15.10.2011 1st XV v Shannon (A)
Shannon RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1 A
Saturday 15th October2011.
In greatest need they did not cry,
But laboured more with mighty try
Yes, we lost, but this was an endeavour that made St Marys’ proud, for it was a valiant one, full of concentration and energy; one that was redolent of the jousts of Pottsy and Jemmo, Mickey the Fish and Dev, Deano and Moloney, Lynch and Sweeney and Cookie and Carmody. It should be noted that Marys scored the only try of the game. This is a different Shannon side to last year’s, it is led by one time Marys member Stephen Keogh in the manner of Stephen and Shannon. So it was a worthy match, particularly in the forward furnace where we matched them impact for impact, with our captain, Hugh Hogan, leading the way in all respects, today he was gargantuan and inspired his men to noble effort; he was clearly my man of the match. We had to start without Colm Mc Mahon at prop, due to an ear injury and his replacement Rory Brosnan, made his starting Marys AIL debut and did well, particularly in the loose. It was a game worthy too of Thomond Park and it was super to see Robert (Chops) Sweeney rampaging through, time after time, reminiscent of his SCT days, he crowned it all with a fine try and it was likewise uplifting to see Damian Hall, charging like a rutting stag in attack and defence. Overall, the pack increased the work rate emphatically from last week, showing the value of previous game analysis and coaching and correction.
The backs too were in the mood. I do not have to tell you that Matt (Duracell) D’Arcy was again dynamic. He kept his pack moving, was furacious for the ball and never stopped working, while giving his partner at 10, Phillip Brophy, every assistance and Phillip responded, ashe applied every stratagem to good effect. The mid field was solid, while on the wing, Darragh Fanning who is not just a fine player, he is a totally honest player and he was again today and heworked hard all game, he was matched by Conor Hogan on the far wing, who looked dangerous, swift and eager too, as was Gavin Dunne at 15. It is important to mention that thereplacement players used, made notable contributions and it shows a fine squad is forming. Probably, we can increase awareness of support players when with the ball, so that we keep it alive more often to sustain attacks and we might have got it wide a little more often. Shannon have a fast rucking game, strong set pieces and a notable maul, with which it is difficult to deal. But overall, we matched them and edged it outwide, the result however, went with Shannon, we did get a losing bonus point, but unfortunately the estimable hooker Richard Sweeney was injured during the game and we will hope he will be ready for the next game in two weeks time. His replacement, David Kilbride, as he does always, put in a fine performance too, when he came on.
We showed our intention of ball in hand attack from the outset and our backs were running hard and looking for work. A fine attack involving Phillip, Damian and Mark Sexton was brought to an end illegally and Gavin made it 0- 3 from the spot and their 10, Quinn Mc Donogh, levelled on 10 minutes, from an offside penalty. Matters were level and lively until 20 minutes when Rory Brosnan grabbed a loose ball at the end of the lineout , one of several during the game, and made progress; Shannon went off their feet in the ensuing ruck and Gavin accepted, but on 27 minutes one of their impressive mauls was brought down so they equalised, 6 – 6, and they got a drop goal from winger O’Donovan on 33 minutes to go ahead before half time 9 – 6..
The second half remained a high intensity encounter and when six minutes was gone they went ahead with a hands in the ruck penalty, they increased their lead to 12 – 6 with a drop goal from their 10, after we brought down a maul and the referee was playing advantage. We really got working then and put together several good attacking moves, but their defence was strong. When in their 22, Steve Bradshaw who wasworking hard both close in and at the lineout, stole a loose lineout throw and drove on, we rucked fiercely and the ball came to the galloping Chops, whodrove himself over for a deserved try and brought the score to 15 – 11. Unfortunately, although we continued to presswe could not improve the score and they got a penalty for off side in the 38thminute and ended the game 18 – 11.
Team (Rolling substitutions) 15 G Dunne, 14 C Hogan, 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, 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 Richard Sweeney, 1R Brosnan. Replacements, D Kilbride, C Lilly, M Donnellan, R Doherty, M O’Driscoll, G Austen.