08.10.2011 1st XV v Lansdowne (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Lansdowne FC
AIL Division 1A
October 8th 2011.
O’ Wild West wind, thou breath of autumn’s being, thou from whose presence,
the leaves dead are driven like the enchanter fleeing….
It was our first AIL game of the season on the green, green grass of home and there was much excitement around the grounds, that were looking not only green, but also beautifully blue and white and trim and welcoming, thanks to the hard work of Marie Hammond and Frank Doyle.
President, John Gilsenan, welcomed all to the prematch lunch. He was elated to have many of his family present, including his siblings, cousins and especially his wife Micheline and his illustrious father and mother, Matt and Breda. Obviously, this was a truly historic day for St Marys, celebrating having, for the first time in its 111-year history, a president whose father is a former president. John said how pleased he was to have our neighbours and friends Lansdowne back where it belongs in AIL division 1A. The very popular president of Lansdowne, Paddy Boylan, who had been president of Leinster in the season 2004-05 gave a most entertaining dissertation and was extremely complimentary to St Marys. Michael Dawson, the chief executive of LB, and outstanding Lansdowne member gave the after dinner speech and was also highly entertaining with many anecdotes and information. He spoke in aswasivious manner and was well received by all.
As alluded to above, in citing Mr Shelley, there was a seasonal, strong westerly wind blowing and when Marys spent the first half playing against it, most superannuated members opined sagely that it augured well for the home team, but they were wrong. For although we did get back into contention in the second half, wenever got ahead. It has to be said In mitigation, that the build up during the week was not propitious, as Robert Sweeney, who is emphatically influential in the team and especially in the pack, was not available. Darragh Fanning was away during the week, Stephen Grissing had to cry off 48 hours before kick off and Ciaran Ruddock was not well throughout the game. All of this meant major reshuffling and some of our game organisation was not quite up to the usual highest standard. We did have a number of fine performances, with Matt D’Arcy once again shining in all respects, he really is tireless and Phillip Brophy, particularly In the second half, was exemplary. In the pack, as ever, the captain, Hugh Hogan, led by example and had a fine game. Recent recruit Rory Brosnahan, had his AIL debut for St Marys and fitted in well with his new team mates.
However, having said that, a young Lansdowne team deserved their victory. they were often quicker to the breakdown and to loose balls and turned over a number, during the game. They worked hard and in the second half, when we mounted a number of strong attacks on their line, they defended well. We started strongly and as of last week our two wingers were hungry and worked hard for breaks, but after eight minutes Lansdowne were ahead, due to a drop goal by their 10, Ronaldson, and he added a penalty on 29 minutes; and then on 38 minutes they put a number of pressing phases together and then ran it wide, left to right, with their winger, Aherne, taking a lovely vector and scoring a good try in Carvill Corner, which their 10 converted. This meant they were 0 – 13 up at half time. We did work hard in the second half and none more so than Gavin Dunne, he got a penalty after 4 minutes and added a neat drop after 11, another penalty after 16, we were creeping up, it was 9 -13 and Rynner was making a move on the terraces, leading Marys – Marys ! this helped and Gavin got us to 12 – 13 as he knocked over another penalty on 21 minutes, but on 24, they got a head in front again with another penalty and then on 28 minutes, we lost momentary concentration, as they having had a sin binning, immediately struck again with a converted try under the posts. It must be recounted that, that spurred us to greater efforts, with celeritous Conor Hogan making a number of sorties. We got into their 22 and having run several pick-and-goes close to their line and locking in their defence, the ball went right to left and Gavin deftly squeezed in along the touchline and dived hard for his try in the gate corner, he converted equally deftly and we were close, 19 – 23 on 33 minutes. That was as close as we got and it ended 19 - 23. at least we got a bonus point.
On Saturday next, we head to Limerick again, this time to play Shannon. There was a time that a trip to Limerick had ominous connotations, not so now, however, Shannon have strengthened their squad considerably and are now joint first after two games won; and so will be a tough assignment and it will require our strongest team and commitment to get a victory. By now, everyone realises how important support is to a team’s success and so once again, the management are appealing to you to make the trip, which is now only a two-hour journey.
Team 15 C Hogan, 14 R Doherty,13 M Sexton, 12 P Brophy, 11 D Fanning, 10 G Dunne, 9 M D’Arcy, 8 H Hogan (Capt), 7 D Keller, 6 C Ruddock, 5 D Hall, 4 S Bradshaw, 3 C Mc Mahon, 2 Richard Sweeney, 1R Brosnahan. Replacements, G Logan, D Kilbride, C Lilly, M Donnellan, M O'Driscoll.