03.09.2011 1st XV v Clontarf (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Clontarf FC
Saturday 3rd September 2011.
Introduction and Preview
Abbreviated evenings, squalls and gritty gusts indicate that we can settle back to our club season and tremblingly enjoy the meandering roads of LSLC and AIL campaigns, the latter being a straight league this season, giving an added sting to each game. We have high hopes, that proven, popular and messianic skipper, Hugh Hogan, can lead us to ecstatic Elysium. He, Peter Smyth Ciaran Potts, James Norton and Steven Hennessy have gathered around them a formidable and fervent squad of players, most of them campaign hardened and aware. Two additions we welcome, Outhalf John Watt and winger Marcus O’Driscoll, in addition to several of last season’s U20 squad, also it is marvellous to hear that the superb Darragh Fanning, who will be a pivotal addition, will be back from Australia soon; versatile scrumhalf Joe Burns is another welcome returnee. With a slight increase in confidence and improved late game management, there is every reason for this optimism. The same squad management under the scrupulous care of Terry Tierney is in place, ensuring smooth logistical workings and with rugby council monitoring and directing rugby at all levels, under the chairmanship of experienced, dedicated and capable Kevin Conboy, our hopes will be further boosted. David Donohue, who stepped down from RC last season has not been well, and everyone at the club will wishes him a fast recovery to his most ebullient self again, no doubt, his superb attitude and enduring spirit will ensure that this will happen.
With reference to the squad itself, last year’s courageous captain Paul Nash (the great Nasher) has had to withdraw from active rugby due to a chronic and serious back problem. For a man like Paul, this is a vicious misfortune as his life has been rugby and his burning love of the game, his loyalty to the club and team mates, has been commendable. But no doubt that love of the game and his club which he has shown, on the field at St Marys since 2003, will benefit us all by his involvement in other aspects of the game and he will be a vivid inspiration to young players.
By now, most will be aware that sparkling outhalf Ian Mc Kinley has had the cruellest of blows. His future in rugby had been shining on the widest scale and already he had done much for St Marys and shown fearless dedication to our cause. There is no doubt but that he could have succeeded at the highest level, it was pleasure to see him play and his loss to the club and rugby generally will be immense. He has an admirable attitude to life, and a most affable personality, and so will succeed at whatever he chooses. He will remain a most important member of our club and no doubt, like Paul, he will become involved in other aspects of game at Marys and make further important contributions to it.
I know all supporters will wish our industrious and genial president, John Gilsenan, son of one of our most illustrious members and former club captain and president, Matt Gilsenan, a wonderfully happy and successful season. Included in those wishes are the senior squad and management, junior rugby which is the vital fire, that keeps us all together and epitomises the meaning of club rugby; also women’s rugby, youth and mini rugby and all those doing vital administrative and volunteer work, the executive committee; especially the officers.
I have the duty of reporting for you over the season and I would greatly welcome feedback and comments, positive or negative.
The pitches looked well refreshed, due to Sports Ground Services, groundsman Frank Doyle and dedicated and ever watchful John Carvill. Weather too was in good shape when we kicked off against Clontarf in the senior game at 2.00PM. The early part of the game was punctuated by whistles and understandable early season fumbles on both sides, then on 12 minutes Gavin Dunne landed a penalty to make the score 3 – 0. The Marys’ scrum looked stronger and when, on 20 minutes, we put pressure on the Tarf lineout after a fine long kick from Gavin into Carvill Corner and followed it up with Hugh Hogan cleverly securing the loose ball from the succeeding scrum; he scored, to make it 8 – 0. The remainder of the half was mainly even and somewhat scrambled, with dropped balls and lateral running, but it still looked reasonably propitious for the home side. 8 – 0.
The second half saw introductions on the Tarf side, particularly in the form of out half Reid who had a marked effect on the game. It was only five minutes old when after four phases Tarf ran the ball from left to right and right winger Richie Lane (Late of Cork Con) touched down and Reid kicked the conversion from the touchline. 8 – 7. We lost a player to the sin bin on 11 minutes and they increased their score to 8 – 10 with the consequent Reid penalty. They added another converted try on 20 minutes, while we got a penalty back on 23 minutes, 11 – 17. They scored a penalty from Reid on 35 minutes and we got another on 37 minutes 14 – 20. Tarf increased the pressure and the last few minutes were playing in our 22. On 43 minutes after several picks-and-drives Reid punted a ball from left to right, to winger, Lane, who caught it well and scored. So, we lost a losing bonus point and they won, 14 – 25.
Although a disappointing outcome and performance, it has to be stressed, that it is so early in the season, few conclusions can be drawn and many of the errors will be addressed as the season matures. It should be remembered too that several important players, such as Phillip Brophy, Gareth Logan, Conor Donohue, Conor Hogan and Steve Toal-Lennon are out injured .
Senior Squad. R Crotty, C Morrin, C Lillie, S Grissing, M O’Driscoll, R Doherty, G Dunne, M D’Arcy, C Mc Mahon, Richard Sweeney, Robert Sweeney, N Murphy, M Donnellan, S Bradshaw, C Ruddock, H Hogan (Capt), G Austen, D Hall.
The J1 game, also against Clontarf, ended with a win for Tarf 36 – 29. The game was won with a late try in injury time when a run penalty by St Marys, taken in an effort to snatch victory for Marys, when the two sides were 29 – 29 in injury time, was turned over and Clontarf ran from far out and scored under the posts.
The game was full of adventure, excitement and entertainment and was a joy to watch. In losing, Marys scored four tries and there were some impressive performances, especially at halfback, where skipper Christopher Lillie was outstanding in all respects