27.10.2018 1st XV v Armagh (H) by D.O’Brien
St Mary’s College RFC V ARMAGH City RFC
AIL Division 1B
Saturday 27th October 2018
After this game, now it may have been an illusion, yet it seemed that the Marys’ crowd were gliding two feet above the ground. There certainly was a suffusion of blue relief and most of all patent peace. The joy was not triumphalist, as we had entertained most welcome and sporting visitors from Armagh, on their first ever visit, and having completed a fairly fought joust. They brought a creditable crowd of good natured supporters who added to the atmosphere and banter.
There had been disappointment after the previous two games, but such is the charisma and admirable personality of this St Marys’ squad and their coaches /management that a belief in them burned strongly. And today they justified that faith.
It was an exciting skilful game between two well pitched teams and it was the young Marys’ adventure that won out. Armagh came with a team of pals that have built a strong squad for a rugby voyage of discovery, enjoyment and success. Although both sides received a yellow card there was no foul play nor rancour throughout.
Obviously, to get a bonus point win, was greatly appreciated. It has to be accepted, that, for better part of the first half we were under pressure, and after 35 minutes were 0-11 behind. However, it was never like a losing cause, and most of the testing travails of last week were absent. It took some time for Marys to deal with the light touch approach of Armagh to the rucks, which gave them wide cover and loaded support. The St Marys lineouts were improved and the scrum once again, was strong and resolute and most of all our defence was organised and effective. Once the cogs whirred, there was an ebullient scintillation that presaged victory.
The backline, so full of enterprise and skill, comprised, six of seven young men who must carry identity of age to access their favourite entertainment spots.
Special welcome to promising young Tim McMahon, just off the St Mary’s College SCT, and playing fullback, today. The seventh was the skipper, so important to the workings of it all. He patrols his line and shepherds his flock. Of course he is so much more than that. If you look at play you will see him almost always, either involved, or hovering in support. Three of the magnificent seven scored tries. Young Mark Fogarty, showing fine pace, impressive footwork and determination, scored the first. Cormac Foley, who again had a top class game scored a sniper’s try from a maul. Then, Myles Carey, just back from injury, scored the third. Myles, just hummed all game, his acute attack play, distribution, defence, and partnership with Marcus, was the fulcrum around which the game revolved. When he took that pass from the skipper, he almost defied the laws of physics before scoring a stratospheric try. The game sparkled with claimants for it, particularly all the backrow, but Myles shaded it and received the SoftCo MOM award. His particular try, also showed how the scrum gives space, if you have a confident scrum and have the pace and flair to exploit it. Having received a free kick from a lineout infringement, Modser decided on the scrum almost on halfway, Cormac found the ever effervescent Conor Dean, who gave the most delightful chip over the oncoming defence line, and Modser ran on to it precisely, held it, and directed a beautiful pass to a space into which Myles arrowed, and finger held the ball, it was placed well in front of him to cut out defence. Myles angled his run and seared through the cover to score. Oh My! Worth seeing anytime.
You probably are aware that in a game there is usually a forward pack involved too. Yes we had one today. Again it was full of young tyros. It is very difficult to mention anyone favourably, in case it appears to un-favour any other. The front rowers have been consistently impressive in all their work areas, and were again today. However, one I must mention, Colm (Chief) Mc Mahon, out of the game for a few years, and this season he has been coming on in the second half to significant effect. Today, once again he sizzled. He was heavily involved in all aspects of the game and was a totem to the rest of the pack (he is having an Indian summer). With two Liams in the row, both were even better than the other????, if you will excuse the oxymoron. Un-terrible twins.
The backrow lit up the game, with all three excelling and any one could have received the MoM award. It makes a real difference in AIL, if you have loose forwards who can carry with power and skill and defend with assurance, especially if they have some knowledge of incantations and spells for the breakdown; particularly germane to Halloween.
Today showed the value of the bench and the use of 12 rotations, each one made a notable contribution and it must be marked with pleasure that the lion hearted Nick McCarthy returned from an unpleasant injury.
After 13 minutes, Armagh went ahead with a penalty and added another on 17 minutes. Then on 35 minutes Armagh scored a try from the side of a ruck close to Marys’ line. It shuck the home side into action and on 40 minutes, they ran back a kick ahead and after rucking twice, the ball went wide, right to left and Mark Fogarty slalomed through for a fine try in the gate corner. Half time, it was 5-11.
The second half was a maelstrom of action with the home side daring and dancing, and working and striving. On five minutes a lineout into the Cabbage Patch corner, saw a maul formed and as it inexorably marched on, the ball was smuggled out and Cormac smartly slipped over. 12-11. It was 12 minutes when Myles scored his super try to make the score 19 11 Deano converted a scrum penalty on 64 minutes and finally just on full time, a series of scrum penalties and resets put big pressure on the defence and the Marys’ pack surged over the line with the industrious Ronan Watters getting the touch down. What a joy that fourth try gave to all Marys supporters. It ended 27-11.
Now we have jumped up the table and look forward to further escalation next Saturday when we visit Old Belvedere. Please note Saturday not Friday. The date was changed to accommodate Old Belvedere celebrate the life of recently deceased Paul Reddy, former Belvo president and alickadoo. So make sure to appear there. You have been told. Be on the upward curve. March with Modser
Team (Rolling Replacements X12) 15 T McMahon, 14 C Kennedy, 13 M Carey, 12 M O’Driscoll (Capt), 11 M Fogarty, 10 C Dean, 9 C Foley, 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, P O’Driscoll, N McCarthy, H Conway.