And so it begins ……
After a stellar pre-season, with wins over Barnhall, Malahide, St Marys and Clontarf in the bag, the first league game of the season, against Terenure, finally arrived on Sunday 11th. This run of victories hadn’t come without a cost however. There were a number of players unavailable for selection for the first game including Peter O’Farrell and Tien (concussion) and Chris Agnoli (Fractured Hairline!!). There was still a strong squad to pick from however, and the coaches had their work cut out for them in this regard.
The starting 15 lined up against a strong looking Terenure outfit, and the first couple of minutes were spent settling into the game. Coolmine settled first. After some good forward play. The ball was quickly moved along the line and out to the left, where Dean was left unmarked and when the final pass arrived, he made no mistake, scoring just to the left of the posts. Louis stepped up and coolly slotted it between the posts. 7-0 after 4 minutes.
Terenure all of a sudden looked nervous. After a dud kick-off, Coolmine immediately had possession of the ball on the half way line and moved the ball forward ominously through their forwards. Ben was proving a handful and made ground every time he had the ball, ably supported by the rest of the pack. A break from the 22 was made by Justin and there was no stopping him as he went in for the 2nd try just to the right of the posts. Again, Louis made no mistake with the conversion. 14-0 and only 7 minutes gone.
2 minutes later it was the turn of Ben. Terenure were in possession but a strong tackle and subsequent ruck forced the turnover, and Colgans strength and speed were not going to be denied. A couple of minutes on, and playing in an unfamiliar back row position Max Gerhardt joined the party. It was one of those runs we have all become accustomed to from the fullback position, but it proved just as efficient when starting from the thick of things. With the score at 35-0, the one man Kiilian show began. In a scintillating 11 minute spell, the former Ashbourne man crossed the line 4 times, with Terenure having no match for his speed and some clever lines. The pick of these was the 4th, where Justin drew the final defender beautifully before laying off the pass for the finish just to the right of the posts. Louis converted all bar one of these to leave the score at 54 – 0, and there were still 3 minutes left in the first half.
There was no let-up though and Conor Kelly showed his strength to get over just before half time. As the referee’s whistle blew, it was 61-0
With the game so one-sided, Coolmine made a total of 13 substitutions for the 2nd half, which gave some of the ever improving squad a well-earned chance for some game time. As was to be expected, such a significant change to the team structure left a few gaps initially with the new look Coolmine outfit, and Terenure took advantage of this, going in at the right corner, with their big forward unstoppable. The conversion was missed, but they were on the board after 2 minutes of the 2nd half. The game then settled down and both teams had their chances, but there wasn’t to be another score for 18 minutes. During this time however, Fionn played in a strong and composed fashion and was impressive throughout (player plug sponsored by Linda).
After 20 minutes, one of the few players that started the game, Justin, crossed the line for the final time for Coolmine. Harry stepped up to take the conversion, but unfortunately just at that time, a huge wind picked up and the ball flew agonisingly wide (and under) the posts. Terenure had the final say with a converted try in the final minutes, but with the score at 66 – 12, it hardly mattered.
While its early days, one can only look forward to the season ahead. The next competitive game is against St Marys on the 25th. C-O-O-L-M-I-N-E