On Saturday, 12th October, Energia AIL action returns to Templeville Road for the new season for AIL match day 2. The 1st XV host City of Armagh.
In match day 1, City of Armagh, came from behind to post a hard-fought 13-7 victory over Naas. The only score of a rain-soaked first half at the Palace Grounds was for Naas with Fionn Higgins’ 24th-minute try, which goal-kicker Peter Osborne converted.
In the 2nd half City of Armagh set up a lineout maul close to the corner and replacement hooker Andrew Smyth was driven over for a levelling try. The conversion by out-half Cormac Fox was successful. Two further penalties by Fox sealed victory.
Meanwhile St. Mary’s travelled to Navan. The early part of the game, due to continuous fine rain, was stippled with little errors. This meant settling in was difficult, however it was clear that this would be temporary. After eight minutes and already four scrums, our palindromic rivals converted a penalty, 3-0. The position and perception swung over and back until 26 minutes when a nicely held up pass put a Navan’s Evan Dixon, through a gap in midfield and he ran straight in from 40 metres, 10-0. That adrenalinised the Marys’ 15 and the tempo rose and ten minutes and many carries later, Michael McCormack made another of his strong carries, he ploughed through the Navan defence, from over 20 metres out and made the line; he was held up, but as mentioned, the ensuing scrum saw demolition of the Navan scrum and a penalty try making it 10-7. A few minutes later a blocked down defensive kick, led to a siege of our line but with granite grit our defence held, until a penalty gave the home team a halftime lead of 13-7.
The second half saw the appearance of Cormac Foley and his strategic kicking gave us threatening positions; and our ball holding improved. After some heavy duty pressure Navan conceded a penalty on 48 minutes, which Rhuairi Shields converted and it was 13-10. The tempo stayed high and you could feel the pressure and with it the excitement grew; we could feel the current flow. Then a “clothes-line tackle”, with a penalty only awarded on 56 minutes, Rhuairi made it 13-13. Marys mounted a sustained period of pressure. A dropped ball and a Navan break out turned the tide. Then we conceded a silly penalty; they kicked to the corner, took the lineout and when held up, recycled and when the ball came to van der Vyver, he skimmed though our defence and scored a very good try, ominously it was 18-13. However, we returned to the fray undaunted. A well directed kick from Cormac Foley towards the corner was not cleared and hard running Hugo scored his try under the posts. After the conversion it was 18-20. Then after a conceded penalty by Navan, Mick O’Gara scored a long range penalty to make it 18-23. That was how it rested and so that much sought after away win was achieved.
This Saturday both teams will hope to continue where the left off last weekend. There should be a great game in store for the Templeville Road crowd. A game not to be missed.
St. Mary’s – W
City of Armagh – W
R 1: Navan 18-23 St. Mary’s; City of Armagh 13-7 Naas;
Sat 27th Oct 2018: St. Mary’s 27-11 City of Armagh (Templeville Rd) – AIL Division 1B
Sat 9th Mar 2019: City of Armagh 39-21 St. Mary’s (Palace Grounds) – AIL Division 1B
St. Mary’s College: Points: Ruairi Shields 6, Mick O’Gara 5, Hugo Conway 5; Tries: Hugo Conway, penalty try 1 each.
City of Armagh: Points: Cormac Fox 8, Andrew Smyth 5; Tries: Andrew Smyth 1;