09.11.2012 1st XV v Old Belvedere (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Old Belvedere RFC
AIL Division 1 A
9th November 2012.
Sailing straight on to comely end
Hard fate the outcome did emend.
You got not moans or excuses, but rather pride and hope if you discussed this game tonight with the players or the management; and rightly thus. If you have been at all the games so far this season, you will have noted in this game a new surge in fluency, pace and execution. It is clear that Hugh and his colleagues, James and Steven have been working extremely hard, as has been the squad. The club is privileged to have such a committed and accomplished head coach to take the place of the estimable Peter Smyth and doubtless, soon his worth will be realised.
There were many areas of improvement discernable with which the coaching musketeers will be happy. There was an improvement in concentration and rhythm, as there was in readjustments after plays. There was a defensive step up and scrummaging was solid, especially considering that Robert Sweeney was out with back spasm. Arthur Lyons was a worthy substitute and across the other side, sandwiching the commendable skipper, Richard Sweeney, Colm Mc Mahon was exceptional and probably Marys’ man of the match. At the back of the scrum too, Kevin Croke’s return was notable.
The return of Phillip Brophy was a real and valuable fillip, putting in a paramount performance, showing strong leadership and combining well with Matt D’Arcy to create a fulcrum of activity. Obviously, we did not win and needless to say, there are areas requiring adjustment and polishing but we must feel encouraged.
Old Belvedere too played with a degree of panache and showed commendable handling and their in play kicking, particularly in the second half, was astute and profitable. Together the two teams made it an enjoyable game to watch and again a good banner for Irish club rugby.
This week Marys started markedly better than of recent ones and had territorial advantage playing towards the road with a stiff breeze. After five minutes, Gavin Dunne converted a penalty, but Belvo cancelled this out with one on eight minutes. We continued to attack with good pace on the game and on 19 minutes we stole a ball in their 22 and after three phases of pick and over, the ball came out to Conor Hogan, who was dangerous all game, and he went over in the corner, Gavin convincingly converting from the touchline. It was 10 – 3. On 27 minutes Gavin made it 13 – 3 and that was how it was at halftime.
The second half saw Belvo with the wind and in the second minute outhalf, Steven Crosbie, converted his second penalty, but on 12 minutes,valuable Gavin restored the differential with another penalty to leave the score 16 – 6, but Marys were finding it difficult to get across the attack line. Belvo came more into the game, using the wind well to get themselves into good positions, and on 26 minutes after a series of phases got over for a good try, which Crosbie failed to convert, he also missed a penalty soon after and it seemed then that the storm was over; and we settled.
Although it was tense and Belvo battled, we continued to play strongly and heading into stoppage time, we looked to be in control. However, what a shock it was for the Marys’ supporters when into the fourth minute of stoppage time and attacking in the Belvo 22, a penalty was conceded; and they moved down field. Marys conceded another penalty, now in the Marys’ 22 close in Belvo ran it, they ran it straight, then right, then with an overlap to the left they scored in the gate corner. It was a difficult kick for the conversion, but Crosbie made amends for earlier misses and put it between the posts with the last kick of the game to make it 16 – 18. It felt like dacoitage, Belvo had won and silence descended on Templeville Road.
As usual, after the match, our gracious president, Michael Fanagan, smilingly entertained his guests as he had done before the game at the pre-match meal, but inside he pained deeply. However, he is, as most Marys’ supporters and members are, confident of a change in fortune soon. Next Sunday we have the long journey to Coonagh to face Shannon, never an easy trip, even with their being currently at the bottom of the table. Michael asks that as many as possible come along and help out with determined support. You saw during the week, the message from club captain, Richie Sweeney, expressing his appreciation of the support the team gets from the supporters and asking for even more; let us respond and make the trip.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 G Dunne 14 C Lilly, 13, M O’Driscoll, 12 R Hudson, 11 C Hogan, 10 P Brophy, 9 M D’Arcy, 8 K Croke, 7 G Austen, 6 K Haupt, 5 G Sexton, 4 C Ruddock, 3 A Lyons, 2 Richie Sweeney (Capt), 1 C Mc Mahon, T O’Reilly, D Keller, P Starett, K Sheahan, S Toal-Lennon. D Fawsitt.