26.01.2013 1st XV v Cork Constitution (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Cork Constitution FC
AIL Division 1 A
Saturday 26th January 2013.
You will recall that Willie the Bard used say of an occasion “And let my liver rather heat with wine than my heart cool with mortifying groans”. In sooth, that was the attitude of those supping in the clubhouse after the game and rightly so. For we are having an entertaining and positive season and if we win, we must also now and then lose. The manner of the loss today was courageous in the face of strong forces, allied to the continuing absence of our skipper, Richard Sweeney, and additionally, Jack Mc Grath, Phillip Brophy and Kevin Sheahan out from last week. That said, we started slowly and throughout the game made errors at the breakdown and lineouts. Con had a formidable and well coordinated pack that could maul with a pack of bears, a good scrumhalf, good defence and a reliable kicker. In turn, our pack worked hard and defended stoutly. Ciaran Ruddock drove himself tirelessly, as did Darragh Keller and they were well supported by the rest of the forwards. Behind the scrum, stand in skipper, Matthew D’Arcy, filled the role to perfection and his game was up to the highest Duracell Bunny standard he sets himself. A good scrumhalf reminds me of a shuttle between forwards and backs; and very much so, Matt is that. He never tired, linking, tackling, breaking and leading, and of course scoring a fine try; he was my man of the match. It must be said that we crossed the line from play for our try, while Con’s one was a somewhat hasty penalty try, with Con held up short. Generally, our backline looked more potent than Con’s.
After all that, we remain in 8th position ahead of UL Bohs and Shannon, unchanged from previously, while at the other end Lansdowne added distance between them and Garryowen, whom they beat today, with YM remaining third in spite of not playing. Con, by virtue of their win, are now in 4th place. We play in Clontarf next Friday, under Lights, then play Con again, this time in Cork, on 16th February; so a few weeks of top rate activity ahead. Of course, we have a further date with Cork Con in the final of the AIC on 27th April. That should keep you all on your toes.
Cork Con playing into the wind and uphill, showed prominently at the start and demonstrated the power of their maul and their lineout, as they drove forward. However, we had composure and as ever a well-organised and strong defence and it was a well-hit penalty by Jonathan Holland that put Con 0 – 3 ahead after nine minutes. When we were, again penalised Con put the ball to the corner and eventually set up a maul, which we had appeared to have thwarted due to the hard work of Chops Sweeney. However, the referee immediately awarded a penalty try so it was 0 – 10 ( the ball blown wide on the conversion) on 13 minutes. Gavin Dunne converted a penalty on 15 minutes and the Cork side were again successful with a penalty on 18 minutes (3 – 13), Gavin kept us in touch on 30 minutes to make it 6– 13 and that was how the half ended.
The second half was 14 minutes old when another Con penalty made it 6 – 16. We were now playing with more pace on the game, which was proving effective, and we were winning more ball at the breakdown and putting on pressure. Marys when attacking in the Con 22 and it was 25 minutes, we were awarded a penalty and, quick thinking Darce, tapped and lanced through the Con defence like a laser and touched down under the posts. Gavin converted and we were within panting distance and closing. Fortunes swayed and swung end to end until on 32 minutes and again on 41 minutes they added penalties. And, try as we did and force as we did we just could not get over the line and indeed failed to get the losing bonus point.. It ended 13 – 22.
It is only right that we should mention our own marvellous Johno Sexton (Johnny to those outside the Marys’ family, but to us he will always be Johno), who, we must not forget, did so very much for us when we really needed it and who still supports us when and how he can. He attended our game today.
His new contract in France is a well-deserved reward for his hard work, dedication and enormous ability. Everyone at Marys will be overjoyed for him and wish him wonderful happiness and success there. Yes, we are all sad to lose him from Leinster but are delighted for him and he will still be an Ireland Star.
It is a perfect opportunity for a young man to go and live and immerse himself in the incomparable culture of Paris, enjoy it ambiance, its language and its arts. Besides that, he will be able to do what he does so brilliantly, play rugby and even further improve his game. He will continue to sparkle for Ireland and be an inspiration to all young players and particularly young Marys’ players. He will always be a Marys’ Man, our Johno. Bon Chance mon Brave!
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 C Hogan, 14 D Hudson, 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 Robert Sweeney, 2 D Fawsitt, 1 C Mc Mahon, A Lyons, R Glynn, A Bourke, R O’Donovan, K Croke.