29.10.2011 1st XV v Dolphin (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Dolphin RFC
AIL Division 1 A
Saturday 29th October 2011.
When so infused with hard desire,
It stokes an all consuming fire.
There was a feeling of satisfaction after this tough game, which elicited a solid and committed performance from everyone involved today. Having to play up into a very strong wind in the second half, defending a 15 – 0 lead against a whole hearted and enthusiastic Dolphin team, honed the defensive skills of the Marys’ men andt hey will feel proud of their resolve. As the game went on too, the Marys scrum climbed to the ascendancy and was an important factor in controlling the game. There were still errors, particularly at the lineout, but nothing was evident that cannot be satisfactorily addressed and the attacking game all round looked sharp, the wings had the potency to inflict much damage and young Conor Hogan, who has been showing potential over the past few seasons is now truly realising that potential and turning it into kinetic. His defence was excellent under the ball andin the tackle, while his running was elusive and celeritous in the extreme. Now, with his burgeoning confidence and innate hunger for work he was ever a torment to their defence and was for me, man of the match.
In the hard working and effective pack, an agreeably matured player, Gareth Logan, at Four, stood out. He used his wide experience wisely and never tired of working in defence and driving on ball, directly and in assistance. He is a true warrior. It was fortunate to have back, from injury and Leinster, Ciaran Ruddock; and the backrow, with him in it, was industrious, especially in defence.
The shape is starting to form and with some adjustments and continued usage, aformidable unit should emerge. This league has a long way to go and Head Coach, Peter Smyth, had adjudged this game as going to be a tough but one he felt important to win to keep on trajectory.
Playing with the wind in the first half we spent the greater part of the time in the Dolphin half and while they defended stoutly they did not enter the Marys’ 22 during the first 18 minutes and were under pressure. As has been the wont this season our wingers were prancing with anticipation and after just six minutes and our pack camped in the Dolphin half, Mark Sexton, who was sharp throughout, made a sweet break and had the defence flat, he fed Phillip Brophy, another who worked ceaselessly, and he gave a perfectly time ball to Ronan Doherty who skimmed outside two defenders and scored in Carvill Corner. Gavin Dunne fired in a fine penalty goal on ten minutes and the Marys’ players were looking comfortable, while clearly aware of the abilities of the Dolphin team facing them.
Coming near the end of the half, we appeared to be getting on top and spent a long time in the Dolphin 22. A scrum on their line, on 37 minutes, saw our impressive front row shunt faultlessly forward and we got a penalty, we took a scrum and the eight surged again, leading to another penalty and when the scrum set for the third time and was trundling towards the line, the referee awarded a penalty try, and consigned a Dolphin prop to the bin; it was converted by Gavin, so the half ended 15 – 0.
The second half saw Dolphin regroup and using their outhalf, Barry Keeshan’s renowned kicking ability, played in our half. We wisely kept ball in hand and were controlling things well, when on nine minutes a loose offload, gave their 14, Brophy, the ball and his kick ahead from our 10 metre line, he reached first and control kicked it ahead, over the line, the ever urgent Matt D’Arcy was covering at pace and he just failed to prevent a try but was adjudged to have fouled, so the referee awarded the penalty try under the posts (with Matt receiving a spell in the bin) and Keeshan converted. Young Christopher Lilly came on and he also showed exuberance and flair and led several sorties. Using the wind and possession well Dolphin tried to level and we were stretched a number of times, with Gavin effecting a fine cover tackle in the gate corner to prevent a try. However, our composure and organisation in defence, using rolling substitutions as required, meant that Dolphin never advanced further on the scoreboard and we were worthy winners.
Next Saturday we go across the foothills to Stradbrook, to visit our close relative Blackrock, and it will be, as ever it is there, difficult in the extreme. A win will add to Peter’s belief and the team’s confidence so we must help them all we can by being there.
Team (Rolling substitutions) 15 G Dunne, 14 C Hogan, 13 S Grissing, 12 M Sexton, 11 R Doherty, 10 P Brophy, 9 M D’Arcy, 8 H Hogan (Capt), 7 D Keller, 6 C Ruddock,5 D Hall, 4 G Logan, 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 D Kilbride, 1 C Mc Mahon. Replacements, P Barrett, C Lilly, G Austen, R Brosnan, R Crotty.