02.01.2015 1st XV v Clontarf (A)
Clontarf FC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1A
Friday 2nd January 2015.
As the bluesupporters trudged forlornly out of Castle Avenue, even the new blue Christmaslights in the surrounding houses seemed to be winking ironically.
It would bewholly wrong to romanticise or trivialise this loss, for it was mostpainful, inflicted by a better team onthe night. Clontarf are populated by agroup who can play all facets of the game cohesively and well and they seem toplay with powerful pace which is a potent combination. That said, having been down 17 points at half time,after facing the notorious Clontarf incline and a strong wind, we then got to17 – 12 with two tries, the first from Tom O’Reilly and the second from CiaranRuddock, early in the second half. Had thingsunwound differently we could have filched it. At that stage, Marys were playing with theirtop game, fast paced, quick transfers and backups and were getting realsuccess. Injuries to Chris Lilly, CathalMarsh and Brian Mc Govern early in the game did not help our cause. An unfortunate error, when within five points,gave Tarf a try and led to their up grading their game and our losing a growingconfidence. And the rest is as they say,sadly history, as Clontarf ended up with six tries. Generally, our scrum worked hard and it wasdifficult to divine the reasons why on a few occasions it was penalised. The lineout again gave some problems and thewidth on our defence was lacking late in the game. However, it was the pace/power and cohesionof Clontarf that finally won them the day emphatically.
It was hard tolook at our players after the game, they pained deeply and none more so thanCaptain Kevin (Shiner) Sheahan, who was astounding in his commitment and hiscontribution for the total 80 minutes; he was outstanding and led in every way;he was my Marys’ Man of the Match. Hewas closely followed by Dylan (Butch) Fawcitt who fought like a snarlingpanther throughout.
Remaining insecond last spot (15), now we have to fight like wounded wolves to work our wayout of trouble. Dolphin (12) beat YoungMunster (24) and so drew to within three points of us; the one consolationbeing that they kept YM to within catching distance of us. Old Belvedere (22) were also beaten, theybeing the next up the ladder and as we play them, at home, next Saturday, so thisbecomes a dance of death. In fact, everygame now is probably vital and bonus points highly valuable.
This team willyet thrive and we must stand strong with them at every pass and everykick. All will remember that, after thefirst AIL win we had to rebuild and after our second in 2012, we are now rebuilding,having lost over two thirds of that team, through various reasons. There is young talent and the coaches areworking hard to develop that talent and close gaps that appear frominjuries. Once again, it is stressed;please support Shiner and his squad and do not miss a game. If ever a captain deserved, needed andappreciated support he is it.
11 minutes 7 -0, 28 minutes 14 – 0, 37 minutes 17 – 0.
49 minutes 17 –5, 54 minutes 17 – 5, 57 minutes 22 – 15, 65 minutes 25 – 15, 68 minutes 30 –15, 70 minutes 37 – 15, 77 minutes 44 – 15.
TheTeam (Rolling substitutions)
15 R Crotty, 14 R O’Loughlin, 13 M O’Driscoll, 12 M Sexton, 11 C Lilly, 10 C Marsh, 9 D Fanagan, 8 K Sheahan (Capt.), 7 B O’Flanagan, 6 D Fawcett, 5 C Ruddock, 4 D O’Connor, 3B McGovern, 2 S McCarthy, 1 T O’Reilly, Robert Sweeney, R O’Donovan, Richard Sweeney, K Mc Kenna, G Dunne