J2 - 2009/10
St. Marys J2 XV
54 - 0
St Marys 54 Terenure 0
The J2’s got off to an impressive start to the league campaign with a convincing victory over our old enemies Terenure. The win was founded on a huge physical effort from the pack which Terenure couldn’t match. Throughout the game, there was great interplay between the forwards and backs and the fact that our nine tries were scored by nine different players tells its own story about the collective team effort
Playing into a strong wind in the first half, the pack got stuck into Terenure from the first whistle. After a serious of drives off a 5 metre line out, Kenny McInerney forced his way over for the first try of the game which was converted by James Dunne. This set the tone for the first half. Then from a great break from Robbie Hudson and again good work by the pack, Barry Cahill went through a gap to score a try beside the posts which was again converted. Marys dominated possession in the first half, controlling the game and the ball. From another line out close to the Nure line, the pack drove over again, this time Mikey Houlihan coming up with the ball for a try which along with a penalty from Dunne left the half time score 22-0 in our favour.
We started the second half the same way as we finished the first. Some good off loading between forwards and backs led to Jack Buggy being put over in the corner which secured the bonus point early in the second half. Joey Connolly went through a gap and ran in the next from 30 metres. James Dunne then capped off an impressive competitive debut for the club when he touched down in the corner after an audacious cross field chip from hooker Brian Moran. Further tries from Graham McInerney(with a nice brotherly assist from Kenny), Robbie Hudson and Jack Ardagh rounded off an emphatic victory.
From 1 to 20 this was a great team performance and set the tone on how we want to play for the season. However the team are aware that Terenure were missing a few players up front and that one win does not make a season. We will need to take this form into our next game against Greystones away which is typically always a tough game.
15)J. Dunne, 14)B Cahill, 13) R Hudson, 12) J. Verdon, 11)J. Buggy, 10) J. Connolly, 9) E. McCormack, 1) M. Houlihan, 2)B. Moran, 3) K. McInerney, 4) E. Keane 5) G. McInerney, 6) P. Foran, 7) K. Lannen, 8) G. Foran
Subs: P. Collins, R. Ryan, B. Brophy, A. Shirley, J. Ardagh
10 - 80
St. Marys J2 XV
Greystones J2 10 V ST. Mary's J2 80
The J2's looked to continue on where they left off last week against Terenure with a trip away to Greystones. Despite what the scoreline suggests we did not have it all their own way with Greystones racing into a 3-0 lead. After taking a while to get into the game the pack got back to basics with some quick rucking allowing Baz Cahill to cross over. James Dunne kicked the conversion to put us 7-3 ahead. Greystones came back at us and some sloppy play by Mary's allowed 'stones to pick up a dropped ball and score under the posts.
Our response to an early set back was excellent and constant pressure led to Joey kicking a penalty into the corner which allowed the pack to secure lineout ball and to rumble over from 5 metres out with Graeme Mc Inerney at the bottom of the pile. A try apiece from Mikey Houlihan and Brian Moran and another conversion from James Dunne meant we went into half time 24-10 up.
Knowing that the next score was vital we began strongly and James Dunne darted over for the first of his three tries. Further followed as Stones began to throw the towel in. Paul Collins came off the bench to score two tries, one which included a superb offload from fellow substitute Brendan Shortt. Mick Evans found a nice gap at the side of a ruck while Al Shirley replacement Jack Ardagh helped to keep the scoring ticking over.
Special mention must go to James Dunne who put in a magnificent performance. His strong running was rewarded with three tries while 10 kicks from twelve resulted in a personal tally of 35 points. The team are under no illusion that this 'Stones team was extremely weak compared to last year but credit to the whole squad from one to twenty for the way they approached the game. Far more difficult tests are to come with a tricky trip to Stradbrook next up.
No league is won after two games and the team are eager to face a Rock team who comfortably disposed of Terenure in Lakelands last week.
15. A Conboy 14. B. cahill 13. J. Buggy 12. A. Shirley 11. J. Dunne 10. J. Connolly 9. M. Evans 8. G. Foran 7. K. Lannan 6. R. Ryan 5. G Mc Inerney 4. E. Keane 3. O. Mc Cormack 2. B. Moran 1. M Houlihan
Replacements(All used) P. Foran, B. Short, P. Collins, G. Roche, J. Ardagh
8 - 29
St. Marys J2 XV
Blackrock J2 V St. Marys College J2
Even though the scoreline might suggest this was a comfortable win, it was far from it as it required a huge 2nd half defensive effort to keep a very commited Rock team from getting back into the game. We learnt before the game that Greystones had withdrawn from our league and our result last week against them was null and void which made a victory here very important.
We started strongly taking the game to our hosts and took an early lead through a good piece of opportunist play from James Dunne who gathered his own chip through and beat two defenders to score a try which he converted. We increased our lead awhile later when after a drive from a 5 metre lineout and a succession of pick and goes from the pack close in, Ollie McCormack muscled his way over for a try which again was converted. Rock scored a penalty kick to reduce the arrears 5 minutes later. But coming up to half time, after good work on the ground by Brophy and some good interplay between Crawford, Buggy and Conboy, Jack Ardagh was put over in the corner for a try which left the half time score 19-3 in our favour.
The 2nd half had barely kicked off when Graham Crawford sliced through their midfield and showed good pace to score a try and ensure the bonus point. But Rock came back strongly and laid siege on our line. The ref seemed to being penalising us for fun at this stage which resulted in them spending the best part of 20 minutes not more than 15 metres from our line but as mentioned, a huge effort and total commitment from the team kept them from crossing our line and eventually we cleared our lines. To make matters worse for Rock, we went down the pitch and scored another nice team try finished off again by Ardagh after strong phase play from the pack. Rock did finally manage to cross our line for a consolation try with virtually the last play of the game and although disappointed to concede a try after our earlier defensive efforts it was probably a deserved score for Rock and all their efforts.
Next up is Belvo at home in two weeks, who are the league leaders and beat us in a friendly at the start of the season so it will be our biggest game so far.
p.s. Thanks to Rory and the lads from the J3’s who came along and subbed and helped contribute to the win.
15) A. Conboy 14) J. Ardagh 13) J. Buggy 12) G. Crawford 11) J. Dunne 10) A. Shirley 9) E. McCormack 8) G. Foran 7) R. Ryan 6) B. Brophy 5) G. McInerney 4) P. Foran 3) K. McInerney 2) B. Moran 1) O. McCormack
Subs: P. Barret, B. Short, G. Foley, G. Roche, S. Walsh
St. Marys J2 XV
18 - 10
St Marys 18 Old Belvedre 10
This was a hard fought victory played in dreadful conditions against a well drilled and previously unbeaten Belvo team. The team were under no illusions that it was going to be a tough game as Belvo had beaten us in a pre season friendly.
Just as the game kicked off the heavens opened and the first half was played under a deluge of rain, which got so bad, at one point the ref took both teams off the pitch for a few minutes due to thunder and lightening! We seemed to be unsettled by this and for the majority of the first half, Belvo had the upper hand, playing the conditions smarter than we did. But through great defence and some good turnovers we held them out and coming up to half time we managed to kick a penalty through James Dunne and went in at half time 3-0 up which gave the team a good boost.
The pitch and the conditions made running rugby a near impossibility. We knew for the second half we had to step up the physicality up front and to win the game we would have to dominate up front. This is what we did for the first 25 minutes of the second half where we produced our best team performance of the year as we battered away at the opposition. Dunne added another penalty soon after the restart to put us 6-0 up. Then a few minutes later after some good work by Keaner Foran and Collins, Mickey Houlihan playing a captains part, forced his way over for a well deserved try. The try was converted by Dunne to put us 13-0, a big lead given the conditions and seemed to knock some of the fight out of Belvo. We didn’t let up and awhile later, Joey Connolly went through a gap where there didn’t look one and finished very well for another try which Dunne was unlucky not to convert from far out hitting the post. In fairness to Belvo, they didn’t give up and came back strong at us and scored two tries in the last 10 minutes to make the final score 18-10.
Overall it was the first 25 minutes of the second half which won us the game and the team will be aiming to produce that type of performance for the full 80 minutes in games going forward.
18 - 11
St. Marys J2 XV
Lansdowne 21 St Mary's J2 14
The J2's deservedly lost for the first time in 23 competitive game (April 2008) to Lansdowne in Ballycorus Road on Saturday. A well worked score by Barry Cahill and 9 points from the boot of James Dunne was all we had to show for an ill disciplined and lack lustre performance (penalty count 12 - 2 against in the second half). We also lost last years captain Rob Ryan to a dislocated elbow. As he would say, the Big C must have set in as we did not play with our usual aggression and flair. We have suffered a number of injuries to key men but we need to pick it up this weekend versus Clontarf.
p.s. C = Complacency
5 - 12
St. Marys J2 XV
Old Belvedere J2 - 5 St. Mary's J2 - 12
The season so far has proved to be a disjointed and frustrating affair due to the bad weather and also the withdrawal of Terenure and Greystones mid season. We got the show back on the road with a good win over Old Belvedere on Saturday. It was a fine day and both teams were determined to move the ball wide at every opportunity which resulted in a great if surprisingly low scoring game. Jason Verdon marked his comeback from a prolonged absence due to broken ribs with a typical bull dozing run through a clatter of defenders to score under the posts in the first half. We came close on numerous other occasions but failed to capitalise until the second half when James Dunne scored and converted the match winning try from full back. Special mention to second half substitute Jeff Foley who had an excellent game in the loose.
15. James Dunne 14. Barry Cahill 13. Alan Shirley. 12 Jason Verdon. 11. Richie Kilcoyne 10. Joey Connolly 9. Eoin McCormack 8. Louis Burke 7. Killian Lannon 6 Brian Brophy 5. G McInerney 4. B Shortt 3. M Houlihan (Capt) 2. B Moran 1. O McCormack
Subs: Jeff Foley, Graham Crawford, P Barrett, Jack Ardagh, Jack Buggy. All subs were used.
St. Marys J2 XV
19 - 18
St Mary's J2 19 Lansdowne 18
The J2's scraped home against Lansdowne on Saturday. Missing some key players we still dominated the game but could not score despite spending long periods in their territory with excellent rucking and phase play continually breaking down at the key moment. Leading 19 - 13 with five minutes remaining, we were camped in the Lansdowne 22 but turned over the ball again and their outhalf sliced his clearance but it incredibly went into the hands of their winger who took off up the pitch and they ended up scoring with their only attack of the half. They missed the conversion but some serious ill discipline of the verbal variety gifted them a penalty on our 22 which their outhalf missed with the last kick of the game. Relieved but frustrated and angry we left the pitch to find out the firsts lost. A day best forgotten. Good hustle by Rob Ryan in his first game back playing second row for 60 minutes and Steve Walsh (usually a centre) who played 7 for 20 minutes.
15. James Dunne 14. Richie Kilcoyne 13. G Crawford 12. J Verdon 11. B Cahill 10. J Connolly 9. E Mucker 1. O Mucker 2. B Moran 3. M Houlihan (capt) 4. B Short 5. R Ryan 6. J Foley 8. L Burke 7. B Brophy
Subs: J Ardagh, S Walsh, P Barrett, A Shirley - all used.
St. Marys J2 XV
59 - 0
J 2 Match Report
St Mary's J2 59 Blackrock J2 0
For the third year in a row this team goes to the last game of the league series with the title still up for grabs. We needed a huge win over Rock to wipe out Clontarf's big points difference and we delivered in style. Adopting the legendary Mary's method of running fast ball if and when it was on from anywhere on the pitch we scored 9 tries of varying degrees of brilliance (note our 5 flankers making up our back 5 in the scrum). James Dunne continued his try scoring bonanza with a hat-trick and Shane Timmons gave a masterclass at openside flanker also scoring a hat-trick of tries in an unbelievable performance. This kid has wheels!! Other scorers were Graham Crawford, Gonza Saenz and Joey Connolly (with a typical stroke of genius).
Thanks to Ruaidhri and the J3's who gave us great support with Edgie playing a blinder at prop, Gonza scoring a crucial try after half-time, Mark Browne doing very well on the wing and Timmons taking the mick with his crazy hat-trick.
We now go to Clontarf next Saturday needing a bonus point win to defend our title. Carpe Diem!!
15. James Dunne 14. G Crawford 13. A Shirley 12. J Verdon 11. B Cahill 10. J Connolly 9. E Mucker 1. P Collins 2. B Moran 3. G Edgeworth 4. B Brophy 5. R Ryan 6. K Lannon 8. L Burke 7. S Timmons
Subs: J Ardagh, S Walsh, G Saenz, M Browne - all used.
19 - 8
St. Marys J2 XV
Clontarf J2 19 St Mary's J2 8
The J2's went out fighting against Clontarf on Saturday but could not stop them taking our league title. Clontarf have a massive team of ex-firsts players who keep it tight and grind away with their rolling maul until they pick off penalties and eventually break you down. In fairness they are very good at it and deserved to win the match. However, it was a great effort by us, with every man putting his body on the line in a brutal match of big hits, savage rucking and great intensity. We had our chances to score in the first half but little things went against us and they kicked their goals and scored their only try off a turnover. We kept battling away and Ollie McCormack went over for a great try towards the end. It was hard to begrudge Clontarf their first league title since 1972 and we look forward to defending our cup on the harder grounds in April.
Great credit to Manager Derek Gately, Assistant Manager Mick O'Connor, Captain Mikey Houlihan and Coaches Colm Barry and Alan Shirley for a great league campaign.
Next up is a trip to London to lick our wounds!
15. Neil Cowhey 14. G Crawford 13. A Shirley 12. G Crawford 11. J Dunne 10. J Connolly 9. E Mucker 1. P Collins 2. O Mucker 3. M Houlihan (capt) 4. G McInerney 5. E Keane 6. K Lannon 8. L Burke 7. R Ryan
Subs: J Ardagh, S Walsh, P Barrett, B Brophy, S Timmons - all used.
20 - 24
St. Marys J2 XV
Lansdowne J2 20 St Mary's J2 24
Mary's won an epic O'Connell Cup semi final against Lansdowne in Ballycorus Road on Saturday. Under the outstanding leadership of captain Mikey Houlihan we delivered a great performance in perfect conditions. In truth we should not have been hanging on to our trophy in injury time of the match as we dominated territory and possession. We were camped in the Lansdowne 22 when we turned the ball over and they kicked ahead and went the length of the field to score a breakaway try against the run of play. Great kicking by Neil Cowhey kept us in touch at 13 9 down at half time but we knew we had the breeze for the second half.
We continued to play good rugby in the second half with the ball going through multiple phases but the Lansdowne defence refused to budge. Their pressure defence caused us problems all day, they were content not to fully commit to rucks with their players fanning out across the pitch. After sustained pressure in the Lansdowne 22 we moved the ball right only for their winger to intercept the ball and run the length of the field to make it 20 12 against us.
Mikey maintained morale in the team and told the players that if we kept playing as were doing the scores would come. He was right as we quickly scored an excellent team try in the corner which was rounded off by Alan Shirley. Joey Connolly had been threatening the Lansdowne defence all day and he scored a try that only he could score to give us the lead. Joey got the ball 35 metres out as first receiver and threw a dummy to make a classic outhalf break. He then side stepped the full back and showed searing pace to make it untouched under the posts - a moment of genius from a genius player. This made it 24 20 to us with 5 minutes to go but there was much drama to come.
Lansdowne laid siege to our try line and we were reduced to 13 men with Ryan and Cahill in the sin bin. This team has been together now for three years and we have developed a fighting spirit and togetherness that is uncommon at this level. Our 13 men heroically threw themselves into contact on our line with a desire that had to be seen to be believed. Men kept tackling and dragging themselves to their feet again and again. Lansdowne went through over 20 phases right on the try line. The ref called last play and they moved the ball right to the wing where Barry Cahill was no longer guarding. Their full back got the ball and seemed certain to score only for No. 8 Kevin Gallivan to make the best tackle I have ever seen. Somehow Gallivan managed to get across and get a hold of the full back by the collar. He then dragged him into touch and the game was over.
That tackle encapsulated what this team is all about and all 20 players are a credit to the club. We now play Blackrock next Saturday and it would be great if we could have as much support as possible from all club members. Mikey and the lads deserve it.
15. Neil Cowhey 14. J Dunne 13. A Shirley 12. K O'Brien 11. B Cahill 10. J Connolly 9. E Mucker 1. P Collins 2. T Meredith 3. M Houlihan (Capt) 4. G McInerney 5. E Keane 6. B Brophy 8. K Gallivan 7. L Burke
Subs: N Murphy, A Conboy, K Lannon, G Crawford, R Ryan
3:00pm - Donnybrook
St. Marys J2 XV
19 - 13
St Mary's J2 19 Blackrock J2 13
Inspired by the heroics of our J3's on Friday night, the J2's defended their Albert O'Connell Cup in style in Donnybrook on Saturday. An excellent performance of skill, power and commitment gave us a deserved win over a strong Rock side. We followed up our double last year with a second cup win in a row which was a great way to end a season that was disfigured by opposition teams pulling out of our league and several cancellations due to the bad weather.
The only change to the semi-final team was the reunification of the old firm in midfield of Jason Verdon (winning his 4th O'Connell cup) and player-coach Alan Shirley. These two have battled together for the club since 1997 and as usual they were hard in the tackle and classy going forward. Both were involved in our opening try which was a quality score. The ball was moved down the blindside by winger Baz Cahill who fed full back Neil Cowhey. Cowhey showed his undoubted class by tip-toeing down the touchline before giving it back to Cahill for him to touch down in the corner. Playing against the wind in the first half we struggled to get sustained field position but our forwards were still physically dominating their opponents. Two penalties by Rock left us 5-6 down at the break but confident.
Louis Burke was exceptional - fielding kicks from the wing and full back positions with effortless class, running the ball back with power and skill, and making big tackles at vital times. It is easy to see how he played AIL for so many years. McInerney and Keane were lording the lineout and maul and Tommy Meredith (Capt of U21 League Winners) was excellent out of touch and in the loose - he has a great future. Gallivan and Brophy made the hard yards and never stopped tackling and Paul Collins was doing his Peter Clohessy impression and literally terrorising the opposition - this former Ireland Schools player must be one of the best in the club. The pack were driven on as ever by the peerless Eoin McCormack (also winning his 4th O'Connell Cup. Interesting fact - Tommy Meredith was 6 years old when Mucker won his first!!!). Joey Connolly was thriving off the regular supply of quality ball and Jimmy Dunne made some outstanding 60 yard clearances and was his powerful self all day. All of our replacements played key roles not just on this day but throughout the season.
In a difficult swirling wind for kickers we missed some that would have put daylight between us but we were playing too well to lose. Another brilliant mauling and rucking passage of play ended with Joey changing the direction of the move to Shirley on the blindside who fed man of the match Louis to score in the corner. This made it 19-6 to us with time running out. In the last play of the game Rock got a consolation score that flattered the scoreline but the celebrations soon erupted.
It was deserved ending for the players and management who had worked hard all season. Derek Gately did a great job as manager, his organisation, planning (and late-night video analysis) were key to our success. Derek was abley assisted by Mick O'Connor who is a valued member of the J2 set up. Colm Barry did trojan work all year, running great drills at training each week. Alan Shirley coached the backs expertly and played through thick and thin despite his dodgy ribs! However, I think most credit must go to captain Mikey Houlihan who was an inspiration on and off the field all year. In his first year of captaincy, Mikey led with great skill and authority - the club are lucky to have him.
I would also like to thank Pat & Rodney of the J1's and Ruaidhri of the J3's for all their support and assistance this year. Not all clubs have such productive relationships between the junior teams. Thanks to Conor McPhilips of the U21's who helped us greatly all year. Also big thank you to fixtures secretary Michael Fanagan and to Rugby Council members Kevin Conboy and chairman Dave Donohue. Special thanks to President Rynner who gave us great encouragement all year and the odd free pint! We look forward to working with vice president Ronnie McBrien next year.