20.04.2013 1st XV v Young Munster (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Young Munster RFC
AIL Division 1A
Saturday 20th April 2013.
Preamble: - A glimpse of sun and spring and soon it was blithe and bright inside and outside as all waited for the game. It was the last AIL game of the season and the last lunch, so for President Michael Fanagan a slightly sad day and he kept his best speech to last. He welcomed Young Munster and special guests of the day and made particular mention of Mrs Pat Moloughney, widow of the very recently deceased former St Marys’ Club Captain, Diarmuid Moloughney, and her daughter, Niamh. A group, organised by Alberto Andreucetti, of old teammates and close friends of Diarmuid’s had also come to the lunch to remember him. Included there were Sean Lynch, Paddy Moran Eddie French, Barry O’Donovan and current president of Grange Golf Club, Mattie Jones.
In addition, there, was a group of bedizened past pupils of St Mary’s College (class of 1952) led by “Famous Fred” Cogley, Willie Gray and Caiomh O’Broin. They had a super time and reminisced freely, no doubt, often cozening each other with these old stories.
Our own, Tony Ward, commentator and former rugby superstar, gave the post-prandial dissertation in his interesting manner and gave his knowledgeable insight into the Munster club game and Limerick City. He also spoke emotionally of his love of his old school St Marys, and his many friends from that time. It might be noted that a few players in the squad were developed by Tony and players like Steve Toal-Lennon, Ryan O’Loughlin and Rob Glynn are testament to Tony’s coaching skills.
The relatively sparse group of spectators bruit about the ground had a lot to enjoy in the game that saw a true seesaw as the game, we saw, progressed. Over the season, Hugh and James have used forty players, many new to AIL, and thus helped develop a squad to challenge hard as seasons progress. There were some sparkling performances from players on both sides. It might be naive to suggest that the sparkle was in a tested arena, for it has to be admitted that neither team were playing for more than honour, but none the less, it gave a sketch of what the finished canvass might be. At the end therefore, neither sets of supporters were either letabund or full of ululation.
There are still some problems with the set pieces and ball retention, but the positives outweigh the negatives and with a little honing, we can face Con with confidence.
The game was played at pace on a good surface and having Skipper, Richard Sweeney, and scrumhalf, Matt D’Arcy, back made an important difference to the cohesion and control of the game. Several players impressed, before the big cup final next Saturday and will be asking for inclusion. In the forwards big Ciaran Ruddock was impressive and powerful, was well supported by his partner Gerry Sexton, the backrow was energised and there it was good to see Gareth Austen finding form again. The front row worked hard and young Dylan Fawsitt when he came on was a like an electric eel.
Behind the scrum, the team again looked to demonstrate talent, Marvel man hunted and urged, Rob Hudson had fruitful and hard working afternoon, Darragh Fanning is a true threat whether on the flanks or at centre, Conor Hogan looked happy to be back and Stevie Wonder Toal-Lennon again looked effervescent and effective. Gavin is ever there to clean up, never overstated ever willing to take the points. Overall, it was an enjoyable spread.
At half time a number of people went to the bar and others home, as the score was 29 – 7, how wrong they were as there was much more to be seen and enjoyed; indeed at one stage YM had closed it to 29 - 24. Eventually we did run out 44 – 24 winners but no walk over it was.
The game started in a lively fashion an YM put severe pressure on the home line but missed several chances to score and it was not until 14 minutes when Gavin Dunne, like a true toxophilite, secured a fine penalty to open the score. We increased the pace of the game and then after a number of phases, the ball was moved wide and Phillip sent a superb long skip pass to Conor Hogan who scored in the corner and Gavin added the two points, 10 – 0. Three minutes later Gavin came into the line nicely straightened and sent a the bal to Stevie Wonder who did what he does so well beat men and score and he did this and Gavin again converted to make it 17 – 0. On 32 minutes a very fine movement involving Gerry Sexton, Richie Sweeney and then from the breakdown Matt D’Arcy made a searing break before transferring to following Arthur Lyons who got his first AIL try, 22 – 0. It was 38 minutes when Fange, who YM were finding hard to handle made a strong break. When stopped at the line the ball got to supporting Rob Hudson who scored and Gavin made it 29 – 0.
YM did not give in they raised their efforts and into injury time of which the referee played eight minutes, they ran it wide having battered close in, found us short and it was 29 – 7, after the conversion. It was also half time.
The Second half was little fragmented for a first few minutes then YM got break away try and scored a gain on eight minutes and again on 18 minutes, all converted, and scored a penalty on 20 minutes to make the score 29 – 24. I was thinking I am glad it is not this stage last year. On 24 minutes, Gavin eased the tension with a penalty, 32 – 24 and a great move involving Fange, Dylan Fawsitt and then Rob Hudson showing pace and poise scored a try converted by Gavin, 39 – 24. The final score was in the 44th minute after some good interplay with Dylan to the fore and then Kevin Sheahan capped a fine display with a non-converted try. Just before the end, a sizzling break by Chris Lilly saw him cross the line, but he was called back, as Large Logie, then on, had slightly obfuscated his passage to the line. It finished 44 – 24.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 G Dunne, 14 S Toal-Lennon, 13 D Fanning, 12 R Hudson, 11 C Hogan, 10 P Brophy, 9 M D’Arcy, 8 D Keller, 7 G Austen, 6 K Sheahan, 5 G Sexton, 4 C Ruddock, 3 A Lyons,2 Richard Sweeney (Capt), 1 C Mc Mahon, .C Lilly, G Logan, N Murphy, M Fallon D Fawsitt