30.10.2010 1st XV v Dolphin (A)
Dolphin RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
Saturday 30th October 2010
AIL Division 1 A
Although Halloween, this was no hollow win, rather a solid one, last week’s heroic and historic Shannon one may be water under the bridge, however, it will not be forgotten nor will this one as it has distinctive importance being an away win and our first ever away win in the AIL against Dolphin. Often the closest losses are the most painful and the wins the sweetest. So afterwards, the Marys’ supporters were letabund. Dolphin present a compact team very much in the mould of Young Munster. They have a burly, well-trained pack and an efficient defensive backline. It was a continuous battle, Dolphin held the ball well, reluctantly yielding possession; they also shaded the lineouts and scrums. On the other hand, we looked the more potent side, but sometimes gave away possession by kicking the ball a little too freely and we failed to get the ball wide, quickly enough, to make space and full use of the proven potency our wingers. However, we won and deservedly so and the winning score was a fitting one with which to so do. We had lost the influential Richard Sweeney to injury and Jack Mc Grath and Rhys Ruddock to Leinster during the week, Richard’s promising understudy Tommy Meredith had to go off early on, having had his eye closed by a blow (replaced by David Kilbride who fitted in very well) and later Paul Gillespie had to withdraw with a hamstring strain. Overall, we can be very happy with our trip to Cork and now face the remainder of the campaign with burgeoning confidence... Our pack was resolute, with Paul Nash, supported by his 6 and 8, working incessantly, and again this week, Ciaran Ruddock stood out, with a high rate of intelligent industry in the tight and the loose, making him our man of the match.
Behind the scrum, Matthew D’Arcy strove to keep the game moving at pace, even when on the wing later in the game he contributed, the rest of the backline were eager but did not have enough space ball to embellish the score.
The game kicked off at 14.33 hours in a light wind, showery conditions and within newly painted red Munster walls. The first part of the game was dominated by Dolphin’s forward possession and after 9 minutes their outhalf, seasoned Barry Keeshan, put over a penalty for not releasing after making the tackle. As the half went on we came more into the game and had some threatening attacks but their defence was strong. It ended 3 – 0.
The second half saw a rise in pace but still Dolphin favoured forward play and Keeshan did kick more frequently. Likewise, we tried for position but often could not get the ball back, having kicked it. After 11 minutes Keeshan made it 6 – 0 for offside. The intensity of our game increased, we had more possession, were moving it more frequently and on 18 minutes we had a good scrum on halfway, this gave us some space to break and Mark Sexton ran hard and straight and timed his pass well to the supporting Matt (now on the left wing) he took a really fine line beating three men and accelerating towards the line which he almost made; he was tackled and did extremely well to turn in the tackle and pop up the ball for David Campbell (on, for Paul Gillespie, at 9), flying up in support, he took the ball well and swallow dived over the line. Shaun converted and we were ahead, 6 – 7. On 23 minutes we increased the score to 6 – 10 when Shaun converted a penalty for offside, as Dolphin were under pressure after a sustained attack. On 27 minutes, we were caught once again for not releasing after making the tackle and the score became 9 – 10. There were now 13 minutes to go and supporters’ knees were atremble, however the team was cool and set, Dolphin came calling and they tried to force their way through with pick and push, bounce and bash and then with a well contrived maul but we responded resolutely. Then they tried to pin us back with kicks for position but we took control and held the ball well for the last few minutes and when Referee Wilkinson’s whistle sounded, understandably, our supporters and our team tripudiated; a satisfying Saturday, it ended 9 – 10.
There is a gap next weekend while Ireland face RSA and then we return with a home game against Garryowen on 13th, always a close and competitive game. The way we are warming to the task it should be well worth seeing (much better than Samoa) so come along and support Pottsy and Nasher and their team.
Team 15 P Gillespie (D Campbell) 14 R Doherty, 13 S Grissing, 12 M Sexton, 11 D Hudson, 10 S Mc Carthy, 9 M D’Arcy, 8 H Hogan, 7 P Nash (Capt), 6 D Hall, 5 C Ruddock, 4 G Logan, 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 T Meredith (D Kilbride), 1 K Carroll (C Mc Mahon).