Thursday, 15 February 2018

U15 Boys Rugby

U15’s Cleary Cup Match Report
“When you are so close, you know you are not far away”. I am not sure who said these words, but whoever they are, got it spot on.
That is how it has been for our U15’s team so far this season. Our Cleary Cup campaign begun today with a fixture against Nenagh CBS. Awful conditions meant it was not a game that was “easy on the eye”. A lot of spilled balls from both teams meant stoppages and mistakes aplenty. However, this did not lessen the effort of our boys.
Diarmuid Kilroy received the kick off with solid hands and carried well into contact afterwards. Unfortunately, that was the highlight of the opening 10 minutes for us.
We were not taking our chances to play our way out of defence and with some poor communication and missed tackles, we conceded 2 early tries. Their out-half was a threat throughout the first half and everything went through him. After being 12-0 down, we took the game to them for the last 10 minutes of the 1st half.
Our flying fullback, Fahad, whose speed was complimented by the Nenagh coaches, was almost impossible to tackle. During one particular attack (which led to our first try), he swerved around 4, or 5 defenders and got us close to the opposition line. We secured the ball at the breakdown and were rewarded with an excellent try by Eoin McCormack. After initially being held in the tackle, he rolled out of it and stretched over the line for a great score. 12-7 to Nenagh.
Our ball carrying up front was now proving to be a great weapon. Leon Mullaly has improved so much as a ball carrier. Many of his hard and direct carries put us in a number of good attacking positions. This was a good omen for the 2nd half performance. The score was 12-7 at half time and we would go on to dominate many parts of the second 30.
We kicked off and they immediately secured possession. They scored a very good try out wide, but we were not fazed. We had the whole second half to play and the first half proved we could live with a physically stronger team.

We got back on track almost straight away. After securing possession from the kick off we held onto the ball for 8 phases. All our players were excellent in their support of the ball carrier. We were getting on top and the boys knew it. Our tails were up and we brought the game to Nenagh.

Fahad pulled up injured with a calf injury that has been hindering him for a few months now. He was a big loss, but Adriane was a fit replacement and he proved that by finishing off a great score under the posts. After a quick tap and go from Max, who eluded 3 tacklers with a great carry, he off loaded to Adriane around the 22 and Adriane did the rest. Stepping 3 defenders, he finally got tackled 5 yards from the line, but with a great leg drive he barged his way over for an excellent score. Max did the necessary and complimented the try with a great conversion. 17-14 to them. Game on!!!

We knew the game was within touching distance and our boys never gave up. We just needed the next score. While camped inside their 10m with only 2 minutes to go, our anxiousness proved our undoing and we ended up spilling the ball. Their winger pounced on it with a kick and chase. It was a race to the try line and unfortunately he got there first. Only a minute to go and with the score now at 22-14, that was it for today.

Our overall performance was very good. We carried hard and direct with Tadhg Shanahan improving his direct lines of running in every match. His leg drive in contact was excellent and he battled for every inch against lads much bigger than him. On the wing, Tommy McDowell found himself throwing his body into so many contact areas that he took a lot of knocks, but kept getting back up. He is always in the right place at the right time in defence and with a little bit more work on his tackling technique he will be a very good player. Glen and Vincent were always a threat and they are so hard to tackle when they are in full flight.
Our front row scrummaged more solidly in the second half and protected our ball at ruck time too. Godwin and Christian used their strength to great effect with big hits and big carries. David and Ross are a good partnership in the second row. When we need to step up, these two are excellent to have in the engine room.
Eoin and Max are brilliant at the breakdown and contest every loose ball. They are the type of players who love a quick paced game and always work tirelessly for 60+ minutes. Thomas Lillis was very good at 6 and probably turned over 4 balls. When he went to 10 he was also effective, but I am still trying to convince him that he is better in the pack. He has 4 more years left in the school. I have plenty of time!!!

While the immediate goal is to win The Cleary Cup, our long term goal is qualification for the Munster Schools Junior A Cup next season. Can we do it? We certainly have the ability.  

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

U15 Boys Rugby McCarthy Cup Semi-final

Yesterday was a proud day to be associated with Villiers School. The day began with an air of apprehension over whether our U15’s McCarthy Cup semi-final against a super power of Munster rugby, Presentation Brothers Cork, would go ahead. The weather was unfavourable. As the trees were undressing themselves for winter, the sky was telling its own story. There was an anger to it. It was emotional as it cried energetic tears all night and all morning. Was this symbolic of the persona a rugby player needs to carry onto the field of play?

The game was going ahead. 20 young Villiers boys, two transition year helpers and two teachers / coaches took to the road to Cork to play in our biggest game of the year. The spirits were high. Our lads were in good form and although we were massive underdogs, we knew we had the work done to, at least, be competitive.
When you are playing PBC, you are playing against a school whose traditions are steeped in rugby. “Pres” is known country wide for their rugby prowess. After all, this rugby nursery produced international rugby players like Ronan O’Gara, Peter Stringer, Frankie Sheehan, Michael Bradley and Simon Zebo, to name a few. This rugby CV meant nothing to our boys. We were Villiers and we were not going to lie down.

The game began with us conceding an early converted try. The Pres boys had their tails up, but our pack of forwards put them to the sword for the rest of the first half. Rugby is a game where no quarter is asked, no quarter is given, and our 8 boys up front knew the responsibility they had to get the ball to our speedsters out wide. All 15 players carried hard in attack and came off the line quickly and aggressively in defence. We were vocal in support of one another and this work ethic paid off with one of our best team tries of the season from Glen Nelson. We built phase after phase to make it into their 22. When Glen got the ball, he must have eluded 5 tacklers with 2 more hanging off him as he got over the line for a superb score. With a cool head, Max Clein converted it. We were back in the game at 7-7.

As the 1st half progressed, we were getting on top. Winning the collisions, dominating the breakdown and territory. Above all else, we were winning the battle in the work rate department. Diarmuid Kilroy and Doug Howell chased everything and never stopped working. Our front row of Christian, Ross and Godwin worked tirelessly at the breakdown. Christian made a number of effective carries. Tadhg Shanahan carried hard, running direct lines and tackled everything that came his way regardless of the size of the opposition player. With everything going so well, one spilled pass with 2 minutes to half time led to a breakaway try by their very good winger. They converted to make it 14-7 to them at halftime, but we were nowhere near panic mode. We were well in the game and with some fresh legs coming in at halftime we were ready for round two.

The message between the players themselves at halftime was, “We can do this boys”. The message between the coaches and the parents who travelled to support their sons was the same.

The first 10 minutes of the 2nd half was a struggle, as we could not get our hands on the ball, but with great belief and outstanding defence, they could not break us down. After putting in tackle after tackle, we turned them over on our own 22. This led to us working our way down the pitch, building phase after phase with a confidence that these players should be showing in every game. Our new recruit, Fahad, who after only his second rugby match ever, took a pass on the halfway line and blitzed their defence running through them like a knife through butter. It was an exceptional score. This speed has to be seen to be believed. Once again, Max Clein stepped up to the plate and converted to bring it back to 14-14. Game on!

Our halftime changes boosted our every levels. The wet and heavy pitch was taking its toll on both teams. Eoin McCormack came on at halftime and was playing brilliant stuff up front. He was turning over ball at every opportunity and drawing in 2 to 3 defenders with every carry in attack. Max Clein was pouncing on every loose ball. Our tight five were smashing the breakdown and dominating the tight exchanges. Leon, David Keane and Victor were winning lineouts against the head and tackling everything that moved. In our back line, Noah Patterson and Thomas Lillis were ordering their troops around the pitch and delivering quality possession at the same time. Thomas’s confidence was growing and tried a couple of chips over the top of their defence to get our fast players on the front foot.

We were well up for this. With thirteen minutes to go and at 14-14, our speedster, Fahad, pulled up with a calf injury. He was a huge loss, but Luke Maloney came on and was a very good replacement. He went about his work quietly, but was very effective and put in a number of tackles. Pres got slightly ahead of steam for the next 10 minutes and they were rewarded with a great try out wide. Our midfield got sucked in and one skip pass meant we were facing an overlap. Although, a great tackle by Tommy McDowell meant they needed to work extra hard to score, once they got in behind us it was just one more ruck, a pick and go in close and a good finish to a fine score. 19-14 to Pres. Unfortunately, within 5 minutes they had scored another try. 24-14 to them.

With only 8 minutes remaining, a lesser team would have thrown in the towel, but not the boys from Villiers. During a huddle at the back of the posts, our lads demanded nothing less than 100% for the remainder of the game. 10 points down with only 8 minutes left. We needed the next score and we got it.
We kicked off. Eoghan McCormack won the ball with a leap above all the Pres boys that Paul O’Connell would have been proud of. Upon winning possession, he carried hard for 10 yards tying in a number of defenders. Noah fed Thomas at 10 and Thomas hit Glen Nelson with a lob pass. Glen carried with a typical jinking run that belied his years. They could not put a finger on him. He got within 15 yards of the line. We picked and went for 3 phases. We were not giving this up easily! With one final pick and go and ably supported by some of his team mates, Max Clein barged his way over the line for an exceptional team try. 24-19. 2 Minutes to go.
This had nothing to do with coaching. This was 20 lads who fought for each other for over an hour. They were exhausted and were total underdogs since the fixture was finalised, but with only 2 minutes to go on the clock, we were still in it.

We got ourselves organised to receive the kick off and receive it we did. We worked hard for the remaining time left. We only needed one score, but it was not to be. We knocked on a ball on the halfway line. They got the scrum, secured possession and kicked it off the battlefield.  Game over!
There was only the bounce of a ball in it, but the proverbial ball just bounced the wrong way. The boys were dejected and some needed an arm around the shoulder to pick them back up. They gave it everything. The rugby ‘B’ school from Limerick pushed a giant of schools rugby the whole way. In time to come they will understand the personal rewards you will get in life purely from hard work. Yesterday, these boys, all 20 of them, grew out of their jerseys and increased Villiers reputation as a school to be reckoned with on the rugby pitch. Villiers and PBC are never mentioned in the same breath when it comes to rugby. A change is on the horizon.


Friday, 3 November 2017

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Halloween Supervised Study Tue Oct 31st to Sat Nov 4th 2017

      Lunch 1pm - 2pm (students are allowed to leave school to go to the local shop during lunch time)