1st XV v Buccaneers (H) by D. O’Brien 02.12.2017

 

St Mary’s College RFC V Buccaneers RFC

10                                 11

AIL Division 1A

Templeville Road

Saturday 2nd December 2017.

Overall

Pain comes in many forms.  Today it came in the slow tortured way, where pain seeps through to the metaphorical soul. It could all have been different.  We started well and were soon ten points up, with two splendid tries, but inexorably lost our way, notably in the mid second half period, when we kicked too frequently and inaccurately and lost shape and bite in attack. Having two harsh yellow cards, one bewildering, in the second half, was particularly damaging.  The team has to be praised for composed and determined efforts in the final six minutes to get back from a penalty that had put us behind.  These efforts ended with a brave drop goal attempt from Deano just swinging wide.

It must be remarked that the crowd today was marvellous, loud enthusiastic and persistent.  Everyone must be complimented, they all rose to the occasion and answered the President, David Fanagan’s appeal.  

The squad has been badly hit with injuries and they still have a number of top players out.  There is more than sufficient talent with strong team spirit, in the squad, to thrive handsomely. The AIL campaign is exactly at the halfway stage and next week against the same opposition the journey back commences.  There is little doubt that we will garner sufficient points to retain our deserved status in UB.AIL 1A. We may need a little more belief, innovation and adventure in attack, but we will succeed.

When one looks at the last three games, it has to be recognised that luck has taken flight, for each game looked to be Marys’ and were lost in the final ten or so, minutes. In other seasons these would have been wins. However, we shall not bewail our fortune but make it work.

Defence sustained the recent improvement, there was distinct improvement also in the lineout, but our usually dominant scrum sometimes wobbled and the heavier Buccs’ pack out-mauled and sometimes out-rucked us. We had some good performances.  In the pack, the skipper, Rudds, as usual worked throughout and Caelan Doris was incomparable, and a joy to watch.  In the backs Marcus (Modser) O’Driscoll had a rumbustious and effective game, back to his exciting best.  He had some heart leaping breaks, one leading to a score, he worked hard in defence and was ever watchful for and supportive of his colleagues.  He receives the SoftCo MoM Award.

The Game

We set about attacking the Buccs’ defence straight away, and for the first ten minutes were mainly in possession of the ball. Marcus O’Driscoll broke from loose play near the halfway line and made it to within five metres of the Buccs’ line at the Templeville Road end.  He weaved through four or five defenders with real pace and power.  The ball came back and Marys took it on with continuous drives, then the ball went from left to right and came to Deano, he saw a sliver of a gap and went for it, he showed super pace and determination to squeeze through and with two men tackling him he used his impressive strength to wriggle round and ground the ball near Carvill Corner..  5 – 0.

We remained with most of the possession and attack.  It was  24 minutes gone when we set up a sustained siege on the Buccs line, their defence held for two minutes and then powerful Adam Coyle, like a berserk badger, bored a hole through the defence to score close in, it was 10 – 0.

Fortunes swayed and Buccs, nearing the end of the half got into a strong rhythm in attack, and put a lot of pressure on the Marys line.  The defence was secure and calm and it was creditable how we repelled the attack and ended the half 10 – 0.

The second half felt a little different, as Buccs seemed to have more confidence and held the ball with more, consequently, the Marys defence was called on more urgently, our game was less pacey, and our attack seemed a little stereotypical, and less effective.  With less penetration there was more kicking on the Marys side, often to little good effect. On 51 minutes, Buccs got on the score board with a penalty, 10 – 3 and on 70 minutes a Buccs winger was tackled well, however the referee somehow felt it was an illegal tackle and issued a yellow card.  Buccs kicked to Carvill corner, a lineout led to a maul.  After some progress towards the line, their carrier broke from the back of the maul and galloped over, 10 – 8.

There was a slight concern in the Marys ranks and this gave Buccs the chance to attack, which they did.  However, the Marys defence held well, until another tackle was considered dangerous on 79 minutes and a yellow was issued and a penalty taken, from 35 metres out on the clubhouse side and it was 10 – 11.  We had six minutes during which worked up to the Buccs line and drove and drove, we tried every runner, we tried every angle, in vain.  It was clear we were going to find it difficult to breach the defence, so, correctly manoeuvred into position, the ball came back, Paddy passed back to Deano and he swung his right boot and the ball sailed, it seemed destined to slice the posts but it swayed just wide and it was the black and yellow flags that rose in triumph; the whistle sounded the knell of our doom.

Ahead.  

Now we are one point only ahead of Buccs at the bottom of the league table, and head for Athlone next Saturday. Even though we may have further absentees from the squad, we may also have one or two others back from injury, including Seanie Kearns.  It is going to be an equally tough game, but if we support like today then there is real belief that  that we will win and start our ascent up the league ladder.   It is only an hour away so please do as you did today make the effort and get down.  Please do not make your support a one day wonder.  Don’t give up on this fine young squad and coaches.  They will all make you proud before the end of the season, so you do your bit now in pre-return, and we shall be looking at a happy Christmas.

D O’Brien

Team (Rolling Replacements X12)

15 C Kennedy, 14 M Carey, 13 D Moroney, 12 M O’Driscoll, 11 T Maupin, 10 C Dean, 9 P O’Driscoll, 8 C Doris, 7 N McCarthy  , 6 H Kelleher, 5 C O’Flaherty, 4 C Ruddock (Capt), 3 A Coyle, 2 R Halpin, 1 T O’Reilly, H Kean, J Aungier, R Glynn, D McDonnell, M Oppermann.