24.03.2012 1st XV v Blackrock (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Blackrock College RFC
Saturday 24th March 2012
AIL Division 1 A
You must lose sight of land to cross oceans and find new horizons, and so it was, with new combinations and improvisations St Marys found new horizons with a bitter-sweet win over Blackrock College, today at Templeville Road. Sweet, as so many young players stood up, proved the contention that we have a deep squad, and bitter as the great Logie and his star partner Steve Bradshaw were carried off with serious injuries, having already been deprived of skipper Hugh Hogan, Flanker/lock Damien Hall (both injured in the recent club international) and longer-term injury Ciaran Ruddock. At one stage in the second half there were two hookers and a backrower in the backrow and later a scrumhalf joined the backrow; meantime, there were two backrow forwards in the second row, Mark Donnellan, who did really so well there and Darragh Keller. And it has to said that all the afore mentioned players were gallant in the extreme. Darragh Keller needed on going running repairs to an injured leg throughout yet never flinched and had a heroic game, at one stage Barry O’Flanagan had to withdraw injured, but braved the pain to return quickly and play a staunch role in this commendable victory. It almost defies belief that our scrum was ascendant throughout, in spite of the afore mentioned disruption and this is a remarkable accolade to our superb front row, led by rampant Robert Sweeney and the Herculean efforts of the young makeshift back five inspired, by selfless Gareth Austen, in at 8 for most of the game.
This was a team effort if ever, and behind the scrum the work was evenly spread with each in the three quarters alertly active and effective. The backline today was truly impressive and the work of James Norton must be commended for he had them humming and they looked, every man of them, way ahead of most AIL back divisions.
The half backs were once again motivational, Mathew D’Arcy showing himself to be a worthy captain, leading, probing, keeping pace on the game and varying his own game, once more he was a real Duracell Bunny, at top pace to the end and showing wonderful adventure and vision in making the penultimate score and scoring one himself. Marvel Man, Phillip Brophy defies the laws of physics and physiology and is the embodiment of everything that is good in rugby. Once again, he was man of the match and in all respects impeccable, his tackles were vice like and multitudinous and his attacking and distributional services were innate and inspirational. The final score, which gained a bonus point in injury time, was brazen Brophy, there was no way he could do it but that does not stop Broph; so he just did it and high flying Hogie, who had a marvellous game, did the rest.
There will be real concern going to Cork next weekend, with Skipper Hugh Hogan, unlikely to return, poor Logie now out for the season with a broken ankle, Steve Bradshaw doubtful and various other little niggles and doubts; yet with Peter Smyth, Ciaran Potts, James Norton and Steven Hennessy making the preparations and game plans we will still go there with hearts and hopes high. If ever there was need for selflessness on the part of us the supporters this is it for we are really needed and could make the difference between winning with soaring hopes for the league or real fear fro the road ahead.
The first quarter hour of the game was a kaleidoscope of rapid running rugby when St Marys were in stratospheric mode and putting extreme pressure on the Rock defence, with breaks, probes, forward drives, mauls switches, slip balls and steps. On ten minutes, it paid off when after some hard work from imposing and in form Stephen Grissing, Marcus O’Driscoll, who was most impressive today, made a breathtaking break from mid field and found Matt D’Arcy up in support and he took it on to score a lovely try that Gavin Dunne converted. It was fourteen minutes when Phillip Brophy took a hand, he made a fine hard break and switched with Darren Hudson, who was ever active and a torment to Rock defence, he glided in and Gavin did as Gavin does and it was 14 – 0. It was 18 minutes when we were caught coming in on the side and Rock made it 14 – 3. Soon after both Gareth Logan and Steve Bradshaw had to be taken off injured and with various changes and repositioning, (M Donnellan and D Keller in second row, G Austen at 8, D Kilbride at 6, B O’Flanagan at 7) understandably, the pace dropped and the game became more mundane, although Marys continued to press. Rock did take a really fine drop goal before half time and it is was 14 – 6 at the break, which, happily to relate, was taken on the pitch rather than allowing momentum to drop with a long dressing room half time.
The second half saw renewed determination by both sides and was in the main more even. After five minutes, Rock were offside and Gavin took advantage to make the score 17 – 6 and then on 15 minutes we were awarded a penalty close to half way, quick thinking Darce tapped and went and kept going showing fleet feet and balance, he then gave the ball to Neutrino-like Conor Hogan who flew up the touch line and scored an impressive try. Ray Crotty converted. 24 – 6. We were struggling to get the much desired bonus try and, as we pressed, Rock got a really striking breakaway try from 7 Liddy after a great Conway break. The score was now 24 – 13. Just as it seemed all was done, star of the future Christopher Lilly, on in the backrow, neatly turned over the ball at the ruck; ball out to Phillip Brophy and Broph did what only he could do, go through a gap that wasn’t there and two more that he made, then he nearly fell, regained his feet seared up along the wing and found Neutrino Hogan perfectly and he hit the pedal and went for it. He scored in the corner and, to add the sauce, Ray converted from the touchline. 31 – 13, the whistle blew, wow, it was over. It ended 31 – 13.
Team (Rolling substitutions) 15 G Dunne, 14 D Hudson, , 13 S Grissing, 12 M O’Driscoll, 11 C Hogan, 10 P Brophy, 9 M D’Arcy(Capt), 8 D Keller, 7 G Austen, 6 B O’Flanagan, 5 G Logan, 4 S Bradshaw, 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 Richard Sweeney, 1 C Mc Mahon, M Donnellan, R Brosnan, D Kilbride, C Lilly, R Crotty.