20.09.2014 1st XV v Terenure (H)
St Mary’s College RFC V Terenure College RFC
AIL Division 1A
20th September 2014.
“Five years have passed, five summers with the length of five long winters” as Wordsworth would say.
Yes we are back to the excitement and frisson of the Clash; two proud clans vying for ascendancy and belief. Terenure are back in the top division of the Ulster Bank AIL and with today’s result, none could argue against their right. It can only be good for both clubs and indeed club rugby; even if their return was a little painful for our posteriors.
The blue and white trudgers, lugubriously filing from the ground, clearly called the outcome.
A beautiful day heralded the occasion and the excitement of both groups meeting in friendship again, was near palpable. It was a great day for our president Brian Grimson as he greeted his Terenure counterpart and all his guests. Marie Hammond, Terry Tierney, John Pyne and all involved had the entire campus sparkling and the marquees added a festive feel; it was redolent of the old days of carnivals and circuses and young twinkling, expectant eyes.. Many of our great current players and those of other days were there and the press in full throng, led by our own one time superstar and now writer, Tony Ward. Also there, to add special flavour to the day was the Ireland coach and ever welcome visitor to St Mary's, Joe Schmidt. He gave an exceptional postprandial dissertation, interesting and astoundingly amusing.
The skill levels in the game were high and some exciting rugby was played, indeed it was a good day for club rugby. Maybe some of the sharp bite and intense rivalry of former years were missing. It may seem a cliché to say the teams were well matched, yet that is true. It was probably the lineout, little errors, and the loss of a player to the sin bin for the last ten minutes (when we were caught short out wide) that were the main causes our downfall. The loss of our captain, Kevin Sheahan who is highly influential (injured after a fine covering catch and driving run), in the first half, was another determining factor. The scrum, with all its personnel combinations (young Tom O’Reilly fitting in well), was on top and our close defence and rucking were also good. Of course, being significantly a headin the game, two weeks in a row, and losing the initiative will rankle with the team and coaches. Terenure had a good lineout and kicking game and their defence was notable.
The necessity of rebooting is clear. There is a real closeness and vivacity about this squad, and there is certainly enough skill and belief to ensure that, we shall be up close to the top when league is nearing its end. Patience too, is required for it will be remembered that several very new pieces have to fit together. Lineout possession is not simply a matter of the thrower or the jumper, or indeed the lifters and blockers, the calls, or the patterns. They all have to mesh in a fine juxtaposition. All that takes time, so work and patience have to be observed.
On top of the meticulous work of Smythy and Jonathan, we also have Phillip Brophy doing brilliant work with the backline and defence. Clear signs of that are now evident with generally firm defence and the backline keeping good shape and taking adventurous lines.
The first half was the home side’s. During that time a fine try was scored by Stuart O’Flanagan on the right wing. Robbie Glynn, who was impressive and my Marys’ man of the match, put a really fine kick ahead, and pressure on the Terenure defence gave us knock on advantage, the ball was swung wide, Marcus O’Driscoll, another who impressed, came in from his left wing, made ground, then timed his pass to Stuie who whizzed over in the corner. Later Gavin added a penalty, before Mark O’Neill got a penalty back for Nure.
The second half, it was Terenure who grasped the initiative, slotting a penalty after six minutes. Marys worked hard and were rewarded, when consistent Gavin landed a good penalty to get us back to five ahead. However, Nure were kicking well for position and when there, putting pressure on our line. They scored a good try out wide on 66 minutes. They scored again on 75 minutes, when Marys were down to 14 men. Although Gavin got us a penalty back to ensure a valuable losing bonus point, there was no more scoring. The home players worked frantically to the end with Ciaran Ruddock and Mark Fallon driving on and mercurial Marshy running and twisting from all angles; however it was not to be.
16 mins Try S O’Flanagan, 5 – 0, 22 mins penalty Dunne 8 – 0, 41 mins, Penalty O’Neill 8 – 3.
2nd half 46 mins penalty 8 – 6, 50 mins penalty Dunne 11 – 6, 66 mins Goal S Donovan and O’Neill 11 – 13, 75 mins Goal H Moore and O’Neill 11 – 20, 78 mins penalty Dunne 14 – 20.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 G Dunne, 14 S Flanagan, 13 R O’Loughlin, 12 Rob Hudson, 11 M O’Driscoll, 10 C Marsh, 9 R Glynn, 8 K Sheahan (Capt), 7 B O’Flanagan, 6 Richard Sweeney, 5 C Ruddock, K McKenna, 3 Robert Sweeney, 2 S McCarthy, 1 B Mc Govern
T O’Reilly, R O’Donovan, M Fallon, R Crotty, M Donnellan.