the reception we face as they will charge at us trying to redeem every one of the 53 points. More than ever, you are needed. The new motorway is open the entire way, so it is no big deal whether by luxury coach or a few of the lads (or the ladies) in the car. But it is a big deal for the players to have a strong support especially when away from home.
Team:- 15 P Gillespie, 14 R Doherty, 13 S Grissing, 12 M Sexton, 11 D Hudson, 10 I Mc Kinley (G Dunne), 9 M D’Arcy (D Campbell), 8 H Hogan, 7 P Nash (Capt), 6 K Sheahan (M Donnellan) 5 D Hall, 4 C Ruddock, 3 J Mc Grath, 2 R Sweeney, 1 C Mc Mahon.