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.