St Mary’s College RFC U20 15 V Old Wesley RFC U20 24
JP Fanagan League 1
24th January 2023
With spring on the horizon, on a mild late January evening, that freshness metamorphoses into Under 20s rugby and all that it brings. Straining in the porch of manhood, these lads exude the energies and ecstasies of life. Lacking the constraints of that latter stage, but radiating those powers, they bring excitement, skills and audacity to the game, with yet the surety of continuity. The oft brazen unpredictability of underage rugby, somehow, gives it cachet.
And to see the young men of both storied clubs bounce onto the pitch gave a feeling of joy and hope.
A great deal of work goes into the development of these virtuosos of the future, with recruiting, coaching, equipping, inspiring and managing the whole set up. The latter task falls to dedicated Vinnie Murray, who has an almost full time role. He has to be, and is, a father figure, friend and confidant. He is fortunate to have experienced Gary Croke, as assistant manager. Eddie Devitt and assistant, Richard Andreucetti, are young, enthusiastic and talented coaches, working hard to develop the squad.
For both clubs this was an important examination, as they vie to place their team in a more favourable position.
This was fast and exciting game. There were occasions when it became a little chaotic and unstructured and there were youthful errors a plenty on both sides. There was little if anything between them, save kicking. Both sides scored three tries, Old Wesley converted the three and added a penalty. St Marys scored three tries but failed to convert any of them. Old Wesley had also the advantage of a stronger scrum. So the victory fairly went to the visitors.
St Marys had a compact pack that competed well in all phases. Both second rows showed promise with Leon Potts working the lineout well. The captain, Conor Pierce had a fine game, especially in the open where he carried well and scored an impressive try. He was well supported by an effective back row.
Young scrumhalf Shane McGrath, was eager and energetic, keeping pace on the game, and making some telling forays. He also supported well and was there to score an excellent try. Max Svejdar was showing well but early on he had to retire injured.
The energy when the replacements were released seemed to revitalise the game and led to an exciting finish.
After an even first 15 minutes, St Marys took a quick lineout and worked the ball through phases, for supporting, Shane McGrath to score at the Cabbage Patch end. 5-0. On 22 minutes, Old Wesley worked the ball wide and their impressive right winger beat the cover to score in Carvill Corner, 5-7. Their left wing repeated the performance and scored in the Gate Corner on 36 minutes. 5-14. And Wesley added a penalty on Half Time, 5-17.
The second half was six minutes old when, Captain Conor Pierce, from loose play, broke several tackles and with great determination, drove himself over for a try in Carvill Corner. It was 10-17, and an increased urgency imbued the Marys lads. However, it was the visitors who next scored on 54 minutes, 10-24. But three minutes later, Marys got back into the game when they took a lineout, maul in the Well Corner and swayed their way over to bring the score to 15-24. They tried with great effort to get back but it was not to be. Final Score, 15-24.
Team and Replacements.
15 R Moore, 14 S Kennedy, 13 M Svejdar, 12 P O’Beirne, 11 J Brennan, 10 S Phelan, 9 S McGrath, 8 N Manselli, 7 A Sloan, 6 M Gallagher, 5 L Potts, 4 C Pierce (Capt) 3 T Duignan, 2 J McKenna, 1 F King. G O’Shea, E Pender, M Purcell, L Faulkner, R Molloy, M Blake, K Ryan.