Stillorgan 19 (3) v Emerald Warriors 22 (3)
With the ‘Beast from the East’ at bay, the sun made a welcome appearance on Saturday 24 th March
where our final league game of the season was schedules away against Stillorgan.
Weather conditions were next to perfect, the pitch had a lot of space, we had a large squad and
what seemed like an even larger group of support on the side line which was great to see.
We opted to play with our backs to the sun in the first half as it was splitting the sky. From the get
go, we started with an intensity that I don’t think Stillorgan were expecting. Our forwards were
hitting hard both in defence and attack, our attacking lines were set up early and our backs were
exploiting space by judging the setup of the defensive in front of them. There was intelligence to our
play which we have been working on at training and you could really see this transition onto the
pitch. In what felt like quick succession, we racked up 3 tries in the first half; 2 for Brendan and 1 for
Vincent, with 2 conversions kicked successfully. Stillorgan changed tactics where they just tried to
run over the top of us, however our backs and forwards were still too strong for their direct running.
A lack of discipline from Stillorgan gave away an easy penalty in front of the posts which was
converted and we finished the first half with a 14-22 score line.
The second half started slower in what felt like an end to end, stop start affair. We had some great
opportunities, but the end product was not there. We did however defend well with some great
team tackling, forcing opposition over the line and holding the opposition up. We broke in attack
with speed and direct running but our stumbling point was our final pass and end product. We did
work as a unit and we did win the game, however we didn’t make it easy for ourselves. As happy as I
am that we won, there is a serious amount of work that needs to take place to improve our overall
game. Some of our basic skills let us down on the day, handing the advantage back to Stillorgan.
Overall a win is a win and we deserved to win the match with a final score of 19-22 to the Emerald
Our Men of the Match were Césaire and Robbie. Césaire with very little game time throughout this
league campaign had a great overall performance in defence and attack and brought real strength to
our forwards and to the team. Robbie, whose first game it was with the Emerald Warriors slotted in
seamlessly, similarly had a very strong overall game and was a real threat in attack. Well done lads
and to everyone involved, the whole team got us over the line on the day!
We are now finished the 2017/18 league campaign and placed 5 th overall on 15 points. We are the 3 rd
highest scorers in this league and sit with a point’s difference of +2 when subtracting the total scores
we conceded. We should have placed higher and should have won more of our matches. Looking at
our results, 3 games in particular were very close that we could have / should have won. This would
have brought us to a total of 27 points; sitting in 2 nd place, 1 point behind the league winners. We
didn’t concede a match nor did a team concede a match against us in a league that had 12 conceded
games with automatic points awarded to the opposition.
Comparing this to the 2016/17 league campaign where we finished bottom of the league with a
point’s difference of -501, this is a phenomenal difference for just one season. The above is not a
criticism of the 2016/17 team, it’s just the stage of development the team was at and the depth of
talent we had at that point in time. However within one season, a dramatic improvement has taken
place which is all down to you; the players, the coaches, the committee and our supporters. Our
recruitment was excellent and though our own success continues to attract new players and
supporters to this team on an ongoing basis. We had players coming back from injury who have
increased the level of competitiveness and knowledge to share, existing players improving their
game and a new coaching team with a very different ethos which is working well for this squad. We
have lost players to long term and short term injury throughout the season, some due to emigration
and others due to retirement. It shows that this season wasn’t plain sailing, we really did have to
start from the ground up again, however we have been semi rewarded and you should take pride
from these results. I believe equally if not more importantly is that I feel the attitudes of other teams
in our league have also changed. We have won games and had some really close results; we are no
longer a team you will notch up a cricket score against.
Overall, I’m happy and you should be too. We have finished the league on a high and want to
continue with this momentum into the next 11 weeks of preparation for Bingham. That preparation
starts tonight in St. Mary’s at 7pm. See you all there.