Emerald Warriors V Stillorgan
Saturday 24th September 2016, 3pm
A mild wet and windy day met us in Red Arches for the first game of the league, and we were on the pitch working on individual skills as the clock struck two. A good warm-up and some great mind-sets in the tackling drills had us very ready for the game.
We kicked off to Stillorgan with the wind on our backs, and we were straight into an offensive defence, putting them down in every tackle, with some superb tackles from the very start. They started to rely on one or two of their larger players but the frustration started to show in Stillorgan as our players, big and small, stopped their attack, causing knock-ons and bad offloads. The game moved up and down the pitch, with Noel using the wind to kick ball into Stillorgan territory. The first try came as we were defending, our players got sucked into one side of the pitch and Stillorgan made use of the space to land a try.
Our defence maintained it’s aggressive edge, with the ball being stolen a couple of times, and turned over in the ruck also. The scrums were good but need to become more solid, with all of us working as one unit, practice will get us there.
Robert Clancy suffered a broken ankle in a breakdown, and our scrums went uncontested for the rest of the game. A pair of crutches was supplied pitch-side, talk about service! Soon afterwards Ryan Burke received a blow to the head in a double tackle, which rendered him concussed. There was a break of 20mins in the game as we awaited an ambulance, and the care and consideration of our players was top notch, giving the injury space, keeping him warm in the shit weather, and the rest of the team maintained warmth through drills and exercises. The game recommenced, and we were back into it full tilt.
Lineouts on both sides suffered from the wind, with a few throws going off centre, but still we competed at every lineout, and we won most of our own, timing, strong throwing and aggressive jumping paying off.
In the first few minutes of the second half we conceded 2 tried, which knocked the wind out of our sails a bit, but we brought ourselves back into the game. Again, the space opened up on our flank as we were caught up in the action and sucked in towards one side of the pitch. Our focus needs to not only be on where the ball is, but also what is in front of us, where they next attack is coming from. Our ‘close the gate’ defence worked well, putting Stillorgan under pressure and forcing mistakes and bad passes.
From our side there was also a lot of mistakes, but there was a lot learnt from those, and there was also a lot of good work done on instinct and natural ability.
Commendations to Barry, Mark and Brendan in their first games, superb performances from them all. Man of the match was Cesaire Bwaah, for great tackles and great back line play. The improvement made in the past few months by this guy was very noticeable, consistent training paying off.
For me personally it was a superb game, I never felt like we were starting to crumble or lose faith in ourselves, regardless of the scoreline. However, with two key players down, we now need others to step up to the mark. This means turning up, to training and to games. Not wondering about what kind of impact you’ll make, but turning up and finding out. Every player on Saturday made an impact, and definitely made a difference.
Final score: Emerald Warriors 0 – 41 Stillorgan
Warriors Team: Robert Clancy, Richard Fagan, Vincent Kabongo, Marcus Connolly, Wilco Froneman, Mark Mulligan, Simon Murphy, Stephen Carroll, Joseph Ward, Noel Noblett, Cesaire Bwaah, Ryan Burke, Philip Brereton, Brendan Culleton, Lee Martin, Conor Noble, Ioan Hughes, Ray McGovern, Stephen Walsh, David Fitzpatrick.