Hard-fought victory for Young Munster over St Marys College

November 7, 2018

From the off however, Young Munster took control in the scrums and earned two early penalties to take a 6-0 lead at the boot of Brian Haugh. These were the only scores of the half, with both sides having a penalty kick each go wide before the break.

If the first half had been hard-fought yet relatively uneventful, the second half was quite the opposite. Referee Richard Kerr produced six yellow cards during the half as both coaches looked on incredulous.

Mary’s centre Marcus O’Driscoll landed a drop goal for the visitors after the restart bringing the score to 6-3. After repeated infringements their loosehead Colm McMahon was the first to see yellow.

Young Munster continued to dominate in the scrum, and after winning one against the head, Gareth Quinn-McDonagh took the ball to the corner with a giant kick to bring play to the Mary’s 5m. On attack and looking like this was surely going to be our try, we had an overlap on the left wing but as the ball was passing out, Arthur Lyons deliberately knocked on for Mary’s earning himself a yellow card and leaving the ref with little choice, after discussion with his assistant, to declare a penalty try. Brian Haugh converted and we were up 13-3.

Moments later it was 13-6 as Ray Crotty landed a penalty in front of the posts at the Clubhouse end for St Mary’s.

Our back row Luke Russell was next to see yellow for repeated infringements at the breakdown, Mary’s first sin-binned player was back on at this stage so both sides now had 14 players on the pitch.
Hooker Ger Slattery was next on the card list for a professional foul in our 5m, and in the same minute the ref was calling the St Mary’s hooker Richard Sweeney and our no8 Neville Melbourne also giving them yellow cards for what most in attendance agreed were the unlikeliest cards of the day.
We were now down to 12 players, Mary’s had 14 with the earlier carded players back on the pitch. The score was 13-9 now with a penalty scored for Mary’s by Ray Crotty.

With three of the Young Munster forwards in the bin (2,7 & 8), it wasn’t surprising that St Mary’s capitalized at this point, their no8 Kevin Sheehan getting in for a try. They crucially failed to convert the try however, with the kick going right of the posts.
Somehow, despite the numbers game, Young Munster held on. Players worked even harder to cover, and soon Luke Russell was back on the field so at least we were 13 playing 14.
On attack in their 22, we were awarded a penalty 30m out, to the right of the posts, and Brian Haugh curled it over to regain the lead for Munsters, 16-14.
It was tense stuff till the final whistle but Young Munster held out for a very hard-fought home victory over the 2011/12 AIL champs.

A drama-filled second half had seen six yellow cards, a converted penalty try, a try, a drop goal and three penalties. Despite one national newspaper headline declaring ‘Young Munster win bad-tempered encounter’ in fact there hadn’t been a punch thrown, so the encounter was unfairly judged a brawl as a result of the number of cards which were in fact for professional fouls for the most part.

Speaking to press afterwards, Mike Prendergast commented, “It’s on days like these that you can see who stands up best and while we made a few mistakes, I am very proud of our players. We were down to 12 men at one stage as the yellow cards flew about but our defence was great, particularly in the second half. The new guys in our squad have really bought into what we are trying to do here.”
Forwards coach John ‘Paco’ Fitzgerald told the Limerick Leader, “Our defence was awesome today, Luke Russell and Colin Liston were outstanding.”

Final score: Young Munster 16 – 14 St Mary’s College

SCORERS – Young Munster: penalty try, Brian Haugh three penalties, one conversion. St Mary’s: Kevin Sheehan try, drop goal Marcus O’Driscoll drop goal, Ray Crotty two penalties. Yellow Cards:, G Slattery, L Russell, N Melbourne (YM), C McMahon, R Sweeney, A Lyons (SMC).

YOUNG MUNSTER – Craig O’Hanlon; Dom Lespierre, Mark Doyle, Lucas Kuntz, Dara O’Neill; Gareth Quinn-McDonagh, Brian Haugh; Ger O’Flaherty, Ger Slattery, Daragh Cantillon; Sean Duggan, Darren Gallagher; Colin Liston, Luke Russell, Neville Melbourne. Replacements: Mike Madden, Ger Bourke, Hugh McGrath, Pat Fitzgerald (all used), Mike Prendergast.

ST MARY’S COLLEGE – Conor Hogan; Ray Crotty, Marcus O’Driscoll, Ryan O’Loughlin, Darren Hudson; Andrew Burke, Matt D’Arcy; Colm McMahon, Richard Sweeney, Robert Sweeney; Kieran Ruddick, Gareth Logan; Darragh Kelleher, Gareth Austin, Kevin Sheehan. Replacements, Chris Lilly, Peter Starrett, Kurt Haupt, Arthur Lyons (all used), Fossett Dylann

Referee: Richard Kerr (IRFU)