27.09.2014 1st XV v Old Belvo (A)
Old Belvedere RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1A
27th September 2014.
Going in through the Ailesbury Road/Tradesmen’s entrance to old Belvedere grounds on a sparkling afternoon, registering 20 degrees plus; memories of great games and great playersfloated into mind. You could almost imagine Tony O’Reilly or the Madigans running out on the field or the tanned legs of Lexie Tynan skipping down the wing to be crushed by Ned Carmody on the cover; or Joe Fanagan selling an outrageous dummy to all, including the fevered crowd. Or maybe Shay(Deero) Deering hurtling up, attempting to block a drop from Ollie Campbell.
Now in present terms, this was a strong resolute performance and from the start it was clear that a gear had been shifted. There was more width in both attack and defence, the organisation was manifest and there was an admirable coordination generally. The scrum was again ascendant, so much so as to win a penalty try; however problems remain with the lineout where we lost seven on our throw. Like all other aspects, these problems will be resolved. It was also notable that the runners were taking the ball at sharp pace and with depth and the chase was determined.
During the first half we started well, but did give away a few penalties before Belvo scored from one on 16 minutes. We lost Kevin Sheahan on 23 minutes and took a little while to steady after that but later in the half Conor Toolan got that converted try to put Marys ahead.
During the last ten minutes of the game, when we were ahead 3 – 14, we showed a composure and assurance in defence thatwas commendable, even if many supporters found their legs atremble; so legs nearly not supporters. We did have a man in the bin when they brought the score to 10 – 14, when he returned, there was a vice lock put on the defence and we were deserved winners. It should be said, that once again we lost our highly influential captain and backrow general, Kevin Sheahan, with injured ribs mid first half. He should be at least fully fit for the trip north to Ballynahinch after the break.
Belvo are a well arranged team with some big lineout jumpers and ball players and have a few stars behind the scrum, so this was a real task today and so much more the credit for that. Credit too to Belvo, who played with desire all game, they were, as ever, sporting, yet hard. So, it was a fine game.
There were many heartening aspects for Marys, most notably the performances of some new young lads, in addition to a few superb ones from more established players. The entire eight worked to exhaustion, the half backs and midfield may need replacement shoulders after a dauntless defensive display and the wings and fullback were ever vigilant and incisive.
Hooker turned back-rower and former captain, Richard (Chips) Sweeney was supreme. He roamed the field like a tormented torpedo, destroying runners and smashing movements and he was ever in support bursting through defences and ravenous for work. He was outstanding all game and was my Marys’ Man of the Match. He was really well supported by his backrow colleagues. In fact I have to say that the twenty players on the field today were a credit to themselves and their team and every one played with courage and desire. Well done lads, against a good team, at home, onethat was just pipped for the league title last season.
A young lad just out of school has to be mentioned, Nick Timony. Nick was one of Smythy’s Super Rock SCT team. Well, here is a lad worth remembering, for who knows how good he might become. He is big, really big, he is strong, notably strong, he is fast comfortably fast and he is brave, fearlessly brave! He made four tackles one after another and on an occasion when he had to leave the backrow to mind the wing, he took on a ball and fairly hurtled down the wing,scattering tacklers. Well done Nick, maybe a Deero in the making. And well done also to Conor Toolan on the right wing, who showed real zest and after several sorties, followed up on a kick ahead, blocked and retrieved the ball and zipped through the defence and left the chasers agape, as he scored a very fine try.
If a name was mentioned earlier that you might just recognise,well here it comes again. Fanagan. David Fanagan Jr. Another new young recruit. He, a son of David and grandnephew of the great Joe (Banana) Fanagan, he has a lot to commend him, maybe he hasn’t the outrageous dummy of Joe, but he has a great deal to offer. He has pace, an exquisite side step and shuffle and a very good kicking and passing game. In addition he can play 15, wings or 9; not bad for a young lad. There will be some vying for positions when all the squad is available. As is said, a good headache for the coaches.
Next Saturday we entertain Cork Constitution, to win that game would give momentum for the remainder of the league. We are now sixth in the league and a win should lift us a place or two. But the team really does need support, so please come along cram the terraces and enjoy a good day out and create a win.
16 mins penalty J Glynn 3 – 0, 37 mins Try C Toolan, con G Dunne.
50 mins Pen Try, con G Dunne 3 – 14, 72 min Try P Robb con Glynn 10 – 14.
The Team (Rolling substitutions)
15 G Dunne, 14 C Toolan, 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, N Timony, D Fanagan.