J4 XV v Guinness (H) 01.12.2017

 

Templeville Road on a cold November Friday night saw the Marys J4s take on league leaders Guinness in a pulsating game under the lights.

Games between these two have always had somewhat of an edgy nature, with this being no different.  The extensive scouting network had the lads prewarned to expect a new look Guinness side, adding some fast hands and a bit of pace to their bludgeoning pack.

Guinness had the better of the opening exchanges, with a swift passing move ending up under the posts. To all but the referee it looked like it was held up, but the score stood and was duly converted.

Marys thought they had got one back through Eric, but the referee saw the opposite on this occasion and the try was disallowed, but James Burke dispatched a penalty to reduce the deficit.

Another move by Guinness saw them score their second after a mazy run by their centre, again converted, but this was to be a turning point. Led by carries from the superb Balf and Beef, Mary’s camped inside the Guinness 22, forcing a pair of penalties that Burkey scored, leaving it 14-9 at the break.

With the second half barely started, Guinness tried to move through the backs again, but failed to anticipate the speed of Niall O’D who broke from his own half, leaving players in his wake to plant the ball down to tie the game, with the add on by Burkey to take the lead.

A return to the old tactics for Guinness suited the Marys forwards, with Andy Flats taking on all comers, ably assisted by the rest of the forwards union. Some big carries resulted in the ball popping to Richie Fagan who passed the ball for the first time ever to wing wizard Carlo to touch down in the corner to extend the lead.

Clever kicking by Daly, Burkey and Niall kept forcing Guinness back, with every aerial ball that came back gathered by Walshy, Collie O’Neill, Carlo and Facundo and returned with interest. 

Guinness had run out of ideas and threw bodies forward, repelled each time by a Marys defence that is getting meaner by the week. The mix of youth and experience in Callan Browner and McGill stood firm against the head as Guinness camped on the Marys 5.  Every pick was pushed back by the boys in blue to the frustration of the visitors, who resorted to literally kicking lads to try gain an advantage and duly received a red card.

Marys played out the last four minutes turning over every ruck with a kick to touch to eat into the time, the perfect tactic to ensure the 21-14 victory.  The full squad stood up to be counted, an immense defensive performance laid the foundations for the backs to kick, catch and make yards  against a hard physical side, earning a deserved victory which puts the lads right back into contention towards the top of the table.