06.04.2013 1st XV v Shannon (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Shannon RFC
AIL Division 1A
6th April 2013RFC
All week returning strong belief
stirred fiery win and great relief
It is April of mild showers and spring flowers, or at least that is what it is supposed to be. Instead, it is cold and breezy our breaths sharp and wheezy, but today it was mild and sunny and we had a lovely day with firm pitch, sun and a cool easterly, with a cool easterly playing a hot southerly.
This is a rejuvenated Shannon team, fighting for division status. When we played at Coonagh earlier in the season, Shannon were disorganised and dejected, today they were tough, hard and committed, more credit then, to Richie’s team which kept working and in the second half moving it wide where there was space and ascendency. Good it was to have Richie back in full harness and no doubt, Hugh and James will have been pleased to see their squad return to winning systems.
Early on, scrums were going Shannon’s way but equivalence was soon reached. Both teams had some lineout variability throughout the game. The Marys’ back row looked sharper and more effective than recent weeks however, the big difference between the teams was behind the scrum, where right across the backline we had a distinct advantage; maybe not as often exploited as it might have been, especially in the first half. Rob Glynn, at Nine, making his first AIL start, looked comfortable and bright and Marvel Man Phillip Brophy was at his keenest and scored a marvellous solo try. Outside him everyone of the three quarters were on form and Marcus O’Driscoll remembered his time at Shannon and left them with striking memories of him, for he ran penetratively from all angles, straightened well and was aware of options at all junctures. He made a significant contribution to the game and he was my man of the match.
There is credit due too, for the Marys’ team keeping calm and controlled over the last 18 minutes with a man down.
Now we are in seventh position on 34 points and four ahead of Old Belvedere, and a further four ahead of Shannon, with UL Bohs (our next opponents on Saturday 13th) on 22 points. Therefore, we are assured of not going down automatically and look certain to remain in division 1A. The big focus will now be on 27th April when we face Cork Con in the All Ireland Bateman Cup final at Templeville Road.
The intent of Shannon was clear from, the start and they really got involved from kick off. After only three minutes, their Nine, Rob Guerin, converted a penalty, but Gavin Dunne evened the score on nine minutes. There was an urgency about the team and no more so than about Philly, and when in attack, he received a ball just inside the 22 and he feinted, stepped and blasted off arcing around two defenders, stepped again and went over close in, it was a really superb individual effort. He was also exhorting all around him. It remained a high intensity battle mainly close in, hand-to-hand combat, tough and fair and on 28 minutes, Guerin added another 3 points, but Gavin got back the three, two minutes later. Then, only one minute later , Shannon outhalf, Tadhg Bennett got over for a try to make the score 13 – 11 and on 40 minutes Guerin made it 13 – 14 with a penalty and so it was half time. Honours even was a fair reflection in any man’s mirror.
The second half we were playing towards the Road end, which gave us encouragement, although unusually the wind (easterly) was against us. After six minutes we were caught offside, and Guerin took them a further three points ahead. We increased the pressure and when on 16 minutes and in attack, a hurried line clearing kick was well fielded by Gavin, just outside the 22 he ran hard and straight along the touchline, cut in with the failing, flailing arms of Shannon not enough to stop him; and he scored a fine try. He converted it to make it 20 – 17. On 27 minutes, an artistic move, when Stevie Wonder took a ball on the wing and On 27 minutes, there was an artistic move, when Stevie Wonder took a ball on the wing and stepped his man, with grace, then beat three other defenders, gave the ball inside to big Gerry Sexton who was supporting well, he took it up to the line and gave to the fast Fawcett and he went over; Gavin did the rest and it was 27 – 17. Shannon put on great pressure and got three points back with a penalty; but that was as close as they could get, 27 – 20, try as they did. They got a losing bonus point, well deserved to keep up their hopes of at least a play off with second team in 1B.
This was a really workman like performance and gets us in good form for 27th April.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 G Dunne, 14 S Toal-Lennon, 13 M O’Driscoll, 12 R Hudson, 11 D Fanning, 10 P Brophy, 9 R Glynn, 8 D Keller, 7 K Sheahan, 6 M Fallon, 5 S Bradshaw, 4 C Ruddock, 3 Rob Sweeney, 2 Richard Sweeney(Capt), 1 C Mc Mahon, D Fawcett, A Lyons. A Bourke G Sexton, G Austen.