12.09.2014 1st XV v UCD (A)
UCD RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1 A
The Bowl, Belfield
Friday 12th September 2014.
The Bowl was looking in perfect condition on a warm, uplifting autumnal evening. Tintinnabulation might be expected at a place that sounds like Bell Field, but no, instead, there were boisterous roars and cheers and, for us finally, groans, when after just one alleged infringement at a UCD maul close to our line, a game winning penalty try was awarded.
To be leading 20 points to 9 with ten minutes to go and lose was most upsetting and disappointing. A great opportunity to make a good start to the AIL campaign was lost, however, there was much good to be taken from the game. We did garner a losing bonus point, the only losing team to so do. Interestingly, all the other five Dublin teams won. I wonder will there be a capital gains’ tax (or even capital games) imposed!
The game itself was an exciting melange of running, rucking rugby and both sides contributed to fine entertainment. It was fairly even, although, after some defensive slips and lineout problems, Marys had the slight edge until the last quarter of the game when UCD, whose backs were narrow and unsure, began to run straight and put the ball wide to good effect. UCD has a strong skilful team and will be a force this season.
Our scrum settled and held sway and the close down was also positive. It will take a little while for the team to settle, the lineout problems should be resolved with the imminent return of Darragh Frawley. Ever dependable Gavin Dunne, who had a very secure game, kicked four from five, including a touchline conversion.
There were some solid performances, with the captain, Kevin Sheahan leading well and having a captain’s game. His blindside break off a scrum with Robbie Glynn in support lead to a very good try for welcome newcomer Keelan Mc Kenna. Ryan O’Loughlin looked dangerous with ball and worked hard all game. Outside Ryan, both wings were busily involved and alert, and Marcus O’Driscoll had a fine break. He made forty metres and when the last two defenders challenged he sent a grubber ahead and when heading for the line he was seriously retarded by jersey pulling that gave us a penalty try just before halftime.
Near the end, a remarkable break by Cathal Marsh from inside his own half, leaving defenders stranded saw him transfer to Ryan who continued the progress, however, when a try looked entirely possible, the support over ran the ball and the last chance was gone.
The newcomers all looked as though they can make positive contributions to the team. Sean McCarthy is a big, strong and particularly mobile lad who is a loose head prop but looking to convert to hooker. Keelan McKenna also fitted well, took some good ball and has the bulk and height to fit our second row needs. He can also play backrow so he has much to give.
We shall now look forward next Saturday, to one of our big games of the AIL campaign. With a little tightening up and 80 minutes total concentration we should be in good condition. We entertain Terenure and you can almost feel the crackle in the air; and our president Brian Grimson is shining his shoes and practising his dissertation in the mirror. It will be a big challenge as it ever is; however, we have the team, the captain, the coaches and supporters to win the day, once we all dig in.
The scoring sequence: - 25 min 3 – 0, 28 min 6 – 0, 35 min 6 – 3, 38 min 9 – 3. 40 min penalty try 9 – 10.
60 min try McKenna, 9 – 17, 67 min 9 – 20, 71 min try, Hyland 16 – 20, 77min Pen try 23 – 20.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 G Dunne, 14 C Lilly, 13 R O’Loughlin, 12 Rob Hudson, 11 M O’Driscoll, 10 C Marsh, 9 R 8 K Sheahan (Capt), 7 B O’Flanagan, 6 Richard Sweeney, 5 C Ruddock, M Donnellan, 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 R O’Donovan, 1 B Mc Govern,
T O’Reilly, S McCarthy, K McKenna, M Fallon, S Flanagan.