Greystones upset the odds
Coolmine Under 15s travelled to Greystones with confidence high after some great results in the last few weeks. Having seen off the stiff challenges of both Barnhall and Cill Dara in the previous 2 weeks, and with Greystones on a pretty ordinary run of results, there was an expectation that the morning was going to go well.
The first blot on the horizon was the”pitch” that the game was assigned to. With a slope on it that Chris Bonnington would have struggled with, and not a hint of green as far as the eye could see, it wasn’t worthy of the title.
The muddy conditions brought to mind the Battle of the Somme to many of the parents watching (obviously not from personal experience). Still, it was the same for both teams, and the coaches and team didn’t let it get in on them during the warm up.
Greystones won the toss and chose to play both downhill and with the breeze. Coolmine kicked off and the conditions and the environment quickly set the agenda. For the first 10 minutes, Coolmine couldn’t get out of their own half. They regularly won possession, but the muddy ball meant there were more handling errors in this period than you would expect in an entire game. Scrum followed scrum, followed knock on followed scrum. It was tough going for the forwards and it was obvious that it wasn’t going to be a day for the backs. There were some displays of great defence during this period. Dean stopped his man metres from the line and Max also executed a great stop on their big wing, to keep it scoreless
The one break for Coolmine came from Ben Colgan who got the ball off the back of another scrum and broke the line. He just got to the Greystones half before being stopped, but unfortunately it was only a short respite.
The best attack came from Greystones after 27 minutes. They worked the ball into the left corner and were patiently recycling the ball but super defending of the initial attack as well as the 2 penalties awarded by the ref ensured the home team didn’t cross the line.
Max made a break just before half time, but his pass inside was judged to be marginally forward and that signalled the end of the half.
Coolmine were definitely the happier team with the scorelessfirst half. It could not be overstated how difficult it was to deal with the conditions. The underfoot conditions ensured that it was nearly impossible to run the ball out of this part of the pitch, and the wind against ensured that kicking wasn’t an option either. These were going to be in Coolmine’s favour for the 2nd half.
Mick made 3 substitutions, all forwards at half time.
The change of direction had an immediate effect on the game. Almost immediately, Greystones were under pressure from the kick off. Coolmine went through a phase of “buffalo” balls and their patience was beginning to pay off as they move towards the Greystones 22. However an unfortunate knock on returned possession to the opposition. The best move of the match followed. The Greystones 10 took the ball and ran straight at the Coolmine defence. A delightful kick over, which he ran on to and fielded spelt trouble. With only one to beat, he made no mistake and dotted down under the posts. 7 – 0. “That wasn’t in the script” was how Stewart succinctly summed the moment up.
Coolmine piled on the pressure after the kick off. With quarter of an hour gone, they were parked in the left corner. 5 good phases followed, but the ball just wouldn’t cross the line. 4 minutes later it did. Greystones were under pressure again, and in attempt to clear the ball they attempted to kick up field. Conor Dunne managed to get his hand to it and knock it down. A couple of passes later and the ball reached Cillian who ran the final 15 metres and got in at the left. Thien attempted the difficult kick from the touch line, but didn’t quite have the distance. The 7 – 5 score line guaranteed that a frenetic final 10 minutes were in store. Despite the heavy ground neither team felt the need to bring on fresh legs so both teams were beginning to tire. Penalties were mounting up, and it was probably because of this that the crucial moment in the game came at the 29th minute. Coolmine had been parked in the Greystones half, and were focussed on getting over the line. Greystones went offside and the ref gave the penalty to Coolmine, almost straight in front of the posts. Nobody thought to take the kick and they ran it again. The Greystones defence were up to the job this one final time and 30 seconds later the ref was blowing the final whistle.
A great performance again from the guys, and on a different day and under different conditions, the result might have been different. The league is still very much alive however, as a surprise draw between Barnhall and Wanderers in the other game in the league, means that the game next week is a winner take all affair. C – O – O – L – M – I – N - E