01.10.2011 1st XV v Garryowen (A)
Garryowen FC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1 A
1st October 2001
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness………..
Well, the waiting is over and once again, we are on a voyage of discovery and excitement aboard the SS AIL, newly rigged and refitted for purpose. IRFU may adjust and make changes to the league, but it has shown its robust character over the past twenty years and still haspiquancy for Irish rugby club members generally and players in particular. It may not have the lure or glamour of the current New Zealand spectacle but is an important signpost for players on the way to those distant shores. It was a special day for those, like Darragh Keller, making their AIL debut and for our new President, John Gilsenan, who was breathless with excitement and proud and enchanted with the win. We hope to beable to report many more wins over the season and that all supporters still in Ireland will come along and support this fine group of players under their inspirational and sedulous captain Hugh Hogan.
Dooradoyle, arena of intergalactic battles between the two clubs, over very many decades now, had its pitch in perfect condition. Unfortunately, the weather, so benign during the week, turned sour with misty conditions and drizzly rain. However, the rain did not deter the players to any great degree and they served up an exciting first half and a committed second half. To win the first match of the campaign is most encouraging and to do so away from home is even more so; and Peter Smyth and his fellow coaches and his management will be content. There is a well-balanced look to the squad with solidity and experience available in equal measure. The forwards worked hard generally, the pick and drive game continued to be well operated and the set pieces were well contrived and organised. Later on, no doubt there will be more width on their game but they will be pleased. The halfbacks, against much lauded opponents, were sharp and intelligent, with Matthew D’Arcy in “Duracell Bunny” mode straight away and so very well matched by Phillip Brophy at Ten. The whole backline looked eager, and although there were errors, they did well and looked superior to Garryowen in every position.
From the start, Marys looked the better team, although with only two minutes gone Garryowen had three points from a penalty, on the board. Both Marys’ wingers probed and pressurised their defence and we looked to vary the game, a few times a little more patience might have led to profit but overall we had by the better of the first half. On 27 minutes Gavin Dunne brought the sides level with a well hit penalty and on 36 minutes put Marys ahead. And so the half ended. 3- 6.
Garryowen showed significant improvement in the second half with spirited effort. Their forwards increased their pace, but seldom was the St Marys’ line under pressure and we continued to show dominance. They scored a neat drop goal after 12 minutes of the half to draw the teams level and it was not until the 59th minute that we scored what was the only and winning try of the game. The Garryowen team was penalised on our 22, and lost a man to the sin bin, a long touch kick from Gavin gave us a lineout on their 22 and following the lineout we were then awarded another penalty. Gavin went for goal and the ball came back off the posts. In the succeeding scramble, we won the ball and took it on well, then with extreme pressure on their line the ball came back and Matt D’Arcy slipped over for a try that Gavin converted. Garryowen increased their efforts but we easily contained the threat and held out deserved winners, in spite of losing a man for the last few minutes. So it ended 6 – 13.
Lansdowne come to pay us a social visit next Saturday, under greatly respected international coach, Mike Ruddock, fatherof our Rhys and Ciaran Ruddock. We can expect a little zest added to the melange due to that and of course our long standing friendly rivalry with Lansdowne; so forget the armchair or the snooze to make up for the 5.30 AM start, get up to your club and enjoy real, live, earthy rugby. You can have a nightcap in the club afterwards amid the warm, atmospheric tumult of the post matches discussions. Do not forget!
Team 15 G Dunne, 14 R Doherty,13 S Grissing, 12 M Sexton, 11 D Fanning, 10 P Brophy, 9 M D’Arcy, 8 H Hogan (Capt), 7 D Keller, 6 D Hall, 5 S Bradshaw, 4 G Logan (M Donnellan 50 mins), 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 Richard Sweeney, 1 C Mc Mahon.