Emerald Warriors V Stillorgan
Saturday 30th January 2016 2:30pm
Our first Cup game and our fourth time playing Stillorgan this season. We started the game playing into a strong wind, with a somewhat unfamiliar squad, with players in new and unfamiliar positions. Our warm-up involved some gameplay which I think everyone found beneficial to get into tackling and defence straight away.
We received the ball from the kick-off and took it into contact. Our rucks were strong and Stillorgan didn’t manage any turnovers after a ruck was formed, however our ball was slow to get to the back, and we tried to get it out too quickly, which resulted in a bit of fumbling and some panic play. With the wind, there was not a lot of ball getting to the backs and a lot of the play was close. Stillorgans first try came within 15 minutes after a strong aggressive attack, and landed a second try 5 minutes after that.
Our tempo picked up after that and we were up in their faces with an aggressive defence. The discipline on the Stillorgan side was low, and their tackles were high, continually, and we received three penalties in a row bringing us into their 22 area. Eventually, after a little persuasion, the referee handed a yellow card for yet another high tackle, and we edged closer to their try line. After a strong run by Gary Murphy, gaining us considerable distance, the ball was recycled and we were held up after crossing the line. We took a scrum, and edged closer again. However our pick and drive went straight into one of our own players, rendering him offside, and Stillorgan cleared the ball down the pitch.
In the second half, after some frustrating mistakes, we were boosted by the wind on our backs and determined to get over the line. Again Stillorgan were pinged in succession before a second yellow card was awarded, and we took a quick penalty, stopped short of the line, and our second charge landed the ball over the line in the hands of Gary M.
Stillorgan came back at us with close play, then an open attack spreading the ball wide, gaining ground, and then from a ruck or scrum sending a couple of larger players who carried the ball over the line.
Our lack of cohesion in the lineout cost us a lot of lost ball. And a couple of times our tackling was not low enough nor aggressive enough, especially against the larger players. However overall the tackling was consistently better than previous games, and Stillorgan were hard pressed to get through our line, resorting to kicking over the top. The best tackles on the pitch were made by Warriors.
We are again stepping things up and we are getting points on the board. And to look at our squad, there were a lot of players who were playing their first full game. We had a lot of guys out of position. And as Pat said, a lot of us are brand new to this game. The positivity and support on and off the pitch was strong and very beneficial. These are the sort of things that bind a team together, words of encouragement and appraisal. Our experience is building, and our confidence will grow with this. All we need to do is keep putting the work in.
Man of the match Gary Murphy, for aggressive attacking play and bringing the ball over the line twice, and scoring the try!
Final score Warriors 5- Stillorgan 64
Warriors Team: Simon Murphy, Brian Healy, Marcus Connolly, Gary Lynch, Noel Noblett, Joel McKeever, Stephen Walsh, Michael Menton, Ross Loughran, Niall McDonald, Andrew Donovan, Joe Ward, Stephen Hackett, Daniel Howard, Wilco Fronenman, Gary Murphy, Stephen Carroll, David Fitzpatrick, Leonardo Guerrero.