St Mary’s College RFC V Buccaneers RFC
AIL Division 1B
Saturday 24th November 2018
Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Well, it was, maybe too exciting at one stage for the superannuated supporters, but a fine performance and it gets us back on the upper trajectory. Taking the win into context it is pivotal to the entire season from many points of view and is commendable as the home team comprises a group of young lads with average age, early 20s, playing against a tough, heavy team, puffed out with several Connacht contracted, players. The relief and joy on our genial president, Jack Ebbs’ face was good to behold. He has a strong bond with his team and his belief and confidence in it is manifest.
The Buccaneers were no “Pirates of Penzance”, but true swashbuckling buccaneers, that ran hard, straight vectors of real power and venom. Today, the home team played some coruscating rugby, in a harmonic symphony. Defence was chink-less and it was good to see the lineout coming good. The scrum was magnificent, although lighter, it was controlled and propulsive. The scrum earned one penalty try and a push over, that the dynamic, 8, Nick McCarthy, controlled well. The pack is light but when they turn on the turbo and play in zoom mode they are joyful to watch and fulfilling in action. When a pack is on the light side, every player must play to his all or it does not work. Today, every forward was granite and grinding. The front row of Tommer, Richie and Mighty Mack, was irresistible. Richie, the lionhearted, has never played better. Tommer is not only most popular, but is most powerful and with the ball is a Hyper Hippo. Mighty Mack is all that, and skilled and heading towards being top rated tighthead. The two Liams are melding nicely, with much unseen work close in, excellent in the lineout and in defence. The back row, or commando unit have added burden in a light pack as they must use every ounce to effect in the tight, be adamantine in defence and dynamic in support. David, Ronan and Nick topped that and tipped the balance. The courage, head and leadership of Nick McCarthy, makes him a valuable asset for any team and today he showed all those attributes in neon. That is why he was awarded the SoftCo MoM award.
It is said that a bird never flew on one wing, nor does a rugby team, the forwards and backs must complement each other, one as important as another. Today exemplified that more than ever. The reason we won this game was because both departments did their business to the highest degree.
Paddy at 9, worked as hard as any other player on the field, he was to every breakdown, he varied his game well and he used the ball judiciously, his partnership with Conor was energetic and accurate.
We are fortunate that we have Deano, and when one takes into account that he is in college in Galway, contracted to Connacht, yet is up for training each week and fights for his right to play with his much loved club. His overall game is maturing well. His kicking too, is reliable now. For the first try his timing of his take, his vision of the situation and his delicate sway, delay and perfect pass to put us away for the try was delightful. The try in the well corner, was very well taken by impressive, young tyro, Hugo Conway on the right wing. On the left wing Craig Kennedy, who is versatile and dedicated, has been a regular since last season. Today his chase and hunt down, his strong tackling and his support play showed that dedication and potential. Behind them there was a F16, in David Fanagan, who, by his presence alone keeps rival teams nervous, for he has that je ne sais quoi that allows him sway and dance, scintillate and tear apart defences. He got a few chances in that regard and used them well. He also made some vital defensive interventions of an important nature, one a try saving tackle.
As in all games mid field is where the traffic passes or doesn’t, both essential elements in winning or losing. Today’s partnership of competitive and talented Myles and our indomitable skipper was a hub of action, all directed and effected with élan. To have our Skipper, Modser there, is a gold share, for he is involved in almost everything and his support of his young players is an invaluable bonus.
Yes a fine game, and when Marys played with their natural pace and flair they looked superior in all respects. The immense work put in by Steven, Jamie, Barry and the management group of Paudge, Pokey and Ruaidhri is showing results. There are some areas to be improved as there always is. One of the great qualities that St Marys has always brought to the game is, adventurous play and a running game. However, sometimes the old adage of discretion being the better part of valour, needs heeding. When 24-6 up in the second half and in our own half in possession, we steadfastly refused to put the ball down to wide open, unguarded spaces towards Carvill Corner and paid with turnovers and scores. There is no doubt but that will be corrected, so we can concentrate on gentle celebration.
We are now on 16 points, in sixth place, the three teams ahead of us have all 16 points so a win next week against second placed Naas, would give a great lift. Naas who were top of the table, were beaten today, so they will be waiting in fury for us. We shall need that supersonic game to prevail. That is where support comes in. The fact that Ireland were playing today had a decided effect on the attendance so please all correct that next week and get down the road to support your team.
The game was nine minutes old, the home side mainly in the attack, when that first try was recorded and beautifully converted by Conor Dean from the touchline. Almost straight away we gave away a penalty and it was 7-3. This was followed soon after by another and so it was 7-6, before Conor converted a penalty on 17 minutes to give breathing space and on 24 minutes we got a penalty try a for a blocked down scoring pass.. So it was 17-6. We continued to play fast dominant rugby and half time saw the score remained 17-6.
The second half continued at pace with Marys dominant and that dominance paid off on 50 minutes when after a number o resets on the Buccs line, the Marys’ scrum pulverised the Buccs’ pack and the referee awarded a second penalty try. 24-6.
Four minutes later, Buccs used a penalty to the corner and set a maul and their big pack went over 24-13. Ten minutes passed and then on 64 minutes a mirror image mauled try for Buccs made the score 24-18. A slight uneasiness was creeping into the supporters, this became gloom, when on 70 minutes we lost the ball and Buccs galloped free over the line and with the conversion went ahead 24-25. Gloom did not mean a panicked side, for Conor coolly converted a penalty on 76 minutes and made it 27-25. The team buckled down, assaulted the Buccs line, and after a series of pick and drives, the determined Nick McCarthy dived over and Conor converted on 79 minutes, 34-25. There appeared to be no injury or other extra time, however the referee played six minutes and this gave Buccs the chance to force their way over the line and convert and so it ended 34-32, giving us 5 points and Buccs 2.
Team (Rolling Replacements X12)
15 D Fanagan, 14 H Conway, 13, 12 M O’Driscoll (Capt), 11 C Kennedy, 10 C Dean, 9 P O’Driscoll, 8 N McCarthy, 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, P Dundon, D Mc Donnell, R Shields.