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U-17 (2002) - Match centre

Seapoint Rugby Club
St Marys
Sun 8 Apr 12:00 - League Full time

Seapoint U-16 heros progress to Leinster Div. 1 U-16 Final in a 36-33 classic

Nail biting finish as Seapoint grind out a win against league rivals St Marys.

Nobody ever wants to lose a semi final. Seapoint had kicked off their league campaign back in October and had played 10 matches, won 7, drawn one and only lost to Balbriggan throughout a commendable hard fought league campaign. The least they deserved was another crack at Balbriggan in the League final. However this semi final was always likely to be a tough contest, Seapoint supporters could remember only too well their home league match against St Marys in January when Seapoint were lucky to escape with a12-12 draw. Furthermore, Seapoint took to the field for this match missing some of their key players who were on vacation over the Easter break.

Sure enough St Marys started brightly and when Seapoint were guilty of trying to play too much rugby in their own half, St Marys took advantage and scored a well worked try in the corner to open the scoring. They failed to convert however despite the advantage of a strong breeze. St Marys proceeded to exert more pressure, things looked ominous for Seapoint until Ascough intercepted a loose pass and went on a rampaging run down the middle of the field. Good support and a ferocious ruck clearout from O'Donnell gave the backline clean ball which they used to good effect, some deft handling sending Sam Hamilton over for the opening try. Peter Duffy failed to convert leaving the score at 5 all. Shortly afterwards Seapoint scored a great try with David O'Dowd breaking clean through the middle and scoring under the posts. Peter Duffy converted against the breeze to give the home side a 12-5 lead.

However this St Marys side were never going to be beaten easily and took advantage of some poor defending to score a converted try and then a second converted side just before half time. Seapoint found themselves faced into the second half trailing by 19 points to 12 albeit with the advantage of the wind in the second half. The mountain to climb became larger when St Marys proceeded to score another converted try immediately after the break, now Seapoint found themselves trailing by 26 to 12. How could Seapoint recover ?

This team however is used to adversity, often of their own making and never lose belief. Suddenly the Seapoint pack developed a sense of urgency that had been missing in the first half and some charging runs from Turner and some quick ball allowed O'Dowd to start using the wind and his kicking game to good effect. A clever kick through and chasing by both O'Dowd and Duffy yielded an unconverted try when the St Marys full back fumbled and Duffy dived on the ball to score. Shortly afterwards O'Dowd made another break up the middle and scored, this time Peter converted to bring Seapoint to within a 2 point margin. Some more pressure and Seapoint took the lead when Paul Jones scored his first try for Seapoint - what an important time to open his account. This left the score at Seapoint 31 St Marys 26 with less than ten minutes left on the clock.

St Marys refused to give up however and after Daniel Law and Sean Walsh were both substituted due to injury, St Marys scored their fifth try which they converted to restore their 2 point lead. One last heroic effort from Seapoint and David O'Dowd completed his hat trick which gave Seapoint a three point lead with about 4 minutes of regular time remaining. St Mary's to their credit proceeded to throw everything they had left at Seapoint and having conceded several penalties and Sam Turner being yellow carded, only heroic defence got Seapoint the victory. Eventually sustained defensive pressure caused the St Marys backline to knock on and Tom Colton blew his whistle for the end of the match.

Some heroic performances, excellent from Ramsay, O'Dowd, Duffy and Jones. Alan Casey was impressive on the wing in the first half and again as flanker when he came on in the second half. Ross Gallagher was his usual versatile self. Wilson got through a trojan amount of work. Ascough slotted into the backline at centre and had his usual big impact on the game.Ben Marnell arrived straight from the airport after a transatlantic flight to put in a second half shift. The forwards collectively answered the challenge in the second half and delivered the platform as a unit that was required to win the game. Man of the match however is awarded to the joint pairing of Cillian O'Donnell for a storming display in the first half shouldering huge responsibility in attack and defence, and Sam Hamilton whose courageous display in attack and defence at centre hugely contributed to the final result.

Well done Cillian and Sam.

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