Old Belvedere RFC 32 V St Mary’s College RFC 28
Energia AIL Division 1B
Ollie Campbell Park
1st October 2022.
Today, we welcome back Energia AIL Division 1B and face it with respect and optimism.
After last season’s astounding finish at Ollie Campbell Park, at the equivalent fixture, some thought Belvo might have named their senior pitch Justin Leonard Field!!
Today’s match up really was a bewildering game, in its turns and twists, though, seeing as it was the first game of the campaign, much will have been learned by it. At 50 minutes when St Marys were behind, 32-7, to go home with 2 points would have looked to be a welcome present, many might have taken 2 pints home, as a consolation. The two points earned may yet be an important contribution to our season.
Therefore, a great deal of credit can be taken by the squad for an exciting extrication from an execrable situation. It required skill, determination and belief.
However, it has to be accepted that, for the first half in particular, the visitors were guilty of constant errors and concessions of penalties, especially at the breakdown. Even the several penalties gained, were frequently wasted by failing to find touch. Indeed the half ended with our losing a man for ten minutes to a yellow card for recurrent transgressions. The usual cohesion and tight defence, were lacking. Great credit has to be given to the Captain Ronan Watters, who worked all game, and kept his team fighting on when it seemed almost Sisyphean.
There were also many promising signs and worthwhile contributions. The welcome newcomers to the club all made significant and appreciated contributions. Ronan Foley showed why he is rated so highly; Harry MacDonald scored soon after taking the field, and demonstrated his power in the loose, particularly. Ethan Baxter is clearly a true 7. Andrew Walsh showed he is a fine scrum half, Conor Hickey at fullback, was effectively busy throughout and Stephen Kilgallen on the left wing, was eager, and displayed real balance and pace; he was active in all aspects of play. He impressed and showed how valuable he will be. He was deservedly accorded the SoftCo MoM Award.
Belvo have a big heavy pack, and an all-round functional unit, with forwards Darling, Owende, and Thatcher prominent and Backs, McAleese and Robles in particular looking dangerous.
Aspects of the game, set pieces, St Marys were conspicuously superior; with scrums, lineouts and mauls all heavily going the visitors’ way. The Marys’ defence of mauls was outstanding and an enormous credit to Coach Sean Cronin. To get two bonus points away from home is always worthwhile. There is little doubt but that St Marys will improve greatly as the season progresses and it would not be imprudent to look forward with enthusiastic optimism. However, it would be wrong to vaticinate the final league outcome, at this time.
The fair sized crowd were well entertained and for the first 14 minutes there was an equality about the game, then after several mauling drives near the Belvo line, the referee awarded Marys a penalty try. Four minutes later, Belvo made use of one of their many penalties to set up a lineout which ended up delivering a try for Pickard, converted by Wilkinson, 18 minutes 7-07.After pick and drives, Owende scored on his 100th Belvedere cap, 12-7. On 33 minutes. Wilkinson made it 15-7. The half ended on that score and with St Marys receiving a yellow card. The visitors resolutely withstood a frantic assault on their line before the whistle went. Half time 15-7.
The second half started with Belvo again attacking and after only two minutes scored fine try, 20-7 and it was 25-7 after Belvo swooped on a loose ball and ran in from 35 metres 32-7 on 45 minutes, they struck again on 51 minutes with pick and drives, it was 32-7 and there was a heads down feeling in the Marys’ support. Some changes had been made, Ronan rallied his men and an ethereal infusion, saw the blue brigands surge. Mark Fogarty, who was in top from all game, on 56 minutes, won a ball and with Ronan and Hugo Conway, broke down field and it ended with big Harry Mac cavorting over for his first try for his new club. Marys were putting on pressure from all over the field with forwards, such as Tommer and Podge, surging forward. Only two minutes later, Ronan himself scored an excellent try after superb interplay and it was 32-21. Then, on 79 minutes after intense pressure in the scrum, St Marys were awarded another deserved penalty try. End of scoring, end of game 32-28.
Next Saturday, a home match looms against Malone, our old friends from Belfast. We had two draws last season; and both clubs lost on the opening Saturday this season, so there will be an ominous need hanging over Templeville Road for both. Marys will be home and if you deliver your side by arriving and giving tongue, there may well be success. There is great fun to be had too.
Our motivational President Gareth Roche, will be taking an attendance roll, so you had better turn up and Roar on Ronan.
Team (12 rolling changes)
15 C Hickey, 14 M Timmons, 13 R O’Loughlin, 12 M Fogarty, 11 S Kilgallen, 10 M O’Gara, 9 A Walsh, 8 R Foley, 7 E Baxter, 6 R Watters (Capt.), 5 D Leane, 4 P Starrett, 3 T O’Reilly, 2 S O’Brien,1 A Mulvihill. R Halpin, M Murphy, P Dundon, L Corcoran, H MacDonald, A McEvoy.