Garryowen FC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1A
Saturday 14th April 2018.
Well, in spite of having been hit for 45 and 48 points over the last two matches, it is deeply felt that we can and will succeed next week when we host UCC for the first time since 2005. Once again our defence, both collectively and individually, was ragged at times and Garryowen got in too easily on occasions. On the obverse, we are starting to play with piercing intent and several players are coming back from injury, or into form. We never flinched nor stopped trying. We scored six tries over the last two matches, against two of the top teams in AIL. Therefore if we concentrate and practise incessantly on improving defence, close in, midfield and outer flanks, we shall have the power and ability to prevail. Playing these Division 1A teams must be of value, now. The extra factor which will ensure our survival is confident belief.
It was a bright day at Dooradoyle and the visitors played with a considerable breeze in the first half, and contested well. Had we used the breeze more frequently as an ally, we might have been ahead at half time, although Garryowen looked strong and confident, with a punishing maul and rapid backline. We ended the half 17-16. However, by then Garryowen had scored three tries, to two from in-form Conor Toolan. Conor Dean, who played with pace and confidence, converted two difficult penalties. Sadly Hugo Kean had to retire injured; he numbers amongst the most unfortunate victim of injury.
The second half continued with a rhythmic, rapid game, entertaining for the reasonable crowd. The visitor crowd was a credit to St Marys as it outnumbered and out voiced the local support. This Marys’ support and effort shows the depth of loyalty and deep affection felt by our supporters. They are led by Joyce, Pyner and his never flagging pennant, Louis, Frank, Ronnie, John Ayling, the Fannings and Fanagans, the Sweeneys, players’ parents and many more, including all the president’s men. The president, David, has been stoical and staunch in support, throughout the campaign; again he was there strong for his team.
It soon became apparent that, although we were there in attack, we were floundering in defence, as the power and pace of the home side became fully evident. They used the wind judiciously, put pressure on our lineout and fringe defence, then switched wide and struck. Before the end they had added four more tries and garnered five league points. They required one only point, to secure a top four playoff spot; their first since that well-remembered 2009 season.
This all meant that, although we added an excellent try by Myles Carey, the score ended 48-21.
In reference to that try by Myles, a fine effort following interchange with Deano, it could not have been more deserved. In the face of that onslaught, young Myles went looking for work and flung himself into the fray, making ground time after time. He was linking well too and covering the Dooradoyle field, blade by blade. With all of that, Myles certainly deserved his Softco MoM award.
What a joy it is to see Caelan Doris. When he was on the field today, he was a Colossus as he soared above all, he cleverly gave the ball life and direction and contributed impressively. Having his service for a possible final decider on 28th is heartening. We shall also have quality Marcus O’Driscoll back next week, Indomitable David O’Connor and the exciting bonus of Terry Kennedy, back from his successful 7-a-side international duty. Back too from injury, are elusive Ryan O’Loughlin, Seanie Kearns, Darren Moroney, mighty Jack Dilger, young Ronan Watters, Darragh McDonnell, Others clearly hitting top gear are David Aspil, Jack Aungier, his front row colleagues and Cathal O’Flaherty. We have leaders too to help the skipper, in Warrior Nick McCarthy, Richie Halpin and mercurial David Fanagan. If we can hit high together, engender belief, and above all fix defence, we must have an almost irresistible claim to remain where we belong. AIL Division 1A.
Once again the appeal rings out, you are needed more so than ever now. We are almost there, don’t falter at the last two hurdles. You are the invisible power, the elixir of life, the inner belief and source of light. Let it all soar, then merge with your team and together bound stratospherically free. As one, we shall succeed.
Team (Rolling Replacements X12)
15 D Fanagan, 14 R O’Loughlin, 13 C Kennedy, 12 M Carey, 11 C Toolan, 10 C Dean, 9 P O’Driscoll, 8 C Doris, 7 N McCarthy, 6 D Aspil, 5 J Dilger, 4 C Ruddock (Capt), 3 A Coyle, 2 H Kean, 1 T O’Reilly, , R Halpin, J Aungier, C O’Flaherty, D Mc Donnell,D Moroney.