J2 - 2013/14
Metro Div 3 Playoff Final
St. Marys J2 XV
28 - 11
Leinster Metropolitan Division 3 League Final
St Mary’s College RFC J2 – 28 Lansdowne FC J2 - 11
The J2s successfully defended their league title on Saturday with a convincing win over old rivals Lansdowne. This was the first year where a play-off final was held between the first and second placed teams. Having beaten Lansdowne twice already this season in the league format the pressure was on to deliver in a one-off final. Preparations for the final were hampered by the withdrawal through injury or sickness of Captain Graeme McInerney, Barry Cahill, Marc Aboud, Alan Shirley and Jason Verdon. It is a testament to the great strength in depth of the club at this level that we fielded such a quality side even with these regulars absent. This has been a feature all season long with players coming in and out from the enlarged J2/J3 squad which trains together every week. Several men who have played vital roles in other games this season did not make the match day squad yet all continued to train and support the team in the lead up to the final. It is not a surprise that these guys formed the backbone of the outstanding Division 5 league winning team a few weeks ago.
We knew a good start was essential and we got it through the sensational running of full-back Conor Gilsenan. Lansdowne cleared their lines with a kick which was caught 30 metre out on the touchline by Brendan Short who passed it in-field to Gilsenan. A superb side step took him past the first line of defence, he then pressed the accelerator and jinked past three more defenders to score untouched under the posts for a brilliant solo try.
The intensity and accuracy of our play was excellent with multi-phased attacks regularly creating try scoring chances. Our pack were everywhere in the loose and while we had to concede some ground in the scrum due to their greater size and weight, our mobile 8 generated a constant supply of quick ball for Mucker and Joey to pass and control like only they can. Brian Young’s throwing in the lineout was exceptional, repeatedly hitting his man for off the top fast ball. The pack has worked really hard on the line out and it paid off today. Mikey Houlihan and Kenny McInerney carried and tackled and rucked to great effect. Short and Gavin Thornberry dominated the lineout and are as fast and mobile as backs. Niall Brew played excellently, going on trademark big rumbles up the middle and turning over several balls using the choke-tackle. New recruit Brian Flaherty is a proper No. 6, hard tackling and strong carries a frequent sight. Stand in Captain Colm Barry rivaled Gilso for man of the match, he was everywhere, setting the pace and the intensity with his superb low tackles, vicious rucking and clever running lines.
The second try came off a brilliant back line move that put Ronan Doherty over in the corner. Ronda had a great game, regularly breaking the line and terrorising the opposition with his weaving runs. The carrying and distribution of Jack Buggy and the peerless Kieran Lewis in the middle was superb with Dave O’Halloran making good ground on several occasions.
Lansdowne are a very strong side and they were not going down without a fight, scoring a good try before half-time. The game was sealed with 20 minutes remaining by another magic back move, Joey Connolly taking fast ball flat to the line before off-loading to Ronda coming in off the blind wing to scorch in under the posts. Gilsenan’s strong kicking added two conversions and three penalties on the day for a personal tally of 18 points.
To be able to unload a bench of Robert Timmons, Louis Burke, Gareth Hennessy, Harry Norton and Hugh McGovern is some luxury and all contributed excellently to the win.
This win and this game marked the end of rugby playing careers for two great St. Mary’s men, Kieran Lewis and Louis Burke. Starting out together as 8 year olds in the school, these two great friends have contributed strongly to the club. Louis Burke is a brilliant back row forward who represented Leinster Schools before playing in the UCD first team for seven years at the top amateur level in Ireland. Persuaded by the his mates to come back to play J2 rugby in Mary’s 6 years ago, his renowned talent saw him quickly on the St. Mary’s’ senior team for two seasons. He then came back to us in the J2s and has been a stalwart for us, collecting several Leinster medals.
It is hard to see what Kieran Lewis has done for junior rugby in our club being repeated. One of the greatest backs the club has ever produced decided two seasons ago that he wanted to play with his friends on the J2s at the end of his career. For a player of his stature to do that has been an inspiration to us all. Kieran played for every Irish international team from school all the way up to senior international. He had a top professional career with Leinster in the era of the greatest centre partnership of them all before moving to Munster where he won a Heineken Cup medal in 2008. Kieran is an absolute gentleman, completely unassuming and modest. He was a dedicated trainer for the last two years and has carefully passed on his knowledge to all of our players and coaches who have benefitted greatly. It has been a pleasure to have been involved in a team with him.
15. Conor Gilsenan 14. Dave O’Halloran 13. Kieran Lewis 12. Jack Buggy 11. Ronan Doherty 10. Joey Connolly 9. Eoin McCormack 8. Niall Brew 7. Colm Barry (Captain) 6. Brian Flaherty 5. Gavin Thornberry 4. Brendan Short 3. Kenny McInerney 2. Brian Young 1. Mikey Houlihan
Subs: 16. Harry Norton 17. Hugh McGovern 18. Gareth Hennessy 19. Louis Burke 20. Robert Timmons.
7:30pm - FINAL
St. Marys J2 XV
34 - 10
Albert O’Connell Cup Final
St Mary’s College RFC J2 – 34 Bective Rangers J1 - 10
The J2s repeated last season’s league and cup double with a great win over Bective Rangers’ second team in Templeville Road on Friday night. The strength of our squad was tested in full due to injuries to several key men in the semi-final. Under 20 hooker Lucas Moran came in and played very well, regularly taking on and beating larger and more experienced opponents. Alan Shirley and Kieran Lewis returned from their coaching roles to shore up the midfield and Hugh McGovern came in for Ronan Doherty. Not bad men to be able to bring in.
The first score came off a great scrum by the pack, with a pre-planned move seeing Dave O’Halloran come in off his blind wing to take an inside pass from Joey to scorch in under the posts. O’Halloran was electric all night, scoring a second try in the last play of the game. He just edged out his mate Gilsenan for man of the match who as usual played with sublime skill and creativity, best displayed when he nonchalantly stepped up to take a straightforward penalty kick but then tapped the ball and ran with it before passing to McGovern who did very well to score in the corner with three men on top of him. Gilso also got one himself later on going under the posts.
The whole squad including the subs contributed very strongly in a great team performance. Led by Captain Graeme McInerney the pack were everywhere , carrying and rucking and getting fast ball to the backs. The backs are a potent mix of ageless Mary’s legends Mucker, Joey, Shirley and Lewis with the new pace and skill of the aforementioned young guns.
A great end to a great season. All the players and management would like to thank the club for the support this season. The Rugby Council led by Kevin Conboy, President Steve Hennessy, Michael Fanagan, Terry Tierney, John Carvil, Marie Hammond, Frank Doyle and Tony McGuinness have been brilliant all year and we sincerely thank them all.
15. Conor Gilsenan 14. Dave O’Halloran 13. Kieran Lewis 12. Alan Shirley 11. Hugh McGovern 10. Joey Connolly 9. Eoin McCormack 8. Niall Brew 7. Colm Barry 6. Brendan Short 5. Gavin Thornberry 4. Graeme McInerney (Captain) 3. Kenny McInerney 2. Lucas Moran 1. Gareth Hennessy
Subs: Cormac Treacy, Simon O’Donnell, Robert Timmons, Brian Flaherty, Mikey Houlihan