Buccaneers RFC V St Mary’s College RFC
AIL Division 1B
Saturday 23rd February 2019.
Even on mild breezy days, with the sun smiling, Dubarry Park ever seems bleak. Today, the scant attendance did not help. Then, to lose agonisingly, completed the gloom. Between the two games V Buccs, this season, we garnered six points, while Buccaneers claimed seven. They now lie just one point behind us in a frantic fight to the finish.
The team we faced was a big rugged one, with a good pair of kicking halves, a defensive backline and a tough powerful pack. They based their game on forward power and a well organised and highly successful maul. Three of their four tries involved mauls and forward power, their fourth in the 76th minute, was a merciless freak.
Marys had had the brisk breeze in the first half. Unfortunately, we fell afoul of the referee on too many occasions and did not use the opportunities to best advantage so we were three tries to one in deficit at half time. Our set pieces found it difficult on occasions against the big Buccs pack. However, we always looked as though we could flourish were we to get enough ball and play with our natural flair and pace.
We had lost several top line players to injury and with a relatively light, inexperienced team there were many creditable performances. Overall, the team showed superb character, ability and grit in the second half, only to be cruelly denied in the end. The second half revival and intent was especially down to heroic Skipper, Marcus (Modser) O’Driscoll. He had been in great part responsible for the fine first half try, however his leadership, his brilliant breaking and brave defence, lifted the entire team to leviathan levels. Modser’s game is not just based on hard running and unyielding defence but his overall skill levels, reading of the game, and clever vectors of running, are exciting and effective. Even as skipper, where so much is expected his game today was such that it would have been indictable not to award him the SoftCo MoM award.
The team, deserve great credit for that second half exhilarating fight to exhaustion against a much heavier unit. They moved the ball at every opportunity, using skill and guile to run Buccs around the field, and except for possibly three miscalculations, they would have at least achieved a deserved draw. Everyone played their part. In the pack, Richie Halpin put in an exceptional performance in the loose and tight. Nick McCarthy was injured half way through the game but bravely fought on. Hugo Diepman showed his worth today; as ever, Paddy O’Driscoll put in a sterling performance. The backline showed the potential of its young occupants. The replacements too, added pace and endeavour upon introduction. Young Sean Heeran again showed his appetite and courage for the fray.
Although we spent much time in the Buccs end during the first half we did not capitalise as we might have. On ten minutes the home side got its first score following a maul and drives. Marys replied on 11minutes, with Modser making a strong straight break to near the line, the recycled ball came to Ruairi Shield and he skipped in at the corner. 5-5. It was 21 minutes gone, when a penalty to the corner led to a mauled lineout and try for Buccs. On 27 minutes in the opposite corner following another penalty, lineout, maul, drives and try converted, saw the score go to 17-5. It remained so to half time. It was looking slightly grim.
As has happened before with this team, the second half against a very strong breeze, the Marys lads, realising their need, exploded into action and led by Modser they attacked everywhere, with fasting rucking and recycling, fast hands and daring darts. The half was only two minutes old when Modser made a brilliant slaloming break, supported by Myles Carey and Craig Kennedy, who showed pace and determination to finish very well. Both Myles and Craig will be happy with their game. The score looked better at 17-10. Then on 62 minutes, well inside his own half, Modser picked off a beautifully timed intercept and ran the whole way to the line, chased all the way, impressive pace! It was now 17-17.
Marys continued to probe and prod, and were looking strong. Eventually, on 76 minutes, our having lost the ball, Buccs attacked, but we looked well in control. A Buccs player when surrounded, tried to grubber through, the ball ricocheted off a stray boot, it kicked up wildly, then bounced straight back into the forward rushing kicker’s hands and he ran in under the post for their fourth try and our demise. 24-17.
For us again ululation for Buccs celebration.
Well, we have lost ground, and face Old Belvedere next week. They put 57 points on Ballymena today, who in turn put 40 points on us last October. It sounds formidable. It may be formidable, but there is no doubt that is we play with the belief, flair, pace and passion that we can, we will succeed. So, it is up to us. We decide, we do, we win. However, our support must be up for it too. Just think all, if we want our young talented and willing squad to succeed and be given a chance to evolve and graduate, we must give them the support they need in every way.
Be at Templeville, Please.
Team (Rolling Replacements X12)
15 R Shield, 14 H Conway, 13 Myles Carey, 12 M O’Driscoll (Capt), 11 C Kennedy, 10 C Dean, 9 P O’Driscoll, 8 M Fallon, 7 N McCarthy, 6 D Lyons 5 D Mc Donnell, 4 H Diepman, 3 M McCormack, 2 R Halpin, 1 T O’Reilly, S O’Brien, P Dundon, S Heeran, T McMahon, D Moroney.