Skerries win 2A/2B Cup
2A/2B Cup Final
Naas RFC has proved a happy hunting ground for Skerries First XV this season. When the team last came here in November 2014 they put 40 plus points on the hosts and delivered one of their finest performances in recent times.
The 2A/2B cup was conceived to give a number of the senior Leinster clubs game time back in January before the AIL resumed post-Christmas. Skerries beat Blackrock College, Greystones and Seapoint on their way to the final.
On Saturday, with the late April rain coming down, they put Tullamore away in the 2A/2B Cup Final 16-7 in front of a decent Skerries crowd. The score was generous to our opponents who played little rugby for the first fifty minutes, who were instead intent on slowing Skerries ball and straying repeatedly off side, giving the referee little option but to sin bin their Number 8 and prop.
Up front during the game, Ross Halligan and Ross McAuley were to the fore, the former putting in some crunching tackles, aggressively counter-rucking and enjoying his finest outing in a Skerries shirt, the latter excelling with ball in hand and using his dancing feet to make space.
The backline threatened to kick into life after a number of lovely catch and run combinations from David Quirke and Eddie O’Mahony.
Ross McAuley scored the Skerries try and Robbie Jenksinon added the kicks.
When Tullamore had to chase the game having going 13-0 behind they actually discovered they could play a bit of rugby and scored a fine try after some decent build up play from their pack, followed by some slick hands from the backline allowing their left-winger to cross in the corner.
Robbie Jenkinson’s penalty with ten minutes to go was the final dagger in the Tullamore coffin.
Skerries picked up a number of injuries during the game. One of note was to Eoin Matthews, who took a heavy bang, have dived on a Tullamore chip kick and was hit with a cynical shoulder and then a flying arm by the Tullamore prop who had already been sin binned in the first half. The referee saw fit to do nothing other than signal for a penalty after consulting his touch judge for the prop going off his feet.
David ‘Dicey’ Reilly is departing these shores for a two year sabbatical in Canada. Dicey has been a terrific addition to the club this season as a ball playing prop. We’ll miss his trademark hard carries and jaw shuddering tackles. Our opposition probably won’t.
Mark Oliver also came off the bench to make his First XV debut on the wing and acquitted himself with aplomb.
The game, allegedly, was Derek Keane’s last rage against the dying of the light. If it is the case, it is worth reflecting on one of the outstanding AIL careers, that has included playing for Skerries under a raft of different coaches at various grades and a hugely successful soujourn at Clontarf at the midpoint of the last decade.
What’s special is that in his final season when his body was creaking yet defying science, he may have enjoyed his best campaign for his boyhood club. Who will forget the almost weekly spectacle of Derek on one wing and O’Mahony on the other slicing through a panic stricken opposition defence after taking a deft pass off Conal Keane.
We’ll sorely miss the characteristic hand off, the zero to twenty gas and the body that never went to the gym yet always had the ability to ghost through even the most competent of tacklers. The other aspect that was hugely noticeable this season – in addition to his zest for life and bringing the feel good factor in a way that only he can into the dressing room – was the esteem he was held in by the younger and senior players. Witness his outstanding performance standing in at No. 8 down in Thomond or his rallying of the troops during a crucial point against Queens at home and you can appreciate a final season where he emptied the tank. Derek – there’s a Level One coaching course in Drumcondra in June with your name on it.
As a way to bring the curtain down on the 2014-15 season, winning the trophy on top of finishing third in AIL 2A was a fitting reward for the players, coaches and management who delivered so much to Skerries supporters this season. The club is composed of a huge number people working tirelessly at mini, right through to youth levels and senior levels, not to mention those working behind the scenes who contribute so much. We are the sum of our parts. Enjoy the off season and thank you Goat Nation! It has been a real blast.
- Mark Nally
- Chris Tonge
- David Reilly
- Ross Halligan
- Joe Glennon
- Tomas O’Hare
- Evan Sherlock
- Ross McAuley
- Robbie Jenkinson
- Eoghan Carron
- Paul Devitt
- Milo McCarthy
- Kevin McGrath
- Eddie O’Mahony
- David Quirke
- Derek Keane
- Kieran Leonard
- Dean Harford
- Mark Oliver
- John Condren
- Mark Boylan
- Eoin Matthews