Home advantage, a much-improved team performance and some individual moments of brilliance wasn’t enough for Seapoint to overcome a powerful and well drilled Corinthians side as they succumbed to their second league defeat in as many matches. Seapoint had the wind at their backs in the first half and needed to convert that advantage into points. However, a slow start left them trailing at the interval.
Seapoint started brightly and set up a good driving maul from a lineout, however with poor handling they put themselves under needless pressure and Corinthians won a penalty just inside the Seapoint half, the result of a strong counter ruck. They went to the corner, set up a driving maul and from the ensuing ruck managed to pick and go until they scored their first try with only 5 minutes gone on the clock. The Corinthians out-half converted a difficult kick against the breeze to give the visitors an early 7-nil lead. From the kick-off, Corinthians cleared their lines and almost immediately won a penalty in Seapoint’s half. Again, Corinthians went to the corner, set up another maul, then moved the ball wide. Despite what appeared to be an obvious knock on which the referee missed, they recycled, went back the other way, and scored in the same corner. This time the Corinthians number 10 missed the conversion. Trailing by 12 points with only 10 minutes gone, it looked like it was going to be a long afternoon for the home side. .
Seapoint demonstrated courage and belief and came back at the visitors with gusto. A clever front of lineout move resulted in Hempenstall making serious yards up the right wing. Oisin Horan kicked ahead but was unlucky when his ball hit a teammate to give away an accidental offside. Seapoint then won the ensuing scrum against the head. With an attacking lineout within 10 yards of the visitors try-line, an unfortunate technical mistake (dummy throw) let Corinthians off the hook. Ultimately after 20 minutes Seapoint efforts paid off when Tormey-Murphy took advantage of a dropped pass on the halfway line and showing footballing skills and serious pace managed to fly hack the ball all the way to the opposition 5 yards line where he gathered and dived over to score Seapoint’s first try. Manning slotted over a difficult conversion and suddenly the deficit was only 5 points.
The next twenty minutes of the first half was pure entertainment for anyone who just wanted to watch a game of rugby. Two seriously big and physical packs going hard at it with no quarter asked or given. Despite a weight disadvantage Seapoint seemed to gain the upper-hand in the scrums. Seapoint created some scoring opportunities but failed to convert. Hopes were raised when the Corinthians out-half received a yellow card after 35 minutes for a high tackle. Despite Seapoint’s best efforts, the score remained at 12 points to 7 until half time.
Seapoint faced into the second half with some hope as the wind seemed to have eased slightly in the 2nd half. The Seapoint pack started with a lot of energy, Sam Montayne having been introduced at half time making an immediate impact with some trademark carries. Camping out in the Corinthians half, Seapoint continued to apply pressure and after 10 minutes they received their just reward, when after a good carry by Montayne, Jack Reynolds forced his way over for Seapoint’s second try. Manning was unlucky with a superb kick not to convert leaving the contest finely balanced at 12 points apiece.
Decision making once again hurt when Seapoint tried to force it from the restart. Corinthians won a long-range penalty which they converted to regain the lead. The game ebbed and flowed for the next 10 minutes until just after the 60 minute mark Corinthians won a scrum on the 5-yard line in front of the posts and managed to score a try from first phase. Their out-half missed the conversion, but the gap was now significantly 8 points at 20 points to 12. Seapoint continued to work hard, and hope was re-kindled when the Corinthians loose head prop was red carded for a dangerous tackle on 65 minutes. Despite the one-man advantage Seapoint failed to capitalize, and when they tried to force it too hard from their own 22 Corinthians won a penalty and went to the corner. From the ensuing lineout they exerted a lot of pressure and eventually forced their way over for their fourth bonus point try. Their out half converted.
With only 4 minutes left and trailing by 27 points to 12 the game was out of reach. Seapoint did mount one promising last attack and should have scored when Tochi found space down the left wing, Drohan forced the pass however and the opportunity was squandered. A good win for Corinthians on the road and a second league loss for Seapoint.
Positives, the Seapoint performance was much improved from the previous week and they crossed the opposition line twice for two trys. It’s unlikely they will meet a better side than Corinthians in this league. The forwards had parity, arguably winning the scrum battle against a much heavier pack. Conor McCaul had some big hits and Andrew O’Donovan was prominent on his return. Ed Sheehan made his weight felt with some strong carries in the second half. Guest looked good on his introduction. Once again better decision-making ball in hand especially in the red-zone and playing the game in the right areas of the pitch would be the difference between a winning and a losing performance.
Team : McCaul, Hempenstall, O’Neill, Reynolds, Sheehan, Loughlin, O’Donovan, Ross, Drohan, Tormey-Murphy, Herrero, Manning, Bolger, Horan, Lynch
Subs : Montayne, Guest, Brady, Maruma, Onyemelukwe, Emerson, Hoade