Greystones bounce back with win against Thomond
RUGBY AIB LEAGUE DIVISION 2
Greystones 20, Thomond 13: Last week Greystones shipped nine tries against Ballinahinch; at Dr. Hickey Park on Saturday last they won the game, scoring two tries when in reality they should have scored at least six, and with ten minutes on the clock they found themselves only four points in the lead.
It started well for Greystones with their backline gaining good possession from their pack and on seven minutes a fine attack up the left wing from inside their twenty-two by Seán Carroll saw him go through a number of tackles before unloading to centre Stevie Meyer who continued in the same vein for a further forty metres before he was grounded on the Thomond twenty-two, the visitors went over the top and a penalty was awarded with outhalf James Power getting the three points from the kick.
Five minutes later the visitors were awarded a penalty on the Stones twenty-two with out-half Declan Cusack getting the three to draw level.
Four minutes later and another Carroll inspired run with Power in support promised a score but as would be the problem throughout, Stones were over eager at the ruck and conceded a penalty to let the visitors off the hook.
With sixteen minutes gone, once again a great run by Power and carried on by Meyer saw the No. 13 burst through three tackles to score close in to the posts with Power delivering the extra two to see Stones go into a ten points to three lead.
Ten minutes after that Greystones had worked themselves into a good position with the visitors conceding a line-out ten metres out, a good throw by hooker Jason HarrisWright and an equally fine tap down by second row, Neil Megannety saw Harris-Wright take the return and burst through the Thomond line for his try, which from a narrow angle Power duly converted.
Greystones then had two golden opportunities to score tries, firstly from Meyer who took a ball on the right wing and having done all the hard work and with a couple of players in support, his pass went astray to Thomond full-back Alan Aitry who cleared his lines.
A couple of minutes later and again down the right hand side with men in support the ball was lost in contact with the line beckoning when centre Aaron Higgs pass was too strong for wing forward Stuart Abbott.
The second-half should have seen Greystones dispose of the opposition, particularly within five minutes of the restart when Thomond were reduced to fourteen with centre Henry O’Neill being yellow carded and two minutes later with the interjection of the touch judge, No. 6 Brian Buckley also saw yellow.
However, rather than pressing home their advantage it was Thomond in that period who went on the scoresheet with a penalty from Cusack to narrow the gap to eleven points.
Greystones had ample opportunities to get on the scoresheet but despite having the better of back play, on three further occasions they failed to use the overlap when it was presented with too many players failing to deliver the final killer pass. They were also guilty on to many occasions at ruck time with possession being squandered either by over eagerness and giving away needless penalties or with poor handling and allowing the turnover.
One of their best chances came on fifty five minutes when a great run up the middle and then cutting right, saw full-back Mark Geraghty almost make the line but a fine covering tackle from wing Cian Cody put him into touch only inches short.
With time ticking down and Greystones looking a trifle worried, Thomond delivered a marvellous solo try with Cody getting the ball on halfway and almost hugging the line he charged through a couple of poor tackles to get a well deserved try in the corner with Cusack delivering a fine conversion to now put them into only a four-point deficit.
This certainly inspired the visitors and with only a few minutes on the clock remaining, it was Thomond who almost plundered a most improbable win, when they set up centre Niall Sheridan with a glorious ball and with seemingly no Greystones player in front of him he set off but in what was the moment of the day, Stones out-half, James Power put in a bone crusher tackle which upended him on the Stones twenty-two to avert what could have been the clincher.
However just on full-time, Stones sealed their win, much to the relief of the Greystones support, when they were awarded a penalty on the right hand side five metres in from the touchline which Power duly drew through the uprights to end the scoring for the afternoon.
The man of the match award went to Stevie Meyer and was presented in the dressing room by former All Blacks legend Zinzan Brooke who was a guest of the club for the weekend. Although it was a win, the large attendance will have gone home somewhat happy but not entirely satisfied with the performance of their team on the day.
So with the Christmas period now upon them and a welcome break, which no doubt the coaching staff and indeed the players must reflect on, they must come up with some new ideas for the second-half of the season.
Jason Harris-Wright scores a try for Greystones against Thomond.
Greystones captain Neil Megannety shrugs off a tackle.