03.11.2012 1st XV v Dolphin (A)
Dolphin RFC v St Mary’s RFC
AIL Division 1 A.
3rd November 2012.
Heading down to Cork this morning the sun skimmed off the roadway and the cats’ eyes winked at us teasingly. Was this a harbinger or dialectic of the game? As events evolved, theyproved that sometimes, great hopes and intentions do not self fulfil and no matter the resolve, if parts are missing from a whole, it will struggle. And we struggled today. I have to say straight away that no one shirked or shied and additionally I must emphasise that our situation is not as bad as would appear in the table.
The league campaign is in its infancy. There are 14 games to go and each one has the potential of five points, we face two reasonable games over the next two weeks and with some of our many missing players to return; we must be optimistic. Meanwhile we have introduced many newer, younger players to the melange and the experience will have benefit, ultimately, for the team and the players. Last year we won the league with a sustained high-paced game and a reasonable helping of good fortune. This year as yet, we have had an inordinate number of injuries of lead players. Players and rhythm will return; and we will advance.
I did opine last week that Musgrave Park might be a challenging place to visit and so it proved to be. In addition to losing the most influential Phillip Brophy to a training injury on Thursday, in the first half Skipper Richard Sweeney took a blow that he carried for the remainder of the game and we lost Marcus O’Driscoll to injury. During the game too, we had two periods of ten minutes without players due to yellow cards.
Over the past three matches, we have started slowly and thiswas how it was again today and unfortunately we never recovered lost ground and only in the last ten minutes or so,when we raised the pace of the game to our suited fast style,did we look to have any control. During this stage, we showed what was possible, with Kevin Sheahan and Ciaran Ruddock making good ground around the edges and Chris Lilly probing out wide.
As mentioned we started slowly and Dolphin went into attack, running the ball and rucking quickly and effectively. Thispaid off for them as they set up multi phases after 8 minutes and scored out wide with Barry Keeshan converting. Dolphincontinued in ascendancy and on 20 minutes added a penalty to go 10 – 0. Gavin Dunne got us on the score sheet on 21 minutes and added another penalty on 31 minutes and it was 10 – 6. It was on half time when they added three more points so it was 13 – 6 and we looked as though we might get back into the game.
The second half saw a renewal of pressure from Dolphin and they were rewarded with a try, Gavin added a penalty for Marys but the score went to 25 – 9 after a penalty try from a scrum on our line was deemed to have been wheeled illegally. Things looked bad when they had a breakawayconverted try and the score went to 32 – 9 but we dug in well and on 82 minutes with Kevin Sheahan making good ground the ball went to Christopher Lilly who skilfully slalomed through several defenders and was just stopped short of the line; the ball came back to Rob Hudson who took his chance well and scored a try that Gavin converted and so it ended 32 – 14.
As you will be aware we play Old Belvedere next Friday under lights, at home and we will face this testing challenge with confidence tempered with caution. The last evening game turned out to be an enjoyable occasion, so you will be expected. Remember, when fit, we do have a strong committed squad flooded with talent and our captain, Richard Sweeney, and president, Michael Fanagan, are exceptionally popular and charismatic and both have an intense loyalty and love of St Marys. I have no doubt that we will soon be competing at the top end of the league, but to ease that elevation we have to play our part too by giving unconditional support.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 G Dunne14 C Lilly, 13, M O’Driscoll, 12 R Hudson, 11 C Hogan, 10 A Burke, 9 M D’Arcy, 8 D Keller, 7 G Austen, 6 K Haupt, 5 G Sexton, 4 C Ruddock, 3 Rob Sweeney, 2 R Sweeney (Capt), 1 C Mc Mahon, T O’Reilly, R O’Loughlin, P Starett. S Toal-Lennon K Sheahan