Match Centre - November 16, 2019 - 2:30 pm

All Ireland League 

St. Marys College RFC
Banbridge RFCBanbridge RFC 1sts XV

@ St. Marys College

Match Details


Two sides sitting tied on points at the wrong end of the table fought out the tight game that might have been expected, with the result going in the favour of the home side thanks to an excellent try run in from 95 metres.
“We were pleased to come away from St Mary’s with a losing bonus point. It’s an incredibly tough place to go but we are a little gutted not to come away with the win,” was Bann Coach Mark McDowell’s opening comment as he reflected on his side’s fourth defeat in six outings. “That was another game we could have won – there were chances to kick on and win it. There was a little bit of inaccuracy on our part but also credit to Mary’s for the way they defended during that part of the game.”
Bann were on the rack in the opening stages of the game and St Mary’s had three points on the board within five minutes thanks to Ruairi Shields’s penalty conversion. The re-start went straight into touch leading to a Mary’s scrum on halfway and when home full-back Mark Fogarty led a counter-attack off a ball fielded just inside his own half the home side were denied a try by a knock-on two metres out from the Bann line.
When Shields kicked his second penalty with 18 minutes played, Bann still had not paid a visit to the opposition half.
But when they eventually did they certainly made it count. A penalty won inside their own half was advanced 10 metres when scrum-half Jonny Stewart was impeded. That set up an attacking lineout on the opposition “22”. Several phases took play to the left of the posts and when the ball was moved right a long pass found Peter Cromie, whose shimmy opened up a gap which he raced through to touch down, with Adam Doherty adding the extras.
Stewart’s tidy break might have seen his side pick up a second try before the break, but Bann finished the half and started the next in the ascendancy, with home flanker David Aspil taking an enforced 10 minute break from the action.
Doherty’s 42nd minute penalty attempt lacked the kicker’s usual accuracy off the tee but, after Bann winger Joe Finnegan had been yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on, the full-back twice broke through the home lines to set up clear scoring opportunities, with winger John Porter just failing to finish off the second.
Following a knock-on at a lineout five metres out from the home line, St Mary’s ran the ball along their threequarters. It seemed a risky manoeuvre but when right winger Hugo Conway was put in possession he set off on a blistering run with a dummy on halfway leaving his route to the try line clear. Shields added the conversion and a seemingly deflated Bann side subsequently conceded a penalty which the home out-half duly despatched to leave Bann nine points adrift.
“That try followed by the penalty really swung the momentum in their favour,” said McDowell. “We just didn’t really seem able to rally after that. But I think it shows the character that we have in this playing group that we worked hard to get a losing bonus from the last kick of the game.”
With Doherty having retired from the action with an injured shoulder the responsibility for taking that last kick fell to Finnegan and he coolly slotted it between the posts for a point that could prove important come the end of the season.
McDowell said that he thought his team deserved to take something away from what was a very evenly contested game. “I can’t fault the effort on our part. They certainly had us under the pump in the first 20 minutes but it was pleasing to go in at half-time 6-7 up. I felt that our pack really kicked on at the start of the second half and we did everything other than score a try.
“We let the game slip away from us when we were in a position to take it. But I’m very pleased with this block of three games that we’ve just completed. We had a target for how we wanted to play and what we wanted to achieve and we met that target.
“I believe that we have progressed since the first block of three games. The challenge for us over the next couple of weeks is to sit back, review and re-evaluate and set ourselves some more immediate goals again for the next block of three games.”
Bann team v St Mary’s:- Adam Doherty, John Porter, Andrew Morrison, Ross Cartmill, Joe Finnegan, Josh Cromie, Jonny Stewart, Michael Cromie (Capt), Peter Cromie, Stuart Cromie, Matthew Laird, David O’Connor, Robin Sinton, Ryan Hughes, Greg Jones. Replacements:- John Wilson, Callum Reid, Max Lyttle, Dale Carson, Jason Gribbon