1st XV v Clontarf (H) by D. O'Brien 07.04.2018

St Mary’s College RFC V Clontarf FC

30 45

AIL Division 1A

Saturday 7th April 2018.

Templeville Road

Overall

On the same date last year we hosted Clontarf and fate decreed that we do likewise this season. Fate was no kinder with the result this time. However, it was a game to be enjoyed, as both teams played open attractive rugby and the home team seemed less constrained than of late. Tarf were worthy winners.

There remains at Templeville Road, injuries in every position, with some only inflicted as late as Thursday training. At least now, we can see the situation more clearly, with playoffs to follow our game V Garryowen. We can also look forward to the return from injury and/or availability of several key players, for the playoffs. We cannot yet be certain of whom may be our rivals on Saturday 21st April at home at 3.00PM. It appears likely to be UCC, with a slight possibility of it being Bambridge. The odds seem now to favour Shannon being promoted directly (with one point on Ballynahinch). All shall be revealed next Saturday.

For the first quarter of the game St Marys, playing towards the Road, had most territory and possession and were rewarded with two penalties on 13 and 19 minutes converted by Seanie Kearns who was in fine kicking form. It was good to note the spirit within Ciaran Ruddock’s team today for no matter how often they fell, they picked themselves up and looked to fight afresh. The pack held fast in the set pieces, giving no quarter at the lineouts or the scrums. There were several performances of note, with Cathal O’Flaherty again excellent in set pieces and in loose play, having several telling runs, with one brilliant pass that led to a try; and he himself scored a try. The backrow too, en bloc, performed well with indomitable David O’Connor at his best. David Aspil, who was an outstanding international U20 player and who was out with multiple injuries and concussion for a long period, showed his credentials today. He delivered a cerebral and muscular performance. He carried intelligently and effectively, covering and tackling incessantly and supporting other carriers and breakers. He made an overall contribution that was deserving of the Softco MoM award.

The again rearranged threequarter line was callow but never shirked, with Conor Toolan showing appetite and pace and consequently scoring a very fine try. He covered 60 metres to score, having received the ball from a brilliant Cathal O’Flaherty pass after a good break by Myles Carey. Conor Gilsenan, brought in late to the wing, showed his worth with a busy performance being skilful and hungry in attack and defence. Mathew Tymmons who joined the fray in the second half, has shown recent strong progress in his rugby development and he scored a neat try, after a multi-phase assault on the Tarf line.

Therefore, although Clontarf were superior, scoring seven tries to our three, and were clear winners, there was much to admire about the Marys’ effort. President David Fanagan, rightly expressed his pride in his team. Of course spirit and desire alone will not be enough now and so it is vital to prepare and work towards the playoffs. We have Garryowen, an intense rival, to face next Saturday and it gives an opportunity to fine tune and, increasing rate and intensity critically adding venom to the ball take. Then the future and fortunes of the club for a decade, could depend on two matches. This is not just a concern and responsibility for the squad, it is for all who have any affiliation or affection for St Mary’s College RFC. It shall be discussed further after Saturday’s game when the pathway becomes clearer.

Scoring sequence

13 min 3-0, 19 min 6-0, 22 min 6-7, 26 min 9-7, 31 min 9-14, 35 min 9-19, 37 min 9-24. HT. 44 min 16-24, 50 min 16 – 31, 56 min 16-38, 59 min 23-38, 67 min 23-45, 75 min 30-45. FT 30-45.

D O’Brien

Team (Rolling Replacements X12)

15 S Kearns, 14 C Gilsenan, 13 C Kennedy, 12 M Carey, 11 C Toolan, 10 C Dean, 9 P O’Driscoll, 8 N McCarthy, 7 D Aspil, 6 D O’Connor, 5 C O’Flaherty,4 C Ruddock (Capt), 3 A Coyle, 2 R Halpin, 1 E Ferron, H Kean, T O’Reilly, C Ryan, M Timmons, J Kennedy.