Sunday’s Well 24 Skerries 21
Match report sourced with Our Thanks.
It was a great day out at Musgrave Park last Saturday. On a day of mixed emotions; as the ‘Well celebrated a great performance and victory, while also commemorating one of the great club servants Ken Arigho who sadly passed away this week. No doubt he would have been looking down with joy on the manner and style of the victory as well as the result itself.
There was a big crowd that came out for the last home game between Christmas; and was a fantastic buzz around the club before the game. While recent results haven’t gone the way many would have wanted; no one had dropped their heads and everyone from the players, coaches, committee and supporters were focused on a big game against a strong high-flying Skerries team.
Some early indiscipline allowed Skerries a pathway into the game; with Ronan Mulcahy kicking three penalties to one from Fabien Loughrey; putting the visitors into an early 9-3 lead. The ‘Well had some bright moments in the opening minutes. Shane Keevers made some powerful bursts while Reece Mintern and Finn MacFhlannchadla carried strongly to pressurise the Skerries defence.
On the 20 minutes mark; with a potential attack seeming to be closed down by Skerries; Harry McHenry put up a big high kick towards the Skerries 22. Two covering defenders rushed out, competing with Keevers for the ball and it was the ‘Well winger who made a clean catch; with his momentum brining him past the last line of defence. He was in oceans of space and carried through to touch down under the posts; allowing Loughrey the simple task of converting to put the ‘Well into a 10-9 lead.
Skerries, with a powerful scrum and well managed line-out responded. A series of penalties heaped the pressure on the ‘Well. The hosts defended vigorously and Loughrey in particular was a nuisance on the opposite nine. They seemed to do enough to halt an attempted Skerries attack as a ball seemed close to going forward from Shane Murphy. However; the ball did manage to sneak out to Paul O’Loghlen and the back-line spread the ball wide; with Lorcan Jones managed to utilise the space against a stretched defence to touch-down; giving Skerries a 14-10 lead at the break.
Having lost heavily on the penalty count in the first-half; the ‘Well reversed that trend; dictating the opening moments after the restart and winning the first six penalties of the half. This allowed them to build up pressure, with a series of line-outs where Conor O’BRien was dominating. While Skerries worked hard to prevent the ‘Well maul from making in-roads, the penalty count did eventually lead to one of their second-rows being yellow-card.
The ‘Well took full advantage. Shortly after the carding, a series of strong carries brought the ball to within inches of the line and Evan O’Connell powered his way over to touch-down. Loughrey duly converted.
The ‘Well dominated territory and won a key turnover outside the Skerries 22. Denis Hurley showed all his skill and guile to offload to the supporting Andrew Mintern who then fed Reece Mintern. The clever passing interplay allowed Fabien Loughrey then to burst through a gap, a move that unfortunately this writing can’t do justice to; with immense precision and timing on the passes and angles of running. Loughrey converted his own try to make it 24-14 with ten minutes remaining.
After a quiet ten minutes; that may have suited the ‘Well; Skerries went full out in the final ten minutes. They hammered away and looked to spread the ball out. They may have had an overlap in tight space when they conceded a penalty and a yellow card. The ‘Well battled hard and for eight of those ten minutes; they were able to prevent the relentless pressure from resulting in a try. Eventually Conor Lennox snuck over in the scoreboard corner and a magnificent touchline conversion by Ronan Mulcahy. made it a nervy finish.
Skerries threw caution to the wind in the remaining couple of minutes. It was a rip-roaring finale as they raced up field from their own line but committed desperate defence saw the ‘Well recover and force the knock-on that closed out the game.
Scorers: Sunday’s Well: F Loughrey try, pen, 3 cons, S Keevers, E O’Connell tries.
Skerries: L Jones, C Lennox tries, R Mulcahy 3 pens, con.
Sunday’s Well: J Featherstone; S Keevers, J O’Leary, D Hurley, G Downey; H McHenry, F Loughrey; E O’Connell, J McHenry, M McCarthy; J Costello, R Mintern; F MacFhlannchadha, A Mintern, C O’Brien (c). Replacements: J Downey, C Axson, D Hanafin, A Lane, R O’Donoghue-Kelleher.
Skerries: R Mulcahy; L Jones, K McGrath, M Sherlock, R Woods; P O’Loghlen, S Murphy; C Marrey, K Leonard, T O’Donovan; J Waters, R Halligan; S Deering, P Finn, P O’Neill. Replacements: T Scuffil, B Murphy, B McKiernan, C Doyle, C Lennox.
Referee: K Coffey (IRFU)