16.02.2013 1st XV v Cork Constitution (A)
Cork Constitution FC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1 A
Saturday 16th February 2013.
To Cork we went beside the Lee,
returning home, in splendid glee.
Days like these should last forever, for it was a joyous win, a dehiscence of delicious rugby, full of riotous running and diabrotic defence. In the end, we leapt letabund and elated, led by the ladies, Mary Grissing and Joyce Farnham, while our worthy president, Michael Fanagan, beamed benignly. As has been so for many years now, John Pyne waved the team on and off the field with his well-travelled standard.
This was not an ordinary win, for although the squad travelled without Phillip Brophy and Darren Hudson and had both Robert and captain Richard Sweeney on the sidelines throughinjury, there was an air of resolute belief beforehand. In fact,throughout the game Richard was on, with water or tending to the injured (using his physiotherapeutic and medical skills),urging and counselling and playing a most important role in the win.
The rucking today was literally fast and furious, the game pace was, as it is when we are as impressive as we were today, lightening fast. Our game management was excellent and the exuberance for the game evident and infectious to all the team. Hands were safe, passing had pace and cover was industrious and deliberate; a top class performance.
The Cork Con team and their alickadoos were gracious and fulsome in their praise of our team. Stalwarts like John O’Mahony and Wally Morrissey were there after the game with genuine good wishes and proffered hospitality. They have opened a fine new clubhouse and facilities and we wish them great success with them. The brotherhood of club ruby is genuine and important, let us hope it ever continues.
Our position in the table has improved again, as we now have22 points and gone to sixth with Dolphin who have played one less game, (our opponents next Saturday), behind us by one point, and Old Belvedere are on 20 points. UL Bohs are on 18 and Shannon, are at the bottom on 12 points.
On a day of superlatives, when every Marys’ man who stepped onto the pitch gave honour to himself and to his club,there were two men who had a little bit more to give and deserve special mention. In the forwards, Dylan Fawcett really turned on the tap and drained every drop of himself, while running with ball in hand, backing up carriers, plunging into rucks, tracking opponents and putting down every attack at hand and he carried his primary duties with élan. He was in fact the best forward on the field. In the backs, there was man of might, an antipodean traveller returned of late, who strode the scene with Herculean ability, Darragh Fanning, from start to end, although on the left wing he seemed to have the power of bi-location. His chestnut mane could be seen emerging from rucks with ball, from tackles, from breakdowns and turnovers. He ran riot with ball in hand, he crushed the opposition in defence and he showed himself to be a top class winger and rugby player; he was my man of the match.
But this was not just a day of two great warriors, it was a real squad effort, a squad managed astutely by Hugh, James and Steve, who can take marvellous credit too for the win, as can Tireless Terry and his managerial acolytes.
Our scrum, with an almost neophytic front row, vitally stood ascendant all game. Colm Mc Mahon, our newest, and fullydeserved club international player, brought all along with him and made a vital contribution in all aspects of the game. Arthur Lyons, in his first start in AIL, showed that, in that toughest of areas he can be grate. In the row, Steve Bradshaw is a man of muscle and brain and he cleverly handled second row affairs today and continued to nurture his partner’s development; a major mover in the shunt department. Gerry Sexton, has grown into a Sexton figure, as the season matures so does Gerry, Today his lineout work was peerless taking balls near the ozone layer with absolute ease and he took one ball beautifully that led to a try. He was also deeply involved in loose play and for me had his best game he has played for the senior team.
The back rowers are probably still running in their sleep for, they seemed to do so in perpetuo, as they scooped up work. Once again, Ciaran Ruddock was putting the fear of God up carriers as he crushed them and he seemed to be there, with his two colleague to seal off every hole or gap. His contribution to the team is immense. Gareth Austen, a true seven, did a great deal of undercover work for the commando unit that is the backrow and near the end of the game when many were tiring he was firing on all four. Another who grows in confidence and work rate every game is Darragh Keller, he took us out of trouble several times running hard from defence while he manned the trenches when the onslaughts came, as they did and as would be expected from a team of Con’s character.
Ah’ Duracell Bunny himself and acting captain, Matthew D’Arcy, what can be said of his superb performance, his contribution as a scrumhalf was nigh perfect, but his variation was almost uncanny for he chose often today the blind and when he did he was right, he scooped the kicks he grubbered the kicks and he was right; and he led his man with alacrity. He was major influence for good on the game; he was right.
Any man who scores 15 points in a game, half his team’s total, deserves special credit, but Gavin Dunne deserves more than that, he worked non stop, his defence was strong, his probing important and his support play was super. Outsidehim, Robbie Hudson and Marcus O’Driscoll have formed aformidable partnership in midfield and there were in command all game, both ran excellent vectors and made good decisions; the gates were locked to Con throughout. Both made hard running breaks with Marcus coming close on a few occasions. As with the remainder of the backline, they were considerably ahead of their opponents. A man who scored two fine tries, one that was effectively worth 14 points and was scored from starting at his own line leaving all defenders flailing in his wake, needs nothing else said of him. Rightwing, Stevie Wonder Toal-Lennon was a wonder, he had the opposition almost bewildered on occasions and never let his man free.
And behind them all, was Hogie, Conor Hogan, a running magician, he kept Con guessing as he ran back at them from kicks and joined the line with piercing runs, he was unfortunate not to score on one occasion and had a really fine game in attack and defence, with excellent positioning.
I cannot forget the replacements, each one making an important contribution and being integral parts of this signal win.
This was one of those days we started as we meant to continue, with high pace and determination and after 25 minutes of pretty continuous pressure, we converted a penalty through Gavin. Then shortly afterwards turned over Con’s scrum and marched on with ruthless power; then three derives led by Darragh Keller, saw Darce whiz to the right, time his pass to Stevie who stepped outside, put his boot to the floor and went over. Gavin collected the extra two points and we led 0 – 10. It was on 38 minutes and Con were getting into the game they had a sustained attack and ran the ball wide tothe left, almost over the Marys’ line the ball went loose and Stevie Wonder picked it and went, straight into Mk 2, he did what few players can do make it all the way to the line at thefar end, a wonderful run and once again Gavin did his trick 0 – 17. This was how it ended the half.
The second half was four minutes old when Gavin struck again and it was 0 -20 and then on 11 minutes he made it 0 – 23. When the second half had 14 minutes on the clock Gerry took a soaring catch in the line out to set up an attack, then near the line a maul was set up which made good progress; as it slowed Duracell slipped away from the side and sliced through the defence to score a lovely try and Gavin yet again did the rest and it was 0 – 30, yes 0 – 30. On 26 minutes, Con broke their duck with good converted try and on full time squeezed over in the corner to make it 12 – 30. A memorable win.
I have had a number of Emails and comments about not getting a report on the Clontarf game. My apologies there has been a problem for Keith and Mossy with the Email system,but the report is on the website.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 C Hogan, 14 S Toal-Lennon, 13 M O’Driscoll, 12 R Hudson, 11 D Fanning, 10 G Dunne, 9 M D’Arcy, (Capt), 8 D Keller, 7 G Austen, 6 C Ruddock, 5 G Sexton, 4 S Bradshaw, 3 A Lyons, 2 D Fawsitt, 1C Mc Mahon, R O’Donovan, T O’Reilly, M Fallon, R Glynn, A Bourke.