Greystones lose out to Terenure
Wicklow side battled bravely
If one were an optimist, the tone of this article would indicate that Greystones now languishing in 15th place, one off the bottom of Division 2A managed to hold top of the table Terenure to a respectably narrow 17-point win.
One would cite the fact that the home side honourably took the game to the in-form south side Dubs from the exquisitely floated Kiely kick off but were simply overwhelmed by the well-drilled pack and outstanding performance of Willy Staunton the 'Nure outhalf (brother of the enigmatic former Irish International Jeremy).
However pessimism might be the order of the day, there is now no time for such honourable defeats. Despite some heroic early season performances Reggie Corigan's young (with a few seasoned exceptions in the front five) and undoubtedly talented side are wading through a relegation swamp and badly need the grassy verge of a big, big win.
Saturday never really looked like being that win, a dose of reality made far worse with the loss of the talismanic charlatan Conor Cleary from inside centre who looked to suffer a bad leg break in the first half (think Geordan Murphy vs Scotland) - ever the crowd pleaser, Cleary managed a nonchalant wave to the adoring masses from his stretcher.
Big loss and we hope and pray for a speedy recovery.
Mantle in Hoops
The first 15 selected by Corrigan certainly sent the right message. The hulking frame of Luke Mantle edged out the pace and work rate of Conor Savage to get the nod at back row in an attempt to meet fire with fire.
The direct running and playmaking game of James Power, got the nod at ten over Jammy Spillane, again one would imagine taking the game to the high flying Nure men. The brute force of Neil O'Brien favoured over any other alternatives.
Other than that it was as you were with the all star backline including Kealy, Cleary and Malone hoping for that one yard of space.
Houston we have a problem
Greystones did as selected and from the kick off tore into Terenure with Power running everything received in an attempt to utilise the clear advantage the home side would have.
Alas all they threw at their apathetic opposition was nowhere near enough as Terenure on sidestepping the initial wave, completely dominated the opening half scoring two well taken tries from opposition scrum half O'Neill as Terenure threatened to put a cricket score on the afternoon's events.
A combination of luck and outstanding if aggressive defence (including a little WWE moment from James Power) kept the visitors at bay. And despite failing to enter the 'nure twenty two in the first half Stones kept the score respectable despite 4 successful Staunton kicks.
A game of two..... [insert cliché]
By half time, the loss of Cleary had sunk in and Stones needed to re-organise fast. Sweeping changes were made as a curiously tanned 19 year old Ken Murphy (son of Local legend Liam) was thrown in at the deep end to prop, Savage got the nod to come in and a series of changes throughout the second half saw Power, Spillane, Kealy and the Ginger General Roderick Carroll swapped positions fluidly to compensate for Cleary's absence.
It was not in vain. Greystones put in an inspired second half dominating possession and territory in a highly unlikely turning of the tides. Murphy was rock solid in the scrum and fearlessly took the game to Nure. Holmes and Armstrong lifted their game as the Stones lineout fired well and even stole some critical ball.
In a critical 20 minute spell the visitors lost three men to yellow cards - most definitely in the professional foul category as frantic defence necessitated the use of some the game's "darker arts".
And alas this is where the reality set in as possession and territory counted for only three Kealy points and a controversially disallowed Ro Kearney try as the home side, good value for a bonus point at a minimum but a la "weakest link" left the field with nothing.
The road is long....
And back to reality and pessimism, Greystones are second from the bottom with seven games left with two automatically relegated and one in a play off.
....or optimisim we have 35 points up for grabs, a game in hand on most, the harder games are out of the way, two good wins would put us up to ninth - and finally at least DLSP are bottom....
Next stop local grudge match vs Bective on February 8th - a five point try bonus win would be very welcome indeed.
15 Andrew Kealy, 14 Jordan Egan, 13 Simon Malone, 12 Conor Clery, 11 Brendan Kennedy, 10 James Power, 9 Roddy Carroll, 1 Neil O'Brien, 2 Peter Hipple, 3 Ronan Kearney, 4 Barry Holmes (Capt)
5 Ben Armstrong, 6 Darragh Duggan, 7 Luke Mantle, 8 Alan O'Toole, 16 Burschi Wojnar, 17 Ken Murphy, 18 Peter Barry, 19 Conor Savage, 20 Ross Spillane