10.01.2015 1st XV v Belo (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Old Belvedere RFC
AIL Division 1 A
10th January 2015.
A dressing room and a club full of smiling faces, what a lovely sight to see. Smiles are physically and physiologically uplifting, infectious and tonic; we can do with all we get. There was an added touch of relief and rightly so, after a hand-to-hand battle and a skilful exciting game, that evinced all the courage and determination of a team fighting for its honour and pride. There is no doubt these were two well-matched teams with the home side having even greater need.
It was a hopeful sign when we played up against the strong wind in the first half. And how wisely did the team play, while under obvious pressure, holding the ball as much as possible and only kicking when necessary. A promising attack late in the half might have led to a try in the cabbage patch corner had we been able to get the ball wider more quickly, but we were happy to hit the half time just six points down. It was particularly satisfying when in the second half we made good use of that wind, with ball after ball put into Carvill Corner or straight down with excellent chase and close off. After one such kick into the corner, a series of penetrating and persistent pick-and-drives, Brian Mc Govern, who made a major contribution today when he came on, got over a for a vital try, converted by Gavin.
Marys had two yellow cards during the game, Belvo had one, and so we had to play a quarter of the game with 14 men and still prevailed. The lineouts were most efficient, with Dylan Fawcett, hitting his mark every time and contributing wonderfully all round, in fact, the entire front row made a major contribution.; Dylan will be a great loss as he returns to USA. Another big loss will be Gavin Dunne. After the last few years, everyone will be patently sad to lose this exceptionally affable and genial young man. We will also miss his talent, for he has made a major contribution to St Marys; nevermore so than today; I believe he had possibly his best ever game for us, with his kicking and his game control, impressive; and he contributed, a penalty, a superb drop goal and a conversion. Thank you Gavin, we all wish you the best with your career and life ahead!
Kevin Sheahan again showed himself to be an exceptional captain and leader and once more had a pivotal game.
Before the match, Marcus O’Driscoll had to withdraw injured and during the game Mark Sexton was injured with Barry O’Flanagan moving to the wing and Richard Sweeney joining the fray.
The scrum was stable, and improved to dominant in the second half. The defence was adamantine, unbending and expansive today. The pack worked endlessly and in the second row, David O’Connor, a schoolboy last season stood out, he never missed a ball in the lineout soaring like a brawny buzzard. He also put pressure on opposition ball and never ceased working in the loose. He was my Man of the Match. Straight away, I must add that right through the team, everyone who came on to that turf today worked to exhaustion and were a credit to himself.
There was temptation near the end of the game to take scrum on the Belvo line to attempt a try and put Belvo out of the bonus point range but, possibly wisely, decided to ensure the victory by giving Gavin the kick to close out the game.
This victory is not just down to the squad but the intense unselfish coaching by Smythy, Philly and Jonathan during horrendous weather during the week and all of you who came to the match, for there was a substantial and vociferous crowd there. That is what is needed to the end of the season.
It was disappointing to note some of the other results, particularly the unpredicted Dolphin V UCD result. We remain second from bottom, now two ahead of Dolphin, four behind Belvo and five behind YM. Our next game sees us go to Cork, 31st January, to play Con; a really big one for us. We must play even better on that trip, if we wish to prevail and we do. It is not as difficult a journey as of old, so please keep up the good work; your presence could make the difference, come along form vicious little gangs and share cars or trains or planes or balloons or buses. But come. Make a New Year resolution to attend all the games. While contemplating Now and its near impossibility, I made up a little maxim for the New Year, Now ever is a fraction later, so be a doer not a waiter. We go forward with hope, Happy New Year to all of you.
Scoring sequence: - 18 min 0 – 3 (Glynn), 24 min 0 – 6, 54 min 0 –9, 64 min 7 – 9 (Dunne), 71 min 10 – 9, 78 min 13 – 9.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 R Crotty, 14 I O’Neill,13 R O’Loughlin, 12 M Sexton, 11 S Toal-Lennon, 10 G Dunne, 9 D Fanagan, 8 N Timoney, 7 BO’Flanagan, 6 K Sheahan (Capt) 5 C Ruddock, 4 D O’Connor, 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 D Fawcett, 1 S McCarthy, T O’Reilly, R O’Donovan, Richard Sweeney, B McGovern, S Kearns,