03.11.2018 1st XV v Old Belvedere (A) by D. O’Brien
Belvedere RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1B
3rd November 2018.
With a young, talented and motivated squad, as is the current St Marys’ one, two factors are needed, time and patience, both interlinked. It does take time to realise potential and power. It was that power factor that finally put finish to our brave challenge as the score stood at 24-24 at last play well in injury time. It takes patience on the part of all involved to persevere and give that time needed.
The experience factor came into it in the latter part of the second half when we might have used the supporting wind to keep play in the Belvo backyard. Most of all we must not fear, we set three wins from five as initial target and have two, but are only one point short of a three straight wins. We have 11, instead of 12, due to three bonus points,
This was an exciting game, sometimes too exciting for superannuated hearts and hopes. Marys showed courage, skill and determination. Both sides received two yellow cards during the game. Belvedere had the edge on experience and power, with a big pack and that was ultimately the difference between the sides; avoirdupois. The heavyweight and powerful Belvo mauls and drives initially or directly led to their scores. That said, disappointing as it was, Belvedere deserved their win and scored five tries to three from the visitors.
Our lineout again faltered on occasions, however, there were some fine defensive lineouts too, particularly by the Liams that reaped valuable harvests. There were a few misaligned defensive efforts, one in particular leading to a try for Belvo. Once more the scrum was strong and deserves big credit when the pack was considerably lighter than their counterparts. All the front rowers are clearly technically and physically impressive.
The fact that it was the last play of the game which decided the match, speaks for itself, that it was a hard fought battle. We had some fine performances too. In the backline Mark Fogarty, who chased everything, and Conor Dean stood out. In the pack, that had to work relentlessly, the backrow again shone, each one, herculean. Mark Fallon is coming back to his best from. It is clear why Ronan Watters is an academy player, as he excels each week, with several fine facets to his overall game. David Aspil was a star U20 Irish International backrower, before injury hit him. He has had a difficult way back, but how well he has made that journey, and each week he contributes in so many ways. He has grown into a big man and a big player. It is commendable how he quietly and effectively works the entire game, tracking back, carrying forward, making his tackles, winning balls and supporting his teammates in many ways; he reads the game well. He carried ever so hard, worked tirelessly today and put in a MoM performance. Indeed that is why he received the SoftCo MoM award.
Today we started well against a blustery wind and went ahead on two minutes, with a fine kick from Deano, who kicked well today, converting two tries and a penalty.
On 20 minutes, a penalty to the corner from Belvo, set up their big maul and they powered over, 5-3. Belvo increased their lead on 27 minutes with another maul, leading to drives in twos and threes, then a long pass out and over in the corner, 10-3. It was 35 minutes when a good vector by flanker Moloney, let him run through the Marys’ defence and in for a good try. This put them 17-3 up. On 38 minutes it was Marys’ turn to get into the corner, set up a maul and follow with drives, which ended in the determined dive for the bottom of the post by David Aspil, making the score 17-10. This fostered hope going in at half time especially with the wind to follow in the second half
On 50 minutes Belvo drew away again with a converted try 24-10. On 54 minutes, we received a penalty and again got into the corner set up a maul and numerous drives. When the ball was released out, Deano saw a chink and stabbed the ball behind the defence, then Tim McMahon,, now on, zipped in behind the post and brilliantly picked the ball and dived to score; and set the pulses up as the score was now 24-17Marys battled, probed, then, on 68 minutes, after a penalty into the corner and a maul, which was illegally sacked, a penalty try was conceded. We drew level, 24-24. In the sixth minute of injury time, after a sustained assault on our line and bravest of defence, the sheer pressure told. Belvo breached our defence to score making the final score 29-24.
Well we now wait until the 24th November, when at home we face Buccaneers. This will be a critical test and one we must mark to win. We are now 7th in the table with 11 points, one behind Belvo, Ballynahinch and City of Armagh. We are one ahead of Wesley, who have a game in hand. Buccs are on 7 with Ballymena on 5. So still all to play for. Everyone has belief and empathy with our squad and we have no fears for the future so let us cram Templeville Road on 24th and start our march up the table. Come on, Let’s:- March with Modser
Team (Rolling Replacements X12) 15 D Fanagan, 14 H Conway, 13 C Kennedy, 12 M O’Driscoll (Capt), 11 M Fogarty, 10 C Dean, 9 P O’Driscoll,, 8 M Fallon, 7 R Watters, 6 D Aspil, 5 L Curran, 4 L Corcoran, 3 M McCormack, 2 R Halpin, 1 T O’Reilly, S O’Brien, C McMahon, N McCarthy,. T McMahon, D Mc Donnell.