06.10.2013 1st XV v Dolphin (A)
Dolphin RFC v St Mary’s RFC
AIL Division 1 A.
6th October 2013.
A Sunday miscellany, without RTE, it might be considered. A mixture of fast exciting football, much endeavour (without Morse) and many errors. Well, what would one expect from the second weekend of AIL, especially when it entailed a trip to Cork on a Sunday? The game was entertaining, with some promising performances on both sides and a deserved win for Dolphin; not an unusual outcome of a visit to Dolphin, recently. At this stage, although regrettable, this loss should not be seen as ineffable.
We had neither Sweeney (Chips nor Chops), no Kevin Sheahan, no Steve Bradshaw, no Brian McGovern and no Marcus O’Driscoll, all making things more difficult. Dolphin had a steadier scrum and lineout and rucked well, they had a well organised backline with two good wingers, but did kick away a lot of ball that Gavin Dunne handled with aplomb. Marys had good defence and in the three quarters had a number of players who looked dangerous, none more so than the outstanding Conor Hogan, who was scintillating with the ball and unperturbed in defence. Dolphin had little answer to his hard direct, yet weaving runs as he cozened their defence, he had a truly admirable game and was my man of the match. Cathal Marsh, too, looked an exciting player and when he acclimatises a little more, he will be a valuable acquisition. As usual, Matt D’Arcy was buzzing and effective.
In the pack, all worked hard, especially in the loose, with Ciaran Ruddock, Colm Mc Mahon, Dylan Fawsitt and Barry O’Flanagan particularly prominent. We were unfortunate to lose Mark Fallon during the game.
There was integrity and a deal of promise to be seen in this performance, but even allowing for the missing key players,our set pieces and particularly the lineouts cause some concern; and concentration and some of the tackling must be sharpened.
Looking at AIL Division 1A over the past few seasons, it appears to me that little separates teams, with a few exceptions. It might be one masterful player and leader in a key position, or a fortunate confidence-giving run, that gives a team the edge. Therefore, at this infantile stage, the league has to settle and all teams are getting their engines tuned and personnel slotted. We have much to look forward to, so let usstart enjoying the games and giving our team the blue best.
On another lovely afternoon the teams set to their task with gusto and pace and although things were fairly even, Dolphin had a purpose and power which boded some difficulty for us and after strong pressure their outhalf Scannell, converted apenalty on eight minutes, 3- 0.
This ignited our engines and we started to put together attacks, with Conor Hogan to the fore, after one suchrocketing run on 12 minutes, he was brought down close to the line and when the ball was recycled, Cathal Marsh mesmerised the defence, as he sashayed through the Dolphincover to score a try reminiscent of an Ian Mc Kinleymasterpiece. Gavin Dunne who had an admirablycomfortable game, converted the kick from in front of the posts. On 20 minutes, a fine midfield break by Dolphin saw them add a converted try and so it was 10 – 7. However, after a flawless maul by the Marys’ pack was brought down illegally Gavin did what was asked and brought the scores level. That was on 36 minutes and so the half ended 10 – 10. Anything could happen.
The second half started tentatively, although generally Dolphin looked the more likely to score and after 11 minutes of the half, from loose play their right winger, Sweetman, showed almost pathogenic pace and good balance to cut through our defence and cover, to score a notable try, which fortunately as it turned out, Scannell failed to convert. Later he failed with a penalty kick from close in. Indeed, they came extremely close to scoring two ties later in the half.
Although we put their line under pressure on a few occasions and there was some good movement we did not look as likelyto score and maybe were fortunate to get the losing bonus point.
Now that we are settling in for the season and I expect to be reporting to you on all the Marys’ AIL games, I would invite you again this year, to contact me if you disagree, wish to make comments or suggestions or just want to complain. It is good to know someone is out there.
Footnote I should also like your help. If you have at one stage played or observed closely rugby and would like to put a little into the club and harvest that great feeling of belonging and contributing, then agree to attend a few junior games as a spotter. This will entail going to a game and if you notice a player of some talent or promise, let Rugby Council know and follow up with advice. Who knows maybe you will spot an up and coming international player. The support to the junior teams will be appreciated and most helpful. Without junior rugby, clubs cannot survive and so it is a vital contribution. Here is your chance, do not just think about it, do it. Just contact me and off you go. Junior rugby is wonderful to watch; you do not have to be a pundit so come on do it!
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 G Dunne, 14 C Hogan, 13R Hudson, 12 M Sexton (Capt), 11 C Lilly, 10 C Marsh, 9 M D’Arcy, 8 D Keller, 7 B O’Flanagan, 6 G Austen, 5 C Ruddock, 4 D Frawley, 3 K Carroll, 2 D Fawsitt, 1 C Mc Mahon, T O’Reilly, R O’Donovan, S Toal Lennon, M Donnellan, R O’Loughlin.