Cameron Dorlas, a 5th year student in St. Gerard’s, gives his view on his school’s match against St. Mary’s in the first round of the Beauchamps Senior Cup…

On a chilly afternoon on the 4th of February, St. Gerard’s school found themselves drawn against equally strong title contenders, St Mary’s College, Rathmines. For a Senior Cup first round, expectations were high as both sets of fans made their voices heard as the teams warmed up. The chants of the fans were carried by the ferocious winds to all corners of the pitch and all were full-voiced, eager for the start of what promised to be an enthralling game.

The teams made their way into the clubhouse to kit out in their respective jerseys; the blue and green stripes of St. Gerard’s versus the all blue of St. Mary’s. As rain threatened overhead, both teams ran out onto the pitch, ready to give their all for the onlooking crowd. The huddles formed, players almost trying to shelter themselves from the brutal weather.

Almost immediately from kickoff, Gerard’s looked to be in for a try but were held up on the 22 before the ball bounced its way into touch. What looked like an encouraging start for St. Gerard’s appeared even more promising as Tommy Whittle stood over the first penalty kick of the game. Silence descended upon the crowd but the Mary’s support was in full voice a few moments after as the kick drifted just wide. The game was still in the balance. 

Beauchamps Senior Cup

St. Gerard’s continued to dominate in the early stages with some good play and set pieces. The deadlock was finally broken by the Gerard’s number 10 as this time the ball sailed clean through the sticks after a brilliant penalty kick. Mary’s were trailing by three points. 

The enthusiasm didn’t last long however as Mary’s began to dominate the scrum, and a brilliant maul saw them make significant ground and territory. The constant onslaught of the relentless surge of blue jerseys saw St. Mary’s over the St. Gerard’s line; the solid defence finally breached. After a successful conversion close to the posts, St. Gerard’s found themselves staring at a 4 point deficit. The first half ended with Mary’s having the upper hand with their heads held higher.

As the teams split from the huddles and the second half kicked off, the tension started to build and both teams were equally matched. Gerard’s got another penalty just shy of the halfway line, opting to go for the three points. The distance proved a metre too much as the ball fell short, St. Gerard’s still not able to make inroads on the scoreboard.

Beauchamps Senior Cup

Mary’s also went on the attack in search of that second try that would’ve killed off the game, but it never came. The closest they came was a missed penalty which was swept by the wind to the right of its target. As the substitutes rolled on and off, the match became even more intense as both teams made every tackle count and chased down every kick possible. Injuries were also taking their toll as more than once the referee had to halt proceedings to tend to an injury.

The rain started pouring down, almost spelling the end of St. Gerard’s chances as the rain and mud made it nigh on impossible to string a series of passes together. Still, despite the conditions, the Green Army pushed on, driving towards the Mary’s try line, but it seemed that time and time again, they’d trip at the final hurdle, whether it was an offside, knock-on or forward pass.

Although Gerard’s were dominating the match, the try line seemed a bridge too far, with the rain not helping the situation. Although Mary’s gave away poor lineout throws, and passes going astray, Gerard’s couldn’t capitalise on the advantages presented to them. In the closing few minutes Mary’s burst up the line on the counterattack but the defence of St. Gerard’s proved itself and the ball was even turned over, but the clock was in the red. Adam Simmonds made one last run up the line but to no avail as a few passes later the ball found itself bouncing it’s way into touch. The sound of the full-time whistle blowing pierced the hopes of St. Gerard’s as it was St. Mary’s day in the spotlight, as the rain hit off the scoreboard; 7-3.

Take a look at the full list of Schools Cup fixtures and results here