Belfast Harlequins v Skerries 8th of Dec
Mulcahy lands final kick to share spoils!
Skerries 10. Try Kevin McGrath, Con Billy Mulcahy, Pen Billy Mulcahy
Belfast Harlequins 10
This fighting draw may turn out to be the turning point in Skerries survival for division 2B status. The course of their season so far has been blighted with injuries, unlucky losses but this match provided a lot of promise as Skerries rolled out a very youthful side in search of their first league win against Belfast Harliquins in Deramore Park, Belfast.
A total of 10 players were not available for this fixture so there were a number of enforced changes. Trevor Scuffil coming into the front row, Kieran Leonard at hooker, while there was a whole new backrow combination of Ben Jenkinson, Conn Marry and Dan Egan. Robbie Jenkinson started at fly half, while Billy Mulcahy move to full back and Lorcan Jones shifting to wing. On the bench, Sam Deering, Paddy Fay Watt and Cormac Murphy all adding to the youthful Skerries side.
A typical December day, wet, windy and cold but the Deramore pitch was in good condition. Both presidents had alluded in their pre match speeches hoping for a win to change both clubs fortunes based on the league placings.
Skerries played with the wind at their backs in the first half. Both teams tried to play open rugby but the conditions were difficult. The Skerries scrum was strong which allowed Robbie Jenkinson to push them into the Harlequins half. The centres of Dempsey and McGrath were linking well to cause trouble in the Harlequins defence but Skerries could not make that break through.
Mid-way through the first half, Skerries were awarded a penalty just on the Harlequins 10 meter line which Billy Mulcahy duly slotted to give Skerries a 3-0 advantage. Skerries continued to search for a breakthrough but were thwarted by some good defence. With ten minutes remaining in the half, Skerries were reduce to 14 with a sin bin offence and Harlequins took the advantage.
Just before half time the referee awarded a penalty to the home side. The Half time score was now 3-3 which did not reflect the endeavours of both teams.
The second half was nearly a mirror image of the first. Skerries worked some good phases at the lineout with Mulvany and Jenkinson providing the supply. The scrum was still strong and the Skerries back line was testing the Harlequins defence. Harlequins finally made the breakthrough, after some good work by their pack then forced a try which was converted to leave Skerries trailing 10-3.
On with the youthful bench at various times from 20 minutes to go. Sam Deering, Paddy Fay Watt and Cormac Murphy while David Goodman and Ruairi Woods joined the back line. The tempo was maintained and Skerries continued to search for the breakthrough.
The final ten minutes showed the fighting spirit of the team. Good lineout work allowed Skerries forwards to maul deep into the Harlequins 22. The referee deemed a clinical infringement and Harlequins were reduced to 14 men with a sin bin offence. Skerries tried to breakthrough but were repelled with some good tackling. There was a flurry of activity for the final 5 minutes and the travelling support certainly added their voices. The sequences of events included Skerries lineout, maul, turnover, Skerries lineout, Skerries penalty, kick to corner, turnover, another penalty and kick to corner. All these hectic plays had the travelling supporters on their feet willing the team and score. The final play came from a Skerries lineout, good maul by Skerries, there were a number of incisions by Skerries forwards and on the final one, the quick ball release to Kevin McGrath who went over in the corner. Last kick of the game and the pressure went to Billy Mulcahy. Difficult conditions, into the wind, but having taking his allotted time, kept his composure and excellently slotted the conversion to leave the scores tied at 10-10.
The referee blew for full time, Skerries team hugged each other as if the game was won but effort and reward were equalled. As the Skerries team were leaving the Deramore pitch, the travelling supporters lined up and clapped each and every one for their efforts, the roars could be heard down the whole of the Malone road!
The forwards put in a huge effort from Cormac Marrey, Kieran Leonard and Trevor Scuffil holding solid in the scrum ablely assisted by Halligan and Mulvany in the second row, and the back row of Dan Egan who had a exceptional game, Ben Jenkinson and Conn Marrey who covered every blade of grass. The backs with Carron and Jenkinson kept Skerries going forward while centres McGrath and Dempsey were solid supplemented by the back three of Jones, Devitt and a Mulcahy, while Woods and Gooodman never let the side down with their great efforts.
Skerries play Sunday’s Well at home next week hoping to take forward the great positive effort displayed and hopefully register their first win in the league. This is also the last game for 2018 and the Club is hoping for a big turnout to support the boys.
Team Cormac Marrey, K Leonard, T Scuffil, R Halligan, T Mulvany, B Jenkinson, Conn Marrey, E Carron, R Jenkinson, L Jones, S Dempsey, K McGrath, P Devitt, B Mulcahy. Subs: S Deering, C Murphy, P Fay Watt, Ruiari Woods, D Goodman.