06.10.2012 1st XV v Young Munster (A)
Young Munster RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1A
Tom Clifford Park
Saturday 6th October 2012.
I suppose one could call this a game of cards (six flourished by the referee); it was certainly a seesaw ride with oscillation of fortunes throughout and probably with a fair result in the end. No team, including last year’s will go through an AIL campaign without losses and an away one to YM with a losing bonus point is not a bad outcome with 16 games to go. Not to say we could not have won, indeed we could and late on we just could not get the chance for a winning drop goal, when pressing hard. The coaches and the dozen or so St Marys’ supporters present were really happy to see our estimable skipper, Richard Sweeney being able to lead his men out for the first time for an AIL game. However, just before kickoff, Kevin Croke strained a muscle and had to be replaced by Darragh Keller, who it must be said acquitted himself well and scored a try, following the best movement of the match. Also missing were Phillip Brophy, Stephen Grissing, injured last week, with longer term injured Steve Bradshaw, Gavin Dunne and Mark Sexton making steady recovery. At inside centre, Ryan O’Loughlin made his AIL debut.
Early on it looked as though it could be a difficult 80 minutes for Marys as YM put on a lot of force with quick handling, rapid rucking, turning over ball from our possession and even putting pressure on our scrum, but fortunately it settled, and for long periods we were in the ascendancy, of course the dynamic was upset during periods of sin binning. Behind the scrum, Darren Hudson was in imperious form, commanding in the air, thus forcing change of tactics from YM. He also was inventive in attack and assiduous in his approach; he had a fine game and for me he was the man of the match. In the pack, Ciaran Ruddock was strong and hard working and, once again this week, Kevin Sheahan stood out, as he forced them back in the tackle and was ever on hand to support and reassure; he is coming back to his best form.
We have a few weeks now in which to get our injured players back, possibly introduce others for the LSLC semi final (20th October) and be ready to take on current leaders Lansdowne, in the Friday evening game (26th October), a most important game. No doubt Hugh Hogan, James Norton and Steven Hennessy, will have been disappointed by today’s loss but their abilities will ensure their charges are well prepared and ready for the fray.
As mentioned above, YM started at frenetic pace and put a lot of pressure on Marys. When St Marys carried over, the following scrum to YM led to their getting a penalty, which scrum half Haugh converted and so they led 3 – 0 on three minutes. Another scrum infringement gave scrum half, Haugh, another opportunity, which he took to make it 6 – 0 on eight minutes. The pace and pattern of the game slowly altered and both teams varied their play but neither could break defences and so at half time it remained 6 – 0.
The second half saw an increase in our pace and effort and on six minutes, while playing advantage for a penalty Marcus O’Driscoll dropped a fine goal, then Ray Crotty converted a penalty, but on 16 minutes when they were attacking close in, a deliberate knock on led to our conceding a penalty try and a yellow card, so it was now 13 – 6. On 20 minutes, we were rewarded with a penalty from Ray Crotty and it was 13 – 9 and three players were in the sin bin. The game loosened up and when we ran the ball from our 22, it came to Darren who made a dazzling run up the wing, got the ball inside and then it came to Darragh Keller, following up and he dragged two attempted tacklers over the line and it was 13 – 14 and we were hoping. However, on 35 minutes they went 16 – 14 ahead with another Haugh penalty and although we forced the pace and attacked their line and both Marcus and Andrew Burke tried to get into position to take a drop at goal all efforts were futile and it ended 16– 14 and for our supporters and players sadness. Even our ever cheerful and sporting president, Michael Fanagan looked forlorn, although as ever a gentleman, he conceded defeat gracefully. He will have and deserve better days; soon.
Team (Rolling Substitutions) 15 C Hogan, 14 R Crotty, 13 M O'Driscoll, 12 R O’Loughlin, 11 D Hudson, 10 A Burke, 9 M D'Arcy, 8 K Sheahan, 7 G Austen, 6 D Keller, 5 C Ruddock, 4 G Logan, 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 R Sweeney (Capt), 1 C Mc Mahon, A Lyons, K Haupt, C Lilly, P Starrett D Fawsitt.