1st XV v Young Munster (H) by D. O'Brien 03.02.2018

St Mary's College RFC V Young Munster RFC

26 38

AIL Division 1A

Templeville Road

Saturday 3rd February 2018


This was a topsy-turvy game that delivered ten tries, six to YM and four to the home side. The last time the two teams met at Templeville Road it was five to YM and four to Marys.

This week again we played towards the Road End in the first half, but sadly not to the same effect. We started like a Tesla, running in two very neat tries within ten minutes and showing that out back, Marys had clear superiority. However, from then to nearly the end, YM imposed their game of close-in runners and ball retention. It seemed clear that were we to run the ball wide and play at top pace, we would prevail, however, we were unable to get enough possession or usage to so do until near the end, when all seemed lost, and indeed, many teams would have faded. This was a commendably brave and determined effort. It led our finishing out with two late tries and so harvesting a four try bonus point. This might very well yet make a vital difference. It has to be remembered too, that 14 of those 38 points were scored while we had a man in the sin bin.

Young Munster have a big team and play with determined control, they cherish possession, with runners taking the ball at pace and attacking close to the breakdown. They have a strong scrum and a good half back combination, with a scrumhalf who likes to probe. The game was sporting and competitive, throughout.

Defence was the difference, we had a skilful and resolute defence in structured play, and line defence, however in broken or open field situations, were caught out to our cost. Overall, we had a large unfavourable ratio of penalties throughout the game and had problems with the scrum which may have been interpretive by the referee. The biggest ongoing concern must be inconsistency from game to game, and even half to half. It is a young developing team and there was a number good things that happened during the game and some worthy performances. .We have had to take notice of young Ronan Watters over the past few weeks and that notice was called for again today. Last week he made 24 tackles with none missed, he made six clean turnovers, with high metres gained. This week his game statistics were not quite as sparkling but he made an outstanding contribution in attack and defence (high teen tackles), never decelerating all game. He has courage, pace, stamina, coordination and judgement, he showed all today and deservedly received the SoftCo MoM award.

Scoring sequence.

St Marys started at high tempo and attacked the Road End con brio, taking on ball and swinging it wide and accurately. Having come close on a couple of occasions, the ball came wide and Cathal O'Flaherty taking up midfield, (he was effective in the loose and in lineouts), took the ball at pace, then impressively changed line and scored the first try, after only six minutes. Seanie who was working well, converted. It was nine minutes gone, when David Fanagan, continued his scoring trail with a neatly taken skip around and in for another try. It was now 12-0 and looking good. The Young Munster men started to get more possession and work their way up field; then on 14 minutes they were rewarded with a converted try. Marys came under strong pressure on our line, we lost a man to the sin bin and just then they scored again through a scrumhalf break in added time of the first half, and the score at half time was 12-14.

The second half was only six minutes old when YM added another converted try and the score went to a palindromic 12-21, then to our dismay on 59 minutes, it was 12-28. It was looking black now and with addition of a further five points on 68 minutes, 12-33, it looked all over. It has to be said YM never looked 21 points superior to our lads but that was as it was. Seanie took a hand on 73 minutes, when he lacerated their defence and scored an exemplary individual try and converted it to get to 19-33. We let them slip in for another try on 76 minutes, 19-38. Marys did not give in, but pushed and pushed, moved up field, won a penalty, went to the cabbage patch corner, took the lineout and set up the maul. We shifted the defence an inch, they held again, we added a couple of backs, then a couple more and like a massive landslide we flowed over the line, and got our fourth (bonus point) try. Final score 26-38.

Next for us is the mere matter of a trip to Lansdowne Road on Friday 16th under lights on the back pitch. It is not a favourite pitch, but we shall welcome the chance to challenge the leaders and if we believe well, we shall see! We certainly need all of our supporters there, and with full vocal decibels. There was of course the international games on today, but the attendance was not half that of last week's peak performance and victory. Come on.

D O'Brien

Team (Rolling Replacements X12)
15 D Fanagan, 14 C Kennedy,, 13 D Moroney 12 Marcus O'Driscoll, 11 M Carey, 10 S Kearns, 9 P O'Driscoll, 8 N McCarthy, 7 R Watters, 6 D O'Connor, 5 C O'Flaherty, 4 C Ruddock (Capt), 3 A Coyle, 2 R Halpin, 1 T O'Reilly, H Kean, E Ferron, I Cullinane, R Glynn, M Timmons.