19.01.2013 1st XV v Galwegian (A)s
Galwegians RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
All Ireland Cup Semi Final
19th January 2013.
The last time St Marys visited Galway, nine years ago we saw our sun go down on Galway Bay. Today we saw our star on the rise, as we advanced to the final of the Bateman (AI) Cup, when we shall face Cork Con, as we did the last time we reached the final.
Galwegians probably surprised the players a little, as they did those few supporters who made the cold trip to the Western Capital. They produced a well-organised and skilful team with some pace and a powerful pack that could scrummage strongly. However, when Marys ran the ball wide they looked capable of scoring. Marys probably did not play to their full potential but did what was required, including scoring three tries, and Hugh Hogan et al will be happy with that.
Acting captain, Mathew D’Arcy, (Skipper Richie Sweeney is making good progress now and hopes to be ready for the Clontarf away game) kept his side moving with a livelyperformance and out wide both wingers and full back Conor Hogan looked potent. In addition, Stevie (Wonder) Toal-Lennon on the right wing, converted the three tries, including his own and kicked a fine penalty. He again looked a quality player and was my man of the match. The pack worked hard all game but never showed, the almost rabid urgency, of whichthey are capable. Kevin Sheahan, early in the first half, had to come off with an ankle injury and in the second half Marvel Man, Phillip Brophy, had a clash of heads, when, brave as ever, he went up to retrieve his own high kick ahead. Likewise, he had to withdraw. All the subs who came on made valuable contributions and ensured we held the lead to win. So job done and mission accomplished, leaving super president, Michael Fanagan, essorant and inhigh spirits for his club dinner later in the evening.
Galwegians showed their intent from the start and put pressure on with forwards drivingonward. Marys stood firm and it was even in all respects until the 12th minute when after a series of rucks and carries, the ball came to Conor Hogan in mid field and he used his celerityto round a man and pass to fast following Stevie Toal-Lennon and he used his pace and skill to finish the move and score a fine try, which he converted; 0 – 7. This settled the team and they put in some good work and looked the better side at that stage, in fact, Marys went further ahead on 24 minutes. Dylan Fawsitt made strong inroads and set up the ball for Matt D’Arcy to pick on Galwegians’ 22 and skim along, timing his pass to Darragh Fanning who used his power to glide over in the corner. Stevie converted from far out. On 31 minutes Galwegians scored a good try out wide and it was 5 – 14.and they added a converted try on 42 minutes from a lineout and maul on our line so the score at half time was 12 – 14 and looking as close as it was.
The second half started with increased pace and on six minutes, Stevie added a penalty to make it 12 – 17. On fifteen minutes, Marys showed their own power from a maul, the pack went over with Gareth Austen getting the touch down. This brought the score to 12 – 24 andit was looking comfortable. But not for long, as the Westerners, having made their way up field on 22 minutes, responded with a powerful scrum that was reset, and then on collapse,the referee awarded them a penalty try. It was 19 - 24. With the unfortunate withdrawal of injured Phillip Brophy Gavin Dunne came on at 10 and when it said 34 minutes he hit a fine penalty from far out to give some breathing space. Galwegians got a penalty of their own on 42 minutes. It was now 22 – 27 and then Gavin added another penalty on 43 minutes to end the scoring and soon after the game, which therefore finished 22- 30. It was perfect preparation for next week’s AIL game against Cork Con at Templeville Road which we will all look forward to and to which you must all come.
Big congratulations are due to head coach Hugh Hogan, who has been appointed by Leinster to the position of Elite Player Development Officer (EPDO). He was selected from a large group of top qualified candidates. This is a highly coveted position with prestige.
Hugh has been with us for many years now and has made a most significant contribution to our club’s development. He had been an outstanding player with The High School where he captained their SCT, likewise as a student in TCD, he captained the rugby club and coming toMarys, he immediately made an impact. Besides his top quality natural ability, his attention to detail, his superb physical shape and his disciplined approach made him an outstanding player and added to his leadership qualities ensured that he would excel in the club game. Soon he was a Club international and then captained the club international side. In 2009-10 Hugh captained the St Marys and was just short on winning the AIL. Then, unusually in modern club rugby, he again captained the club last season and, with the coaches and management, emphatically delivered what all members longed for, the division 1A AIL.
He then took over as club coach, having previously successfully coached the U 20s and U21s. Already the team has won the LSC and is in the final of the Bateman cup and is climbing up the league table. He would of course point out that he is being wonderfully supported by his fellow coaches, management and the club captain, Richie Sweeney, and his squad. During all of this, he has continued his studies and is just now completing a law degree.
Although, this will mean his loss to the club as coach, he assures all that he will remain very much part of St Marys and will be involved again in the future. So I know we all wish him great success and enjoyment in his new role.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 C Hogan, 14 S Toal-Lennon, 13 M O’Driscoll, 12 R Hudson, 11 D Fanning, 10 P Brophy, 9 M D’Arcy, (Capt), 8 K Sheahan, 7 G Austen, 6 C Ruddock, 5 G Sexton, 4 S Bradshaw, 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 D Fawsitt, 1C Mc Mahon, A Lyons, R Glynn, G Dunne, D Keller, R O’Loughlin, P Starett.