05.04.2014 1st XV v Lansdowne (A)
Lansdowne FC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1A
Lansdowne Road 5th April 2014
A bouncy Castle pitch and a spring afternoon ensured a riot and reverberation of rugby and a handsome result for the visitors. Two teams set on fast-paced retentive rugby presented a kaleidoscope of mingling manhood.
St Marys took a little time to deal with the erratic ball behaviour, but then made good use of it and thrived on the consequent pace. This was a creative and fulfilling performance.
Lansdowne, under Mike Ruddock, play a fast supporting game, with layers of runners, this meant the whole spectacle was ever going to delight the small attendance (composed mainly of visiting ’Supporters).
There were short periods during the game when fortune might have swung away from Marys but overall, hunger, skill and determined ground work brought their reward. We are now on 36 points and in sixth place, ahead of Dolphin and YM. Ciaran Ruddock may have incurred the wrath of his dad, as he disobeyed and scored a well-worked try, but doubtless, Mike will forgive him. We have secured 1A status for next season with hope of more success to follow in future.
The entire team performance exceeded how each one has played recently and there were some notable contributions. Playing on a synthetic surface brings the back row to the fore (if that is not an oxymoron). Our back row was extremely active today with skipper, Kevin Sheahan, as is his wont, doing the hard, often unnoticed, but vital clean-up work, and taking on ball in difficult situations. Barry O’Flanagan had by some way, the highest secured tackle rate and supported well. Mark Fallon is now back to his best and he had his finest game in some time. He kept up his work rate throughout the game, with strong carries and important cover play. Gareth Austen coming back from injury, in a cameo role, showed his hunger too and had a fine break from a lineout, leading to a try.
The front row has been working hard and they continued today with a strong performance in the tight and loose. Colm Mc Mahon scored a try and Dylan Brian and Tom were invaluable.
With unseen work in mind, a man who has to be lauded is Darragh Frawley, who since his arrival has taken almost every lineout ball thrown to him. He is found at the centre of rucks and mauls and grinding the scrum forward with his power.
What can be said about a man that scores two tries, is instrumental in another, covers every corner of the pitch in attack and defence, and links beautifully the forwards and backs? In constant motion back to Duracell Bunny action Matt D’Arcy just had to be man of the match.
His partner Gavin Dunne, before he got a severe concussion in the second half, had a fine game and made his usual important kicking contribution.
It must be said that mid field and back three looked royalty, revelling in the fast conditions and putting the Marys’ sealing wax on the display [and involved in a couple of scores]. The other replacements who played, contributed too in this win. So well done to all.
Now comes a significant challenge and one that underlies sporting endeavour. That is to perform to the highest level of ability and persistence in the two remaining AIL games, with apparently little to play for. There is of course, rugby, sport, and fairness to those below, to consider. In long gone days, except for maybe only one game in a season, all games had no apparent reward; but the honour of the team and club was reward in itself. Next week we entertain Garryowen. This is of course a joust of honour that we must win and rise further up the table.
Lansdowne, 23 min, 40 min 82 min tries. 47 min penalty.
St Marys, 20 min, 26 min tries D’Arcy.32 min try Ruddock, 66 min try Hudson.72 min try O’Driscoll. 82 min try Mc Mahon. Cons X2 Dunne, X 2 Toal-Lennon.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 C Hogan, 14 S Toal-Lennon,, 13 R O’Loughlin, 12 Rob Hudson, 11 M O’Driscoll, 10 G Dunne, 9 M D’Arcy, 8 K Sheahan (Capt), 7 B O’Flanagan, 6 M Fallon., 5 C Ruddock, D Frawley, 3 B Mc Govern, 2 D Fawsitt, 1 C Mc Mahon, S Flanagan, T O’Reilly, G Austen, R Glynn, C Donohue.