Wanderers V Skerries 13th of Oct
Ulster Bank All Ireland League Div 2B
At Merrion Road – 13/10/2018
Wanderers 16 (P Broughman 3 pens 1 con, P Mallon try)
Skerries 16 (B Mulcahy 3 pen 1 con, K McGrath try.)
Clouds rolled in and drizzle dampened Merrion Road but the less-than optimal conditions failed to dull the spirit of the players as a draw was a fitting result in this entertaining AIL 2B fixture.
Omens were not great when shortly after the start a Skerries penalty failed to make touch and was fielded by the Wanderers winger, but a late challenge resulted in a temporary yellow card suspension for prop Johnny Sherwin.
No score damage resulted from this yellow card incident with few scrums occurring during this period. However a collapsed scrum on 20 minutes saw Skerries lose influential prop Cormac Marrey. Unlike the injury to a current rugby international, with a similar sounding name, we are allowed divulge the diagnosis as being a ‘shoulder injury’. Young Adam O’Connor, a player with potential, entered the game and quickly made a positive impression.
Skerries, without their captain Mikey Sherlock and a number of senior players, were not found wanting in enthusiasm and their commitment cannot be questioned. In particular, Ben Jenkinson and AJ Sherlock took no backward step and the back row of Barry Murphy, Michael Turvey, and player of the match, Ross McAuley, imposed their presence fiercely on the game. Kieran Leonard and Johnny Sherwin, playing in positions not for the fainthearted in the engine room of the front row, will never let the side down.
Following a tackle above the ‘line of the shoulder’ on full back Kevin McGrath, the Wanderers no. 12 was despatched to the sin bin. This advantage was not ignored by Skerries and following a scrum, an 8 to 9 move gave no.10, Billy Mulcahy, the opportunity to neatly combine with McGrath who sidestepped the defence and run 40 metres for an excellent converted try to open the scoring and put Skerries 7 to nil.
This lead was quickly reduced when, following a scrum infringement, Wanderers opened their scoring with a converted penalty. As half time approached a penalty to Skerries restored their seven point advantage
On resumption Skerries were now playing up the hill but on a surface which was in remarkably good condition despite the consequences of Storm Callum.
Successive infringements by Skerries quickly reduced their lead to one point as Brougham converted two penalties. The work rate of scrum half Eoghan Carron and the tactical awareness of out half Billy Mulcahy now played a more significant part in this performance. A refuse-to-lose attitude was exhibited in particular by centres Ross Dempsey and Lorcan Jones but also refreshed by the introduction of Conn Marrey, Peter O’Neill, Ruairi Woods and Dara Lownes. Wingers David Goodman and Paul Devitt need no second invitation to exploit a weakness and were always a threat.
On the hour following a smash and grab Turvey then tore through the Wanderers defence to take play deep into opposition territory. Frantic defence resulted in a Mulcahy penalty moving Skerries four points ahead. A wonderful further touchline converted penalty then restored a seven point lead.
Momentum now favoured Wanderers. All hands were needed on deck and, despite great resilience by the Skerries pack, following a lineout and maul they eventually managed to smuggle the ball over the line to touch down for a converted try which left the score evenly balanced.
All in all the ‘Goats’ rather than the ‘Chaps’ should be more pleased with the performance index.
Skerries have no fixture this coming weekend. Next AIL game is home to Greystones on Friday 26th October at 20.00
Skerries team 1 to 20….Cormac Marrey K Leonard J Sherwin A Sherlock B Jenkinson M Turvey B Murphy R McAuley E Carron B Mulcahy P Davitt R Dempsey L Jones D Goodwin K McGrath Conn Marrey A O’Connor P O’Neill R Woods D Lownes