08.11.2013 1st XV v Lansdowne (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Lansdowne FC
AIL Division 1 A
Friday 8th November 2013
What a treat for the supporters, this was a piquant, piping hot game on a freezing night and an admirable advertisement for Irish club rugby. The pace from start to finish was galactic. However, the Lansdowne supporters will have enjoyed it somewhat more than the Marys’ ones. Both teams displayed fitness, skill, speed and spirit and nine tries was in itself definitive; and for both teams creditable. Lansdowne were the deserved winners. Mike Ruddock is undoubtedly a superlative coach and he has produced a well- groomed youngteam that impressed with its ability to use the ball effectively, getting it across the direct running backline with celerity, so giving their two impressive wingers a soupcon of space. Their hard rucking pack is also well drilled, compact and directional. Certainly, this was the best team we have faced this season and a lot will have been gleaned from it.
The Marys’ players showed strong resolve, improved organisation and intercommunication. The chase and off line defence was fast and the backline vectors were often penetrative and effective. There were lapses of concentration, leading to missed tackles and turnovers, but overall it was a good performance and to have scored four tries and get two bonus points is self-fulfilling. The fact that on 76 minutes gone we were 16 – 33 down and ended the game 28 – 33 is full testament to the tenacity and character of this squad.
There were a number of significant performances. Brian Mc Govern, as well as his known scrummaging ability, showed his all round skill, including strong carries and slick offloads, admiration for Dylan Fawsitt grows exponentially each game. He is almost foolhardilybrave, he has pace, power and skill and he has an unquenchable determination, that burns feverishly all game; he would unquestionably take on a daemonic dinosaur for the cause. The pack, against formidable opponents, put all their puissance into the game for the 80 minutes and that persevering effort was to prove important at the end. Behind the scrum, breaks by the talented Cathal Marsh, Darren Hudson and skipper, Mark Sexton, were vital toour contention.
This is proving to be a tough and well-balanced league. Clontarf now with 18 points are leading from UCD and Belvedere. Garryowen are bottom with two points, Ballynahinch have four and St Marys in eight place, now have seven. There is a long way to go and each week we are learning, being panoptic we must believe we will be there to the end. Our next game is on Friday
22nd November at Belfield V UCD and their having been beaten tonight by Clontarf makes the game a more feasible target. It is hoped that some at least of our many injured players, shall return.
The game was hurricane from the start, as both teams ran the ball wide and fast. After thefirst of his many penetrative runs during the game, Conor Hogan was, with just a minute gone, high tackled and Cathal Marsh converted nicely the ensuing penalty. Just a minute later Lansdowne replied with an excellent try wide out by right-winger Horan, to make the score 3 – 5. It was eight minutes when Lansdowne showed power and patience with pick and drives, to cross again close in after seven phases. With the conversion, the score went to 3 – 12.
The pace remained furious and on ten minutes a gliding midfield break by Mark Sexton split the Lansdowne defence, Brian Mc Govern was on hand to continue the move and he found Hogie outside him and he did the rest in the cabbage patch corner. The score was then 8 – 12.
It was mid half when two penalties got us into the corner and a well-controlled maul from the lineout broke up into rucking. The ball came back right to left and good hands by Cathal to Chris Lilly gave him the chance to whiz in to the same corner and register a try, the score became 13 – 12. A penalty on 27 minutes gave Lansdowne the lead and yet another increased it to 13 – 18. At almost half time pressure on our scrum gave Lansdowne the chance to rob the ball and get over for a converted try to make the half time score 13 – 25. Tough.
The second half was eight minutes old and we got a Marsh penalty, but Lansdowne converted one too on 23 minutes, 16 – 28. On 29 minutes, Lansdowne scored a try, by their hooker, Tyrone Moran, leaving the score 16 – 33. They did seem to drop their pace very slightly, as they took off impressive veteran eight, Ron Boucher and promising outhalf Tom Kiersey. Marys lifted their game, put on the overalls and worked. Darren Hudson coming back for injury was showing power and pace as he went looking for action and on 36 minutes he made a sizzling run along the touch line and when stopped just short Mark Sexton was on hand to finish the job in the gate corner, we were closer, it was 42 minutes when Cathal Marsh made his now trademark slip, shuffle and step then zoom, he was gone. He lanced through their defence and then, when caught a quick recycle saw the ball come to Marko, Hesent it on to fast following Gareth Austen who drove over in Carvill corner. Cathal cleaved the posts. Yes we had lost but two got two beautiful bonus points.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 C Hogan 14 C Lilly, 13 Rob Hudson, 12 M Sexton (Capt), 11 S Toal- Lennon, 10 C Marsh, M D’Arcy, 8 K Sheahan, 7 B O’Flanagan, 6 G Austen, 5 C Ruddock, 4 D Frawley, 3 B Mc Govern, 2 D Fawsitt, 1 C Mc Mahon, A Lyons, R O’Donovan, P Starrett, Darren Hudson, R O’Loughlin.