23.02.2013 1st XV v Dolphin (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Dolphin RFC
AIL Division 1 A
Saturday 29th October 2011.
Fine Angels hover, sail and waft
while mortals strive and grind and graft.
Last week may have been a synchronous symphony ofaristocratic artistry, this week it was a stubborn weave of sudorific work. For it was a really hard earned and deserved victory, with a team shorn of several star players. With injury, the Sweeneys were again out, as were Darren Hudson (we wish him well for his forthcoming operation) Steve Bradshaw, Chris Lilly and Logie. Gerry Sexton was not available due to being called up to the Irish U20 squad. This is a great honour for Gerry and I know all of us send him congratulations and the strongest possible good wishes for future games. We welcomed back (from the bench) Marvel Man Phillip Brophy and, as would be expected, he made a magnificent contribution. However, most of all we have to say well done to those fledgling players who filled the big boots of missing men. They all did tremendously well and young Mark Fallon made his AIL starting debut and can be proud of his contribution. Ronan Lennon (Junior Lennso)also got his first AIL game time and will be happy with his involvement. Another player who is not long debutant, Darragh Keller, at Eight today, showed wonderful courage and desire, in defence and attack, and played a vital role today and was my man of the match. Another player who deserves especially to be mentioned was Kevin (Shiner) Sheahan, for while returning for the second time from injury this season and out for the past four weeks, he never stopped working and leading; he had a major influence on those around him; and soon the game.
This was a particularly satisfying result, for Marys were 0- 10 down after a half hour and were 17 – 18 down closing on full time, but never gave up. This was a true Marys’ win, one of our old time wins, full of fervour, a win that was redolent of 40 years ago; when often we had to mine from the depths,supreme defiance and essence to survive. However, I do not want to give the impression that we slogged without panache, far from it; we worked many fine movements against a team of quality and stature. Sometimes, our set pieces were put under pressure but the pack coped and finally prevailed. After the game, the supporters glowed with a feeling of pride andtrue thalposis.
With Dolphin beaten, we remain sixth in the table with 26 points. We now have four points on Dolphin (they do have a game in hand) and two further on Belvo. Then UL Bohs have 18 points and at the bottom Shannon, having beaten Belvo,have 16. Cork Con are fifth, three points ahead of us, on 29 points. There are six more games to go and Lansdowne on 48 points and 12 points ahead of Garryowen on 36 are clear leaders. We play Garryowen next Saturday and for many historic reasons, this is a most significant game. You had better turn up, unless you are abroad.
We may not have reached the marvellous heights of last week, but in spite of the disruption to team selection, our admirable coaching team managed to put together a squad, with a rearranged the pack, that continued to play fast attractive and effective rugby.
St Marys started at pace against this well drilled and strong Dolphin team. We were playing down on a sneakily cold day and the three quarters were getting a fair slice of play and were causing problems for the Dolphin defence. It was however, Dolphin who struck first with a block down try on 19 minutes and their reliable Barry Keeshan converted. A penalty put them further ahead on 27 minutes with a Keeshanpenalty then a minute later, Gavin Dunne opened our score with a well-hit penalty. That was how the half ended 3 – 10
The second half commenced in the same manner as the first had finished, at pace and Dolphin’s big pack trying to gain the initiative, but our pack was not having that and worked unremittingly in defence and attack. After 8 minutes, Gavin got another penalty to make it 6 – 10. We were looking good but on 20 minutes running back from defence Dolphin scored a good try out wide and it was 6 – 15 and some Marys’ supporters were getting a bit uneasy. But a minute later Gavin knocked over another to get us to 9 - 15. When 24 minutes was passed, Dolphin struck again with Keeshan dropping a really fine goal and now it was 9 – 18 and we required two scores. We got one of them on 26 minutes and they had a man sin binned; and we went hunting. We upped the pace the old Marys’ roar was back on the terrace with “Marys – Marys –Marys” louder and louder, higher and higher our pace was, over and back we went, fast ball, hard ruck ball, reverse ball. Dolphin held and they held then, under real pressure on their line a great block down and Marvel Man, as the ball squirted sideways, hit the burners over twelve metres, through a farraginous defence, dived full length and yes, it was a score and it was 17 – 18 and a few minutes to go. Could we do it? We came back hungry, we came back hunting. The air was piercing cold, the steam rose from the players and hunger swept through the terraces and once more Marys- Marys–Marys! back we went and under pressure, Dolphin gave away a penalty, a quick tap was taken, breaths were held but, we got another penalty for obstruction and from a fair distance out, calm Gavin stroked the ball and it was 20 – 18. We went in for pints of valium. A good one.
Coming into the grounds today soon after 12.30PM, in aswirling snow shower, the two Micks, O’Flaherty and Coyle,were there, guardians of the gate. How easily we pass these men, and others like them, and forget the commitment theyfreely give, literally in hail, rain and snow. These twovolunteers also play another vital role, that of coordinatorsand coaches of youth rugby- the hope of the future of club rugby-. Thank you men!
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 K Sheahan, 5 M Fallon, 4 C Ruddock S Bradshaw, 3 A Lyons, 2 D Fawsitt, 1C Mc Mahon, B Moran, T O’Reilly, P Brophy, R Glynn, R Lennon.