Ulster Bank League Division 1A: St Mary’s College V UL Bohemian – The Sunday Independent – September 30 2012

Mary’s get title defence off to the perfect start




TRIES in either from Marcus O’Driscoll and Kevin Croke proved essential in Templeville Road on Saturday, as 2012 AIL winners St Mary’s got their new campaign off to a winning start with a hard-fought victory over a determined UL Bohemian side.

Mary’s had started this contest with great intent, but the UL rearguard held firm, and they would eventually break to take the lead on 21 minutes when Munster star JJ Hanrahan opened the scoring with a  close-in penalty.

This was certainly a major boost for the Limerick men after a tricky opening, but their defence would eventually be breached on 25 minutes when Mary’s replacement O’Driscoll drove over the line just moments after being introduced, following terrific approach play by Phillip Brophy and Darren Hudson.

Crotty made no mistake this time from the subsequent conversion, and he added to his tally with seven minutes remaining in the first half with a well-struck penalty from distance, affording his side a 10-3 mid-way advantage.

Despite coming off second best for much of the opening 40 minutes, UL Bohs were never going to be dismissed lightly, and they cut into the Mary’s cushion just four minutes after the restart when Hanrahan kicked majestically from halfway to split the posts for the second time in the game. The
Templeogue outfit were proving to be formidable in attack, however, and they once again followed up a UL penalty with try.

This time it took them just three minutes to rein in the Bohs defence, as No. 8 Kevin Croke crossed over in the right corner at the end of a fine cross-field move. Crotty once again converted, as it looked like
Mary’s were on their way towards a comfortable victory.

UL clearly didn’t read the script, though, as they powered their way back into the reckoning with a
well-deserved try courtesy of replacement scrumhalf Rory White, after a lengthy period of intense pressure towards the Mary’s line. The ever-reliable Hanrahan was on hand to add the bonuses, which ensured that the Mary’s lead was back down to four heading into the home stretch. Hanrahan then had a chance to make it a one-point game with a penalty on 74 minutes; however he was wide of the
mark with this effort from the left, and this was as close as they would get to Mary’s in the closing moments, despite their best endeavours late on in the game.

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