J4 - 2008/09
0 - 28
St. Marys J4 XV
St Mary’s College J4 V Monkstown J4
The J4's won their opening league encounter away to Monkstown RFC last Saturday. A depleted squad of 18 travelled to Sydney Parade to play an experienced J4 team with plenty of old heads. Mary's started well with centre and last years skipper, Wally Moran, going over by the posts for an early 7-0 lead after Teddy slotted the conversion.
We then suffered a big setback when prop, Robert Maher went down after a tackle in serious pain. His cruciate ligament was gone, the second time he's suffered such an injury and his match was over. We all wish him a speedy recovery especially me as I had to come out of retirement to play 60 minutes.
Prolific winger Nick Cunningham continued where he left off before his departure to Australia last season with a try to make it 14-0 at half time after Teddy kicked the extra 2 points.
Mary's scrum had been on top all day and the Monkstown pack got a bit niggly coming up to half-time as the younger pack got on top. The second half started in a scrappy manner with the referee allowing a free for all at the breakdown and Mary's getting sucked into playing a scrappy game with missed tackles and poor passes (sorry Tim) a plenty.
Mary's eventually sealed the win despite a rocky performance with 2 more tries from winger Nick Cunningham in the last quarter, both of which were converted from the touchline superbly by Teddy (they were on his good side apparently!).
Next up is Unidare at home on Saturday at 1.00.
15. Paul Whyte 14. Nick Cunningham 13. Darragh O'Neill 12. Wally Moran 11. Chi-Yuen Hui (Richie Pyne) 10. Teddy Moran 9. Ross Wynne 8. Padraig Nestor 7. Tim Henderson 6. Andy McCarthy 5. Phil Conway 4. John Twomey (Jim Nolan) 3. Rob Maher (Gavin Rafferty) 2. Eamon Moran 1. Alan Godfrey
Manager & Reluctant emergency replacement
St. Marys J4 XV
49 - 0
St Mary’s College J4 V Unidare J4
The J4’s with a depleted squad of 16 due to injury had the privilege of playing their first home game of their league campaign on the main pitch at Templeville and they didn’t disappoint. The game started a little tentatively with both teams trying to get the measure of the other and it wasn’t long before it was clear to Mary’s that the Unidare defence became weak the more phases that were played. This soon led to the first score of the afternoon with Nick Cunningham going in at the corner, Mary’s then started dominating all aspects of play which led to a Byer’s special (a 5 metre scramble over the line!) but they all count no matter how ugly! After some fine running by Darragh O Neill, Paul Whyte touched down for a dubious try in the corner, and soon after Nick got his second of the day.
The 2nd half was much the same as the 1st some strong runs up the centre of the field from the forwards saw Mary’s on the front foot and quick ball at the breakdown led to more gaps and overlaps appearing and soon enough Whytser was scoring yet another dubious try in the corner, this was followed by another from Nick for his hatrick and another from Byers this time from a full 2 metres out!
Another close quarter try was then scored after some valiant defending by the visitors, from the kick off a penalty resulted which Ted kicked to the corner, from the lineout a nice backs moved followed with Wally putting in a grubber which looked to be going out over the dead ball but the speed of Cunningham chasing caught the defence off guard and Nick dived on the ball to score his 4th try of the afternoon.
As ever good performances by Chi-Yuen, the Moran Brothers, Padraig and Ross. Also from Godfrey who for someone that doesn’t want to play front row is dominating the opposition so far this season, and a special thanks to our manager Gavin Rafferty who retired a few seasons back but due to injuries has put on the boots again to help out the team (although after a boot to the head at the weekend I’m sure he’s wondering what he’s doing!). Man of the match to Nick for scoring 4 tries with a hangover.
Tim Henderson (Injured player/coach)
Team 1. Alan Godfrey 2. Gavin Rafferty 3. Jim Nolan 4. Phil Conway 5. John Twomey 6. Eamon Moran 7. Dan Byers 8. Padraig Nestor 9. Ross Wynne 10. Teddy Moran 11. Chi-Yuen Hui 12. Wally Moran 13. Darragh O'Neill 14. Nick Cunningham 15. Paul Whyte
12 - 45
St. Marys J4 XV
St Marys College RFC J4 V Lansdowne J4
The J4's faced their toughest test of the season so far, against Lansdowne at Ballycorus on Saturday. A delayed arrival due to tailbacks on the M50 didn't effect the Mary's team, who hit the ground running.
After spending the opening minutes in the Lansdowne half, a knock-on on the right wing gave Lansdowne a scrum and a chance to clear their lines. Scrum-Half Ross Wynne pressured the Lansdowne out-half who fumbled the ball in his own in-goal area and was forced to concede the 5 metre scrum. Mary's spread the ball wide and Wally Moran went over from the first phase ball.
Mary's continued in this vein and further tries from wingers Chi-Yuen Hui and Nick Cunningham, as we used the full width of the pitch, gave us a 19-0 lead after 25 minutes.
Unfortunately we took our foot off the gas a little and with a bit of possession, Lansdowne played a pick-and-drive game and scored 2 tries to make it 19-12. Only much-improved tackling and defence from the pack held them out from scoring another before half-time and Chi-Yuen added to his earlier try despite a late tackle after he scored. Half-time score was 26-12 to Mary's.
Mary's kicked it up a gear in the second half, which turned a bit niggly. Lansdowne had a man binned and their sizeable entourage on the sideline were less than happy with the ref's performance.
Tries from Darragh O'Neill, who looked dangerous every time he and centre partner Wally took the ball on, and 2 more from the pack sealed the win for Mary's. Teddy had a great day with the boot (finally!) and his performance seemed to benefit from playing against a couple of workmates with whom he had several bets on the result. They had predicted a tough day for Mary's and had sent Teddy the attached picture!!
The pack were excellent and the backs moves all seemed to come off for our best performance so far this season.
Final score: St. Mary's 45-12 Lansdowne
1. Alan Godfrey 2. Eamon Moran 3. Ross Kelly 4. John Twomey 5. Joe Doddy 6. Lord Andy McCarthy 7. Phil Conway 8. Padraig Nestor 9. Ross Wynne 10. Teddy Moran 11. Chi-Yuen Hui 12. Paul Moran 13. Darragh O'Neill 14. Nick Cunningham 15. Paul Whyte
Our next game is on Friday night under lights in Donnybrook against pool rivals Old Wesley, who knocked us out of the league and cup (after extra time) last season. All support will be gratefully accepted and it could be a good start to a weekend, so please come down and give the lads a cheer. Kick-off is 7.30.
13 - 29
St. Marys J4 XV
St Mary’s College J4 V Old Wesley J4
The J4's met Old Wesley under lights in Donnybrook on Friday night in a top of the table clash, with both teams unbeaten after 3 games. There was also an added bit of spice as Wesley had put paid to our league ambitions at the quarter-final stage last season and knocked us out of the cup in an epic tie that featured 9 tries (6 of them to Mary's), extra time and the referee bringing the teams back to the dressing rooms for their own safety during a thunder storm.
From kick-off it was clear that Old Wesley were going to pursue the same tactics as last year, namely using their large pack and even larger No. 8 as their primary weapons. The intensity was high from the start and a couple of missed or slipped tackles gave the home team a footing in the Mary's 22. From a 5 metre scrum, the powerful Wesley No. 8 squeezed over and they slotted the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
Wesley were dominating possession but Mary's were working hard from 1 to 15 to keep them from extending their lead. We secured some clean ball and as in the meetings last year, we looked to have the beating of them out wide. We were awarded a penalty in their half but Ted's kick came back off the post. Their winger was overheard proclaiming "Same as last year, same as last year" as Ted prepped fornthe kick. How wrong he was.
Half-time: 7-0 to Old Wesley and cue a stirring team talk from coach and hooker, Eamon "Peanut" Moran.
The second half was a different game from Mary's with the pack working equally as hard as in the first half but with the breaks going our way, we secured more possession, despite Old Wesley tacking on a penalty. Ted was using the wind to our advantage in a great tactical kicking display as the referee began to penalise Old Wesley at the breakdown. One kick to the corner, lineout and maul later, No. 8 Padraig Nestor was receiving the congratulations for the touchdown. 13-5 to Wesley.
We continued to press and Ted knocked over a penalty for 13-8.
The Wesley back 3 were now coming under serious pressure from Ted's kicking and the pressure was telling right across the Wesley team with their 8 being binned for a high tackle and then refusing to let our player's neck go on the ground. Mary's second row Phil Conway followed him to the bin for retaliation.
Mary's scrum got on top when it was 7 v 7 and even when their 8 returned a planned move off the base of the scrum led to Ted crashing through him and over for the score. 15-13 to Mary's and Wesley began to get on the wrong side of the referee. Mary's could smell victory and kept the pressure on.
A great win was sealed from tries from centre, Wally Moran who was the first man to his bigger (but younger) brother's (Teddy) chip through, and Darragh O'Neill who got a slightly controversial but well deserved try from another chase down to seal a 29-13 victory.
Many thanks to those who came out to Donnybrook to support the team.
1. Mark McKay 2. Eamon Moran 3. Alan Godfrey 4. Phil Conway 5. Brendan Shortt 6. Andy McCarthy 7. Dan Byers 8. Padraig Nestor 9. Ross Wynne 10. Teddy Moran 11. Chi-Yuen Hui 12. Paul Moran 13. Darragh O'Neill 14. Nick Cunningham 15. Paul Whyte
St. Marys J4 XV
87 - 0
St Mary’s College J4 V Emerald Warriors
On a bitterly cold Friday night the J4’s entertained the Emerald Warriors under lights in Templeville, it was a top of the table vs. bottom clash and ended up being pretty one sided with Mary’s further extending their unbeaten run.
With a much changed side due to injuries and unavailability the first 15 minutes were tough with Mary’s not seeing much of the ball as the side got to know each other and rarely getting out of their half.
It didn’t take long though for Mary’s to kick into gear and secure some possession, once this happened it was only a matter of time till Mary’s scored as they looked ever dangerous. A try came which then opened up the floodgates and saw Mary’s score 15 tries unanswered, unfortunately due to the nature of the game it was a messy affair with not a great deal of structure. It did provide some great tries though with some lovely interplay between backs and forwards with Darragh O Neil touching down and the Moran brothers Eamon and Paul scoring unfortunately our captain Ted deserted us for this match so couldn’t complete the Moran hatrick!
Twomey our normal 2nd row was playing on the wing and scored 2 tries, Andy McCarthy scored a hatrick with Nick Cunningham, Bredon Shortt and Richie Pyne all getting braces. And yes those mathematicians out there would recognise that 15 tries means only 6 were kicked! Not the best kicking ratio, of course if Eamon hadn’t missed 2 kicks in front of the posts then it would have pushed the ratio above the 50% mark, but alas the pressure was too much for the young man!
The game was stopped short by about 10 minutes as the bar and the warm showers were calling, ending the game at 87-0.
St. Marys J4 XV
15 - 13
J4's Win Again!
The J4's maintained their position at the top of Pool 1 of the J4 league with a hard-fought win against a more than full-strength Barnhall side in the rescheduled fixture.
The timing meant Mary's were missing a few lads who had scheduled trips for the free weekend and a panel of 17 had to take on what seemed like 26 Barnhall players who togged out.
Barnhall had the size advantage in both backs and forwards and set about using it with their runners coming from deep and seeking to break tackles. Mary's were understandably rusty with no training since Christmas and no match since an easy win over the Emerald Warriors at the end of November. Barnhall took advantage and scored a try and a penalty for an 8-0 lead. This led to a reaction form the Mary's team who pressurised Barnhall into conceding on their own line. Ted slotted the penalty for a half-time score of 8-3.
The second half saw Mary's start sluggishly again and Barnhall scored under the sticks for 13-3 but crucially their outhalf who ran everything for them, missed the simple conversion.
Mary's went through the phases and engineered a one-on-one between winger Nick Cunningham and his opposite number who Nick beat to score in the corner. Ted missed the tricky conversion but Mary's seemed to have run the turkey out of the legs. 13-8.
Some more neat work just inside the Barnhall half set full-back Richie Pyne free on an overlap and he finished under the sticks. Ted did what his opposite number couldn't and slotted the easy points for a 15-13 lead. The intensity of the game escalated as the ref was true to his pre-match word and allowed the game to flow with the breakdown fiercely contested. Barnhall lost a man to the bin for a tackle completed well after the whistle had gone and their complaints to (and about) the ref increased as the game entered the last quarter.
Mary's had by now been strengthened by enigmatic coach Eamon Moran entering the fray from the bench, where a back injury ''enigmatically'' sustained in the warm-up had left him.
Barnhall's size was still gaining them a foothold in the Mary's half and they were given a chance to regain the lead with a kickable penalty which their No.10 failed to slot. Mary's hung on with Barnhall retaining possession but not territory in the last few minutes.
Final score St. Mary's 15-13 Barnhall.
15. Richie Pyne 14. Nick Cunningham 13. David Carpenter 12. Paul Moran 11. Chi-Yuen Hui 10. Teddy Moran 9. Ross Wynne 8. Andy McCarthy 7. Phil Conway 6. Brendan Short 5. Joe Doddy 4. John Twomey 3. Ian Kelly (James Nolan) 2. Kevin Doherty (Eamon Moran) 1. Alan Godfrey
0 - 38
St. Marys J4 XV
J4 Match Report
The J4's travelled to DCU Sportsgrounds on Saturday to play Unidare. The kick-off was pushed back to 12.00 to facilitate watching the Leinster game and this also resulted in the match being largely unaffected by the bad weather that developed during the day.
Mary's played with the wind in the first half and spent most of the first half hour in the Unidare half. Tries by openside Tim Henderson (returning from injury) and centre Darragh O'Neill in the first half, gave St. Mary's a 10-0 lead at half-time but it was a rusty performance and Unidare took advantage of a few missed tackles and penalties conceded to finish the half on top.
The second half showed a marked improvement and 2 tries from Teddy, a second from Darragh (which got Tim 'The Butcher' Henderson off the hook for spurning a scoring pass earlier in the move) and one from scrum-half Ross Wynne, all of which were converted by Teddy, gave the lads a 38-0 victory.
The J4's remain top of the pool, unbeaten after 8 games. Next game is against Lansdowne in Templeville next Saturday.
15. R. Pyne 14. N. Cunningham 13. D. O'Neill 12. P. Moran 11. C. Hui 10. B. Moran 9. R. Wynne 8. P. Nestor 7. T. Henderson 6. E. Moran 5. A. O'Hanlon 4. A. McCarthy 3. R. Kelly 2. J. Nolan 1. A. Godfrey
St. Marys J4 XV
26 - 12
The J4's maintained their unbeaten run in Pool 1 of the J4 League with a 26-12 win over Lansdowne at Templeville Road.
We set ourselves a goal of eliminating the slow start that has effected us in recent matches and we certainly did that. The first 20 minutes were spent in Lansdowne's half with plenty of possession secured by the pack both in the loose and out of touch.
The opening score came as centre Wally Moran broke a weak tackle in the 22 and then stepped the last man to score under the posts for a 7-0 lead. The second try cam from a clever kick by out-half Teddy in mid-field, as he put in a diagonal kick in behind the Lansdowne wing. Our winger Nick Cunningham sprinted after it, beat the cover and profited from a nice bounce to gather and score under the posts with a swallow dive (luckily he held on to the ball). Ted slotted the points for 14-0 after 15 minutes.
Unfortunately the foot came off the pedal a bit and Lansdowne finally got their hands on the ball. They came into the game more through their out half and a missed tackle in our own half allowed them score near the posts to make it 14-7. They continued to take advantage of some good possession and scored out wide to make it 14-12 at half time.
Some stern words saw an improved performance from Mary's in second half and our top try scorers this season, Wally and Nick managed to get on the scoresheet again in the second half and we held Lansdowne scoreless. Ted missed the easy conversion but slotted the tricky one to give Mary's the win, 26-12.
15. P. Whyte 14. N. Cunningham 13. R. Pyne (D. Carpenter) 12. P. Moran 11. C. Hui (D. O'Neill) 10. B. Moran 9. R. Wynne 8. P. Nestor 7. T. Henderson (J. Nolan) 6. E. Moran 5. P. Conway (A. McCarthy) 4. J. Doddy 3. R. Kelly 2. W. Andreucetti 1. A. Godfrey
29 - 32
St. Marys J4 XV
St Mary's College J4 V Barnhall J4
The J4's clinched this match with the last kick of the game to maintain their 100% record in Pool 1. Trips to Rome for the rugby and other Valentine-related withdrawals hit us hard and in the end we could only round up 17 bodies including a Manager (yours truly) called out of retirement to start the game.
Barnhall were tough as always, despite being out of the running for quarter-final qualification, and the opening stages were quite even with Mary's just shading possession and territory. The key man for Mary's was right wing Nick Cunningham, who used his pace to outflank the Barnhall defence twice early on to give Mary's a 14-0 lead after Ted slotted the conversions. Barnhall came back into contention and were playing well with their big pack off-loading well to support in the tackle. Mary's forced a turnover in their own 22 though and Nick did the business again, sealing his hat-trick from inside his own half and extending our lead to 21 points.
Barnhall continued to pressurise and when they fielded a loose kick from Mary's, they ran it back for a try, duly converted for 21-7. The pressure continued and approaching half time, their No. 8 got over close to the posts for another score. 21-14 at half time.
A penalty from Barnhall was then matched by Ted early in the second half - 24-17 - and then a great open-field break by second row (and former JCT winger!) John Twomey with a quick recycle, led to Alan "Boom Boom" Godfrey going over in the corner (taking advantage of the new ELV that says it doesn't matter that his backside hit the corner flag before he grounded the ball!) for a 29-17 lead pushing us more than 2 scores clear.
Barnhall had us under more pressure from the kick-off and all through the second half the defending was mighty but the referee had taken a dislike to our approach at the breakdown and the pressure continued. Barnhall again crashed over near the posts to make it 29-24. As full-time approached, it was backs against the wall stuff with some great on the line tackling but Barnhall managed to squeeze over in the corner in the last minute to pull level at 29-29. The kick was missed but the ref advised that there was one play left in the game.
A lesser side might have been content with spoiling the unbeaten record of another team but Barnhall secured the kick-off and kept the ball alive, obviously going for the win. Unfortunately for them, the ref spotted a transgression at the breakdown and awarded Mary's a penalty (a rare occurrence in the match as a whole) inside the Barnhall half. As we all know, the ref can't blow for full-time on a penalty so Ted pointed at the posts and prepared for the final kick of the game to clinch the match, maintain our 100% record and to keep the vigorous challenge of Old Wesley (who have only been beaten once - by Mary's) for a home quarter-final at bay. No pressure, Ted!
He calmly prepared himself (Andy Goode-like these days rather than the crouch, touch, pause & engage of his previous life), stepped up and slotted the points. Mary's remain top with only 2 league games against the Emerald Warriors (7th March) and our old rivals, Wesley (14th March) remaining.
15. Paul Whyte 14. Nick Cunningham 13. Darragh O'Neill 12. Paul Moran 11. Chi-Yuen Hui 10. Brian Moran 9. Ross Wynne 8. Padraig Nestor 7. Joe Doddy 6. Eamon Moran 5. Alan Godfrey 4.John Twomey 3. Gavin Rafferty (Tim Henderson) 2. Ross Kelly 1. Jim Nolan
St. Marys J4 XV
24 - 12
French Touring XV
St. Mary's College J4 V RCC 78 (France)
The J4's hosted French club RCC 78 on Saturday in a friendly fixture.
The match was keenly contested with cultural differences most apparent at the breakdown! Both sides passed up any chance to kick penalties and St. Mary's eventually won out 24-10, with the French team satisfied with their second half tries from close range, after Nick Cunningham had scored a couple for Mary's in the first half.
Our Gallic guests presented us with a box full of French cuisine (foie gras etc) and the received a gift of a club tie and ball in return.
St. Marys J4 XV
36 - 22
St Mary’s College J4 V Old Wesley J4
The J4's completed their pool games unbeaten with a 36-22 win over rivals Old Wesley in the club last Saturday.
On a great day for rugby, Wesley began the match playing with the wind towards the road end and crossed for an early try close to the posts. The kick was missed and this became a theme for Wesley. Any thoughts that Mary's heads might drop having conceded an early try to the team that ended both our league and cup hopes last season were quickly banished as the lads responded quickly with coach Eamon Moran crashing over from close range. Ted slotted the points and we were ahead and remained so for the rest of the game.
Wesley responded but were held up over the line twice when they thought they'd surely score. All 15 men in blue but especially the pack from 1-8 were in fantastic form in the first 40 minutes and put their bodies on the line. Further first-half tries from centre Darragh O'Neill, free-scoring winger Nick Cunningham and dynamic loosehead prop Alan "Boom Boom" Godfrey (a literally unbelievable run-in from halfway after picking off a loose Wesley pass) put us in a commanding position at half time.
Mary's dropped off the pace a little in the second half and Wesley managed to take advantage of some lax tackling for a few scores, although their kicker had left his kicking boots at home. Mary's still managed further tries from skipper Teddy Moran and full back Paul Whyte (who now departs for Australia, a victim of the recession and the drop in Don Johnson lookalike bookings) sealed a good win and maintained our unbeaten record this season.
We move on to a league quarterfinal against Old Belvedere at Templeville on Saturday at 1.00. All support would be appreciated as we face last years winners who have emerged from a very tough pool.
15. Paul Whyte 14. Nick Cunningham 13. Darragh O'Neill 12. Paul Moran 11. Jack Ardagh 10. Teddy Moran 9. Ross Wynne 8. Padraig Nestor 7. Andy McCarthy 6. Phil Conway (Tim Henderson) 5. Joe Doddy 4. John Twomey 3. Ross Kelly 2. Eamon Moran 1. Alan Godfrey
St. Marys J4 XV
26 - 29
St Mary’s College J4 V Old Belvedere J4
The J4's went into their quarter final unbeaten but faced last year's J4 league & cup double winners, so it promised to be a battle of a game and didn't disappoint.
Mary's again faced an older, more experienced team who arrived with a large pack and Belvo secured early possession and territory and slotted a penalty for a 3-0 lead. But Mary's secured possession and worked their way up the pitch. From a scrum, Teddy made a break into the Belvo 22, popped it to his older brother, Wally in the centre who made it nearly all the way to the line before being tackled. He managed to offload to supporting No. 8, Padraig Nestor who crashed over. 5-3 to Mary's after about 15 minutes.
The balance of the first half doesn't bear talking about as some basic errors let Belvo in for 3 soft tries and a half time lead of 22-5. The half time team talk was straight talking with each man vowing to put the first half performance behind him do himself justice in the second half. The lads knew there were tries in them and that if they performed to their ability, the match wasn't beyond them.
It's safe to say that the performance stepped up a notch or 10, with the lads tearing into Belvo. 20 minutes of sustained pressure in the Belvedere half hadn't led to any points but the men in black & white were conceding penalties at every single breakdown and incurring the wrath of the referee. Their 10 received a yellow card for a ridiculously offside 'lazy' run. Just as his ten minutes was running out, another Belvo man was sent to the bin for an off the ball tackle as the pressure Mary's were bringing to bear continued to tell.
Finally, a breakthrough as scrum-half Ross Wynne crossed the line and Teddy slotted the conversion. This seemed to give the lads a further boost and winger Richie Pyne crossed in the corner and then did brilliantly to sidestep his way through the in-goal area to dot down under the posts. Time was moving on so Ted drop-kicked the conversion to reduce Belvo's lead to 22-19.
Mary's again piled on the pressure and as Teddy grubbered behind their backline, their 10 took him out and earned his second yellow card and a red one to go with it. Mary's were relentless and after a great arcing run by Ross Wynne, Teddy crashed over and converted his own try to snatch the lead, 26-22 with about 6 minutes left.
From the kick-off, Mary's lucklessly knocked the ball on giving Belvo a foothold in our half. With possession, they stepped up their game and eventually made it to the Mary's line. Ruck after ruck, Mary's put their bodies on the line and managed to hold Belvo out but our luck was gone, the disciplinary pendulum had swung with the ref penalising us now even though Belvo were going off their feet at every breakdown. With the last play of the game, they picked from the back and managed to squirm their way over the line. Mary's were distraught, the conversion was a formality, the final whistle went and the dream was over.
St. Mary's 26-29 Old Belvedere.
This team has silverware in it and is as good as any team at J4 level, so the cup campaign that begins against Wanderers on Saturday in Merrion Road holds much promise.
15. R. Kilcoyne 14. R. Pyne 13. D. O'Neill 12. P. Moran 11. C. Hui 10. B. Moran (c) 9. R. Wynne 8. P. Nestor 7. T. Henderson 6. A. McCarthy 5. J. Doddy 4. J. Twomey 3. R. Kelly 2. E. Moran 1. A. Godfrey
0 - 43
St. Marys J4 XV
St Mary’s College J4 V Wanderers J4
The J4's began their cup campaign with a 1st round match against Wanderers at Merrion Road last Saturday afternoon.
Injuries and an understandable flatness following the emotional ups & downs of last week (Quarter final loss at the death = down, Grand Slam for Ireland = up, Night out in D2 = up & down) led to a scrappy first half performance, especially in the first 20 minutes where a number of tries went a begging due to knock-ons, forward passes etc.
The lads eventually found their rhythm and the tries came - scorers were wingers Nick Cunningham and Chi-Yuen Hui, centre Keith Byrne x2 and No. 8 Padraig Nestor also scoring 2. Makeshift winger (and speed bump) Tim Henderson butchered a good chance out wide late on and centre Wally Moran was unlucky to have his try disallowed after a grubber through by his 'little' brother Teddy. Wally looked to have got the touchdown but the ref ruled it had crossed the dead ball line.
Final score was 43-0 to Mary's but the 'nil' didn't reflect the Wanderers performance and they were probably worth couple of tries. The experimental 12 rolling substitution rule came in handy as lads dropped like flies with the hard grounds taking its toll.
We now face Monkstown in the second round on Saturday in the Club.
15. P. Whyte 14. N. Cunningham 13. K. Byrne 12. P. Moran 11. C. Hui 10. B. Moran 9. D. O'Neill 8. P. Nestor 7. T. Henderson 6. E. Moran 5. J. Doddy 4. J. Twomey 3. R. Kelly 2. A. Godfrey 1. J. Nolan
19 - 22
St. Marys J4 XV
St. Mary’s College J4 V Old Wesley J4
The J4's secured another hard-fought victory over our old rivals Wesley, in the Winters Cup quarter-final on Saturday. This third victory of the season brings the total to 3-2 in Mary's favour over the last 2 seasons.
The match was played in glorious sunshine in Ballycorus (a contrast to the hail & lightning that caused the cup game between the teams last season to be temporarily halted by the ref for safety reasons!) but we got off to a bad start with Wesley scoring out wide early on and then slotting the difficult conversion for a 7-0 lead.
Mary's got back into the match and were spending a lot of time in the Wesley half (if not their 22). The pressure led to a penalty in front of the posts which Ted knocked over for 7-3. Another penalty soon followed with the same result, 7-6. Mary's were really starting to fire and again great pride can be taken from the performance of the pack against a bigger unit, evidenced by a great take and maul from a lineout that was just held up over the line.
Wesley's pack, obviously used to dominating and having things their own way, started venting frustrations with a late hit on Mary's full-back Colm Quinn and a number of punches in the aftermath. The ref sent their man and Mary's Fionan Henry to the bin for retaliation. Quinner had his revenge though when Hooker (and coach) Eamon Moran intercepted a Wesley pass in midfield. He 'cleverly' delayed until the chaser was committed to tackling him and then offloaded to the supporting Quinner to go in under the posts and to give Mary's a 13-7 half-time lead.
Mary's continued to play very well with the pack putting their hits in and containing the Wesley 8 who had sprung their hefty No. 8 from the bench. Wesley were conceding penalties at the breakdown and Ted notched another 3 points and the most beautiful (i.e. ugly) drop goal for a 19-7 lead.
Mary's had had the better of the kicking game and 13 points down, Wesley changed tack and started counter-attacking. They got a foothold in the Mary's half and the pack started a succession of pick and go's that was difficult to stop with the ref not enforcing the 'stay on your feet' rule at all. They crashed over near the posts and converted for 19-14 and managed to score again a few minutes later to make it 19 apiece. The kick was gettable but smacked off the upright and back into the 22 and a repeat of last year's extra time looked on the cards.
But this Mary's team never give up and under pressure, Wesley conceded another penalty in an ill-disciplined performance. Ted, who had a great day with the boot, both off the ground and out of hand, stepped up and, after a little drama locating the tee, kicked the penalty with seconds to spare. 22-19 to Mary's and we played out the last couple of minutes to seal a place in the semi-final on Saturday against Coolmine in Templeville Road.
15. Colm Quinn 14. Nick Cunningham 13. Darragh O'Neill 12. Paul Moran 11. Chi-Yuen Hui 10. Brian Moran 9. K. Morrissey 8. Padraig Nestor 7. Tim Henderson 6. Andy McCarthy 5. Phil Conway 4. John Twomey 3. Ross Kelly 2. Eamon Moran 1. Alan Godfrey
Replacements: 16. Fionan Henry 17. Richard Pyne 18. Shane Levins 19. James Nolan 20. Gavin Rafferty
St. Marys J4 XV
23 - 14
St Mary's College J4 V Coolimine J4
The J4's continued their impressive season (only one defeat all year) with a Winters Cup semi-final victory over Coolmine in Templeville Road on Saturday.
Mary's started well against the experienced, beefy pack of the league finalists, and a clean lineout take in the Coolmine half led to a well-executed rolling maul that reinforced the message that the Mary's 8 has been sending to opposition packs all season - we stand up to bigger packs and won't take a backwards step.
Coolmine used the possession they got very well in the first half, with their outhalf having a big accurate boot. A couple of uncharacteristic mistakes in the first half gave them territory in the Mary's half and they kicked 2 penalties for a 6-0 lead. Teddy kicked 3 points for us to halve their lead at the break.
Mary's upped the pace a level in the second half and put some width on the ball. Free-scoring winger Nick Cunningham got the ball out wide at the Coolmine 22 and managed to jink and sidestep his way to the line for the first try of the game. Ted couldn't kick the points from the touchline but Mary's took an 8-6 lead.
It soon became clear that Coolmine would have to change their tactics as the boot of their 10, which was so effective in preserving a lead, wasn't going to be enough to regain it.
Mary's continued to push and as the backs spread the ball, a grubber through led to some lax defending by the Coolmine backline and their man was beaten to the ball by Nick and full-back Colm Quinn with Quinner showing the greater pace to get the touchdown. 13-6 to Mary's.
Coolmine are a very good side and it's no coincidence that they went into this game chasing a J4 double and they soon had a penalty in front of our posts which they slotted to reduce the deficit. 13-9.
Mary's won clean, off the top ball from a lineout in the Coolmine half and a simple backs move left the elder statesman of the team, first centre Paul Moran (37 years young!), with an open run to the line. His old legs managed to sustain his arcing run and he touched down in the corner. 18-9 to Mary's.
With only a few minutes to go, Coolmine pressed again and a succession of pick & go's, despite excellent tackling from Mary's, led to them crashing over for a score. Conversion was missed, 18-14 to Mary's.
Having been in a similar situation in their one defeat of the season, Mary's were determined not to let a lead that was hard-fought, slip at the death. Cool heads prevailed and the tackling was as good at the death as in the first minute. In the final seconds, scrum half Ross Wynne spotted that there was no-one at home and put a chip over the top for Nick Cunningham to race onto and score his second try of the game. Final score, St. Mary's 23 Coolmine 14.
A word of thanks to the members of the 1963 Winters Cup winning team who contacted us and attended the match to express their support. It was much appreciated by the lads. Thanks also to those who made it to Templeville to support us even though the J2's were clinching the double at Anglesea Road.
The final has been set for Tuesday 5th May in Donnybrook at 7.30. I'd encourage all members who can make it to come and support the lads as they attempt to bring the Winters Cup back to Templeville for the first time since 1996. This especially goes out to anyone who has been involved in J4 rugby over the years and knows how high the skill levels can be and how difficult it is to win a trophy at this level.
15. Colm Quinn 14. Nick Cunningham 13. Darragh O'Neill 12. Paul Moran 11. Chi-Yuen Hui (Kieran Morrissey) 10. Teddy Moran 9. Ross Wynne 8. Padraig Nestor 7. Tim Henderson (Phil Conway) 6. Andy McCarthy 5. Joe Doddy 4. John Twomey 3. Ross Kelly 2. Eamon Moran 1. Alan Godfrey
7:30pm in Donnybrook
St. Marys J4 XV
24 - 20
The J4's contested the Winters Cup Final on Tuesday night in Donnybrook against Blackrock.
Mary's were attempting to win their 6th Winters Cup (and first since 1996) and fielded an unchanged side from the semi-final win over Coolmine. Rock fielded a side containing recent firsts outhalf, Emmet Farrell (who also happens to be a former Ireland U-21, Ireland A and Leinster professional) who was playing his first J4 game of the season apparently, as well as a former European Cup winner with Ulster.
Rock were quick out of the traps and set a high tempo in the opening ten minutes. They got a foothold in the Mary's 22 and a succession of pick & go's led to them creating an overlap on the right and the winger stepped inside for the game's opening score. Farrell kicked the conversion from the touchline for a 7-0 lead. Rock kept up the pressure and forced a penalty just inside the Mary's half and Farrell again slotted the kick to give Blackrock a 10-0 lead early in the game.
Mary's adapted to the high tempo set by Rock and started to gain more territory and possession with Rock beginning to concede penalties at the breakdown, but the men in blue were unable to get points on the board by halftime and Rock still led 10-0 at the break.
From the first whistle of the second half, Mary's just got better and better with every man giving absolutely everything. A kick in behind the Rock backline caused some problems and when the ball was recycled, scrum-half Ross Wynne kicked across the park into space behind the Rock left winger who failed to deal with it and was beaten by the bounce which fell favourably for free-scoring winger Nick Cunningham to get the touchdown. Anything a former Leinster and Ireland A outhalf can do, a former Leinster U-20 and AIL prop who made his senior debut in direct opposition to Peter Clohessy, can do better and Teddy nailed the conversion from the touchline to make it 10-7.
It was the little break that Mary's needed and the balance of power in the match was shifting Mary's way with a good spell of territory and possession. This was an extremely good Rock side though and they got the ball in their own half and spread it to their winger who put a kick through into the Mary's half. After a bit of aerial ping-pong, Rock gathered a loose Mary's kick down the middle of the park and ran it back with intent. Spotting space in the far corner, they spread it wide and managed to score in the corner. Farrell again added the points for a 17-7 lead.
A lesser team might have folded after conceding having just pulled ourselves back into the game but this Mary's team is a tight unit having been together all season (and many of them for the last 3 years) with leadership in all parts of the team. Mary's came right back at Blackrock and kept them pinned in their own half.
From a scrum in the Rock 22, a planned move saw Number 8 Padraig Nestor pick from the base and pop to Teddy who crashed over for the score. Ted dusted himself down to convert and make the score 17-14 to Rock.
Mary's kept up the pressure and Rock were conceding more and more penalties at the breakdown. After a late tackle, the Rock fullback found out that having a European Cup winners medal doesn't make you immune to yellow cards and spent 10 minutes in the bin.
After a succession of phases and recycles in the Rock half, space appeared out wide and Mary's flashed it wide quickly and Nick has shown all season that he's the type of winger who just needs a glimpse of space. He gathered infield, put on the afterburners and rounded his winger to score his second try (only his 22nd of the season). Ted couldn't get the difficult conversion but Mary's had the lead, 19-17.
Very quickly after the restart, Mary's kicked down the line again. Their winger went back to gather but he was put under massive pressure by left wing Chi-Yuen Hui who tackled him and turned the ball over. Their winger grabbed him again but he offloaded to replacement Fionan Henry who ran through to score in the corner. Conversion missed but Mary's had extended their lead to 24-17.
As mentioned, this was a very good Blackrock side and they came right back at us. With only a few minutes left they got a penalty just inside the Mary's half and the Rock captain pointed at the posts and they added the points, confident that they could score a try to clinch it. 24-20 to Mary's.
Mary's had a lineout on halfway with the referee indicating that there was only a minute left. Unfortunately the throw was slightly crooked and Rock got the scrum. From there a succession of penalties against Mary's led to a further 9 minutes of play (the game can't end on a penalty to one side) with Rock hammering away at the Mary's line. Some fantastic close in tackling and general fringe defence held them at bay but finally they spread it wide and one of their backs, ignoring the overlap outside him, went for glory himself. The footage shows that he could have gone either side of winger Chi-Yuen, standing on the line, and scored but attempted instead to run through him. He's not the first opponent to make this mistake when facing Mary's diminutive left winger and all our previous opponents could have told him it was a mistake. Chi-Yuen did incredibly well to take the hit on his own terms and, as they fell over the line, to dislodge the ball from the Rock player's hands.
The referee blew the whistle and 2 years plus of hard work had come to fruition. The Rock lads were understandably gutted but their fullback got his second card of the game, this one a straight red, for lashing out with a boot at a Mary's player who had come on to congratulate his teammates.
This Rock team played very well on the night and I'm sure they'll come back again next season and hopefully overcome the 'Sunday curse' and field a J3 team as well.
The lads went up and collected their medals and then Teddy climbed the hallowed steps of Donnybrook and hoisted the Colonel J.J. Winters Memorial Cup aloft for St. Mary's.
On behalf of the team, I'd like to thank all the people who came out to support us on Tuesday night and all the through the season, especially the players' families who have always been vocal supporters and our mates Mossy and the J5's. I'd also like to thank the members of the inaugural (1963) Winters Cup winning team, especially their captain, Steve Treacy Snr. and their try scorer, Alan Whelan (now living in the US) for their words of support and encouragement over the recent weeks. It was great motivation for us. We think there's more to come from this team and look forward to building on this success next season.
15. Colm Quinn 14. Nick Cunningham 13. Darragh O'Neill 12. Paul Moran (David Carpenter) 11. Chi-Yuen "Hail Mary" Hui 10. Brian Moran (C) 9. Ross Wynne 8. Padraig Nestor 7. Tim Henderson (Phil Conway) 6. Andy McCarthy 5. Joe Doddy (Fionan Henry) 4. John Twomey 3. Ross Kelly 2. Eamon Moran 1. Alan Godfrey
Replacements: David Carpenter, Kieran Morrissey, Fionan Henry, Phil Conway, Jim Nolan, Richie Pyne, Shane Levins