11.02.2012 1st XV v Dolphin (A)
Dolphin RFC V St Mary's College RFC
AIL Division 1A
Saturday 11th February 2012.
It is a long way to Tipperary, longer to Cork and a hell of a distance back to Dublin if you lose. Sadly, lose we did today. This was a game we might well have won had we taken our chances in the first half and had we had a quantum of luck. Dolphin held their concentration, they worked hard, especially in the second half and showed precise defence. Dolphin's outhalf Barry Keeshan's goal kicking proved to be decisive. The set pieces were shared, although Dolphin had somewhat the better of the lineouts. There may have been a degree of segnity about Marys today, but we did have some fine moves and strong carries. The backrow, led by skipper Hugh Hogan, was industrious, Barry O'Flanagan, at Six, worked skilfully and fitted in well for his first start this season. Conor Hogan, playing at 15 today, was in feisty form looking for opportunity, fielding well and running hard and deceptively, he is growing in confidence by the game; he had a primary role in the try and was my man of the match.
President John Gilsenan got his week's exercise in, as he lapped the pitch time after time, apprehensively watching the proceedings; a policeman's (or rugby president's) lot is not a happy one.
In the first half we seemed on top and although playing against a firm wind were in attack mode most of the half and with more luck and slightly sharper perception, we could have scored on a couple of occasions. Dolphin's defence grew in confidence and as the penalty and drop goal opportunities presented, Keeshan accepted. We did gain a losing bonus point, although we dropped off top spot to second, but still have destiny totally in our hands. It must be taken into account that, today we were missing front line Richard Sweeney, Steve Bradshaw and Gavin Dunne, injured, Darren Hudson and Jack Mc Grath under Leinster restrictions; and also still playing themselves back from injury Ronan Doherty and Kevin (Shiner) Sheahan. Additionally, Phillip Brophy carried an injury throughout the game. Next week we have Shannon coming to visit and they will no doubt make it difficult for us, but we should not lack confidence and with your help we can prevail.
The first half started rather unfortunately for us, as we were penalised on reception of the ball for obstruction, and Keeshan kicked the penalty, 3 - 0. We made most of the play but on 17 minutes gave away a penalty and had a man sin binned and Keeshan again kicked the points, 6 - 0. Credit be given, Marys fought well and truly and kept the score the same throughout that period and right to half time.
The second half remained tight, with our playing with good tempo and after nine minutes we won a penalty near halfway and went to touch, had four hard pressure phases, then the ball was moved right to left and Conor Hogan taking a really fine vector swept on to the ball cut through the reverse defence and made it close to the line. the forwards were there in quick support, we scooped back the ball and it came to Mark Sexton who cut for the line and scored a fine, and what was the only try of the game. Ray Crotty came close with the conversion effort from far out. so it was 6 - 5. then on 16 minutes. Keeshan had a well struck drop goal to extend Dolphin's lead and he put them further ahead to 12 - 5 on 22 minutes with a penalty. We fought on, and on 35 minutes Ray got a nice penalty to give us hope. However, hope was futile for we could not get that elusive try; try as we might. It ended 12 - 8.
Team (Rolling replacements15 C Hogan, 14 R Crotty, S Grissing, 12 M Sexton, 11 M O'Driscoll, 10 P Brophy, 9 M D'Arcy, 8 H Hogan (Capt), 7 G Austen, 6 B O'Flanagan, 5 D Hall, 4 G Logan, 3 R Sweeney, 2R Brosnan, 1 C Mc Mahon. P Moran, D Keller, K Carroll, C Lilly.