22.11.2013 1st XV v UCD (A)
UCD RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1 A
The Bowl, Belfield
Friday 22nd November 2013.
Well a bowl is a perfect place to mix, blend and beat and that is how it happened. There hasbeen some uncertainty iterated, this evening deleted all. The mix of forward and back play and the blend of players worked efficaciously under the perspicacity of Peter Smyth with a memorable result, one that had our admirable president Steven Hennessy gurgling with happiness.
The return of the majestic Marvel Man, Phillip Brophy, was the extra secret ingredient in thebowl that made the pudding a true Christmas cracker dish. The question must be, is he from Xanthium V11 in the fourth Corridian System, or Earth? Phillip, due to study, has onlyplayed a couple of J2 games this season. With Gavin Dunne injured and Cathal Marsh awaywith Leinster. He came in, at the request of close friend and Club Capt, Darragh Fanning,and he inspired and sparkled. He took the ball to the line, he probed, he flicked, he skipped, he switched. He soared for ball in the air, he cleaved runners with tackles. Marvel Man is a just soubriquet, he was just marvellous and how his teammates loved it and responded to him. If there has been a better all round player at St Marys over very many years I do not recall him.
As a game, this was an absorbing and enjoyable match of two sporting teams determined to play fast, effective rugby. In true College fashion, UCD ran the ball from every corner of the field and looked to probe rather than kick at every opportunity. Marys, a little more sagacious, mixed the game and chose moments for each facet. Peter et al, will be very happy with the execution of most aspects of the Marys’ game. The lineout was almost perfect, the maul was irresistible and a potent weapon; and defence was contumacious.
There were on both sides some handling errors and line drift, but overall the quality was commendable on a windless, freezing evening, perfect for players. It was however, lessperfect for the small crowd of supporters of both teams, and other brass primates present. It was interesting to note the many November pogonophiles, both on the field and on the terraces; perhaps they felt warmer. I had the pleasure of watching the game with a mosterudite and committed Marys’ member and supporter, Dr Michael Farrell. He watched with great perturbation and trembling, the last two failed penalty efforts from UCD, when either could have given success to the home side.
Let there be no mistake Marys deserved this victory and will have profited in many waysfrom it, not least in the gaining of valuable points. After the Lansdowne game, wheredetermination was evident, it was clear that we could progress and win here tonight, as I mentioned in reporting that game. However, all involved will be buoyant after this fine performance and will feel well able to hack on from here. The confidence gained could be a telling asset on next Saturday when we entertain (let us hope, not too well) Old Belvedere.
After six games played, Clontarf lead with 22 points from our visitors of next Saturday, Old Belvedere with 21. We are in eight place with 11 points, three behind Lansdowne and Dolphin with 14 points each. Ballynahinch remain three points behind us and Garryowen are bottom, with two points.
This was a game when all Marys’ players involved, gave of their very being, but I haveespecially to mention one, Dylan Fawsitt (Dynamo Dylan). Dylan, from the first kick off chased and scurried after every ball, he tackled with adamantine will, he was in support of all attacks and showed great rugby sense as well as ability. In addition, his set play was nigh on perfect, he used to have a tendency to miss some throws, not now. His energy, determination and front leadership qualities are unsurpassed.
Dylan’s two comrades in arms at row one, Colm Mc Mahon and Brian Mc Govern, were powerful and resourceful tonight and had the UCD scrum crumbling backwards. They alsomade notable and skilled contributions around the field. These are both high quality props and play a vital part in the AIL campaign.
The second row Titans are now snug together as partners and individually. They are invaluable, with hard graft inside scrums and mauls, at rucks too and taking venomous vectors off pick ball. Their sharing of lifting, jumping and blocking gives solidity and power to team efforts.
After a rather difficult time last game, the backrow really roared into action again tonight. Their interaction, understanding and their reading of the game are crucial parts of backrowplay that determines the outcome of breakdowns and ultimately the game. They clearly won the backrow battle tonight. Some turnovers were top class and their back up and support play closed the mesh many times.
Ah’ Mathew D’Arcy, back to the real Duracell Bunny, he was humming tonight and had really hard luck for a try, showing vision and true pace. He obviously thrived on having hisclose pal, Marvel Man, back and they worked wonderfully well together. Matt varied his game cleverly and kept the UCD close defence, immured.
The midfield defence was well improved and both Rob Hudson and Mark Sexton had somesplitting breaks, they needed constant watching, Rob had hard luck with two scything runs which could have been fruitful. Mark had to go off twice with injuries and young Ryan O’Loughlin, a lad with immeasurable talent fitted in easily and naturally while Mark was off.
The two wings will not be too displeased with their evening’s work, since Christopher Lilly, another of great talent, scored the winning try with a gliding, sliding dive from three metres and Stevie Wonder Toal-Lennon kicked eight points.
It is almost without need to say that Conor Hogan, at full back, gave a top class performance, with every opportunity running back bewilderingly at UCD, fielding well and putting in judicious kicks when required.
Mark Fallon who came on when the game was being played at high velocity, got to game pace remarkably well. He has been out injured for a considerable period. It is good to have Mark back. Arthur Lyons likewise, played his part when coming on in the front row during the second half.
As would be expected from UCD, from the start it was whiz ball. It was evident from early on that Marys had more power in the pack and a more controlled game. However, UCD wentahead on seven minutes with a James Thornton penalty and further ahead with a good try in the corner on 14 minutes after a line break and transfer. Thornton converted and it was 10 – 0. Stevie converted a penalty for offside on 20 minutes. Our forward power was showing both in the scrums and elsewhere and on 35 minutes, we had a penalty, which Stevie put into the corner. The lineout was taken and a perfectly timed maul proved irresistible and as we were sweeping over the line UCD infringed and the referee awarded a penalty try. The conversion by Stevie made the score 10 – 10 and so it was at half time.
.The second half continued at high pace and UCD had a period of possession that they used with hard running movements at great pace. The harder UCD ran the more Marys responded with ferocious defence. Nobody wilted, runners flung themselves forward and tackles were made. It was back and forth, attack and defence, impressive to see swift ball and the proactive defence. On eight minutes, Stevie converted a penalty to make it 10 – 13. UCD drew level with a penalty on 30 minutes and went ahead soon after, so it was 16 – 13. It was 34 minutes of the second half when we mounted a sustained attack with pick and drive, pick and drive. The movement went across the UCD goal line and each Marys’ man flung himself forward low and direct, the line held then the attack switched. The ball came back it went to Phillip he sent it midfield and thence on to Chris Lilly coming lance like along the touchline, he burned the ground and then from three metres swept low in a dive and finished with wonderful éclat. The conversion was missed but we were ahead, 16 – 18. Niall Earls, who had converted two impressive penalties for UCD had two long-range efforts just fall short. It was a tense finish but Marys prevailed with delight for the supporters and team.
Our top injured men are making progress, Marcus O’Driscoll should be back very soon as should Gavin Dunne, but two other most important players may be a little longer away.Richard Sweeney is slowly recovering and big Steve Bradshaw had some reaction to training and both may be delayed beyond Xmas, before they return.
I have been asked to give an address for comments and these would be very welcome. You can EMAIL HERE
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 C Hogan 14 C Lilly, 13 Rob Hudson, 12 M Sexton (Capt), 11 S Toal- Lennon, 10 P Brophy, 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, S Flanagan, I O’Neill, R O’Loughlin, M Fallon.