Weekending October 21st 2011. Week

November 7, 2018

In the end it was probably a bit too close for comfort in our latest Ulster Bank League game last Saturday. 10 minute left and St Marys had just barged over for a try that put them just 4 points behind. The thoughts of losing at that stage of the game were almost unbearable, given the enormous effort displayed in the previous 70 minutes. But we need not have worried as the warriors on the pitch continued to do what had served them well throughout the game and worked their way down the pitch to give Gareth yet another shot at goal which didn’t even have time to land after it sailed between the uprights before the referee blew for full time. It was another great win to match our previous two and the start of the League campaign could not have gotten off to a better start. St Marys were a formidable side, as usual, and never left us out of their sights throughout the game, and on a day when the ball was greasy and not altogether suitable for running rugby, our defence in midfield and out wide had to be on almost constant alert. But the successful marshalling of any attacking deployment was meeting, again with stern and committed resistance by the backline. While it was indeed two of the backline that took the scoring plaudits, the manner in which those chances were created was down to yet another powerful display by the pack that seem to get better as each game progresses. The almost forgotten rolling maul was a very effective tool on a damp day, and each time it was invoked, it was done in an assured and controlled manner reminiscent of the Niall O’Donovan and Sonny Kiely days.

In fact the game bore an uncanny resemblance to our previous game against Cork Con in the manner in which it transpired. The pack were getting a regular shunt, both on our scrum and on St Marys, both of which had obvious benefits , while only one lineout went astray during the game. Rugby, as the TV pundits will keep reminding us, is all about primary possession and when you can excel in achieving that, then the rest will soon follow. To say it was just an eight man show would be thoroughly unjustified to the backs who worked equally hard in both defence and attack. Gareth Quinn McDonogh’s trusty boot was again in good working order  and while his 4 successful penalties were well struck, it was his superb drop goal just before the break that saw us edge into a 9-6 lead at half time. Given the way the first half went, we were reasonably happy with that, and when he landed another penalty it was looking even better. The pack was in control and was forcing the penalties which were a constant source of joy for the supporters. It’s not often we see two drop goals in one of our games , but David O’Donovan has always convinced himself he would eventually get one and after over 10 years of trying , he finally nailed a beauty. There was however, little time for celebration, as Marys came back hard and fast trying to make a dent in the 15-6 lead. There was an inevitability that they would eventually score after their only period of sustained pressure, but there was no sense of panic in the aftermath. The lads went about their business very much as they had prior to the try and eventually and also inevitably a kickable penalty came through the forwards and with it an 18-11 win, our third on the trot.

Again we’ll say that the road ahead is long, but that’s not to mean we can’t take immense pride in the efforts of the lads so far. Each win brings a notch of confidence which is never a bad thing if harnessed correctly, and there’s no doubt that is what will occur. Eoin Sheriff lined out for his first start in the jersey and his grasp of the Isle is becoming as impressive as his play. We suspect he may be getting lessons from his older brother. Anyway , with no game this weekend the lads get a few days of from training before they’re back at it as hard as ever in preparation for the next formidable challenge up in Greenfields.

It was great to see our U/9’s get the chance to play during half time. With a large squad it was decided to play two Shannon teams against each other which gave all the boys the wonderful opportunity of playing on the hallowed pitch. There was no shortage of skill shown and threes no doubt that quite a few of those lads will have a more regular feature on the Thomond Park pitch in years to come.

The U/21’s began the day last Saturday when they played Young Munster in a rearranged North Munster league game and played some outstanding rugby in a big 40-8 win. It was a great confidence boost for the lads after their opening defeat in the AIL and they played the rugby that they are always capable of playing. Many mistakes were rectified in the six try performance. It was very much a combined effort from all the players with both backs and forwards contributing to the big score. Two half tries in the first from Darragh O’Doherty, along with one each from James Murphy and Darragh Crawford set us on the right path, while in the second half these were added to by the two Aarons, O’Brien and Spring. 2nd row Mike Madden was in exceptional form especially with the boot converting five of the six tries. Next up for the 21’s is a tough trip to UCC on Saturday in the SWC of the AIL.

The thirds were next up and in a tight game against Old Crescent, there was nothing to separate the sides at the end of a 12-12 draw. It could be argued that iota was a game that we had the capability of winning, but sometimes things just don’t go your way. In the end it was missed opportunities that cost us the full points, but then again Old Crescent are always tough at thirds level, so maybe the lads should be satisfied to some degree. The game comes thick and fast for the thirds, and this Weekend they play St Senans. At the time of writing confirmation was pending as to whiter it will be Friday night under lights or Saturday. Check the website for details.

A late call on Saturday night saw the women’s game against Tralee cancelled, which was a source of disappointment for them, but we did have plenty of underage rugby on Sunday to keep us satisfied.

The U/8’s coached enthusiastically by Mike Long had their first outing of the season when they went to Annacotty for a four way blitz. As usual with these blitzes we had plenty of entertainment from all the teams, and the excitement of the players is always a joy to witness. It was a great morning of rugby and the keen competitive Shannon edge is very evident in this group of players.

The U/12’s hosted Scoil Ide and Clanwilliam in Coonagh and it was the first time we have played the Corbally school in many years

The U/15’s had a big game against Young Munster in the league and were not found wanting. They put in a marvellous performance and eked out a tight 13-12 win. It was tense affair with both sides in fine fettle, but our lads just about squeezed through. The pack were dominant in the set piece and were denied  a try once or twice, but our captain Jack O’Donnell was a leader in so many ways on the day and himself and James Brennan crossed for crucial tries. It was however Evan O’Connor that shone brightest with a confident display which yielded a crucial penalty. It was a big test and the 15’s passed with flying colours so well done to all.

Our U/17’s had a comprehensive win over Estuary in a challenge game as they prepare for their upcoming league. 8 tries in total were scored with Robbie Deegan converting six, including two of his own. It was a very comprehensive performance all round and with their opening league game coming up against Kilrush Sunday week it was a timely reminder of what they’re capable of.

Shannon /St.Marys U/19’s travelled to Clanwilliam for what proved to be a useful exercise in their preparation for the league which starts next Sunday. Clan struggled for numbers so our panel bolstered them with some guest players. We came out on top by a scoreline of 19-12 in what was a hard fought contest. However, if they are to make an impression on the league, coach Brendan Mc Namara suggests that they pick it up a bit, especially this Sunday when they play UL/Bohs.

We take the opportunity to congratulate one of our thirds players John Adams who recently joined the ranks of the referees association and only last Sunday, officiated his first game. We wish him all the very best with the whistle.

Our World Cup prediction draw is coming to a conclusion and we have quite a few in contention for the prizes. We have the leader board published on the website under latest new so you can check to see if you’re close to the mark. When the World Cup is over, we’ll publish a full list of the good and not so good.