Monday, 4 February 2013

St Marys vs Kings Hospital Junior Cup First Round

Rolling Forwards dominate the game

The game was exciting, with many breaks and hits. Both teams displayed great determination with every opportunity being fought for. Usually in junior level scrums are competitive, but not as physical as those in senior level. Today this was different, having a huge amount of talent from both sides front row. Every scrum was won on the head, however maintaining the momentum was another challenge in itself. Having the ball being drove and won against the head more than once. This was down to the front 5 themselves. Today the ball was not suitable for stretching line attacks but more persistence with stronger ball carriers hitting tight and gaining the extra yard. Tackling was of very high standard, having very few line breaks but more an extra step in their drive. When given the chance, some players wove through tackle after tackle until brought to a hault. However it was unforgiving to anyone with the pitch being very slippy and water logged in parts.
                                   The game was of little tempo until a Kings Hospital try by Andrew Gibson was scored in the opening minutes. This was a poor start for Mary's, but they slowly but surely compensated up the pitch with a solid try out on the wing after many lengths of the pitch. Mary's first got the possession rolling with a break in the oppositions 10 meter line. This was what they needed to have loosehead prop, Ruadhan Fanning break the icing into Kings Hospitals try line. This gave the break even attitude to which many of the Marys players were fighting for, now it was an aspect of punishing the opposition for the upset to their victory. This was only the beginning and a lot could happen in the next 20 minutes until half time. At half time Marys were in the lead by only a try, if they wanted to win they had to keep up the intensity...
                From the very start of the second half at the kick off, karma was in Marys favor. The ball was being knocked on by the opposition, basics mistakes were made and passing was becoming flustered. This was only the start, with intelligent decision making from scrum half Derry O'Connor suffocating territory and   applying pressure at the weakest points. On the back foot, Kings Hospital began making handling errors and stupid mistakes. This was going to their advantage as it was being knocked backwards, until Marys second center Alexei Schuster made two heroic tackles on players in their own try line and deep in their own half, this is what in my opinion was the heart breaking end for Kings Hospital. After many phases of attacking the defence they coped well considering what little moral they had. Persevering till the bitter end it could only go one way, Marys had won many penalties but were unsuccessful to convert any of them. A lineout on the Kings Hospital 5 meter line set up second row Niall Curran push over to seal the win for them. Having the score brough to 18-5, at a difficult angle Derry O'Connor was very skillful to have got the ball through the posts considering the conditions. At this stage chances were very little of a comeback being possible. Marys forwards had began their quake and weren't stopping until the final whistle. Without failure the pack made tackle after tackle, bringing Kings Hospital shuddering into their own 22 once again. Seconds were left on the clock and Kings Hos were doing whatever they could in effort to fight for their pride, Marys were being awarded free kick after free kick, because of persistence and consistency in their effort to the line. However this was not to be as a penalty was blown and the final whistle announced...
                        In my opinion Marys have a very strong pack, and front row. Very fast and mobile backrow, but outstanding pace and hard running in their centers, with a consistent scrum half to link the two together. If somebody were to be named the man of the match, it would be too close to call, with Forward Niall Curran (the captain) leading and securing the win. but heroic efforts made by Alexei Schuster in my opinion the title is shared between the two !

Well done to the lads and good luck in the next round, and commiserations to the Kings Hospital team.

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