Header2014 IRFC

1st XV win 43-7 at Skerries 1st XV



Photos courteously of Skerries RFC

Skerries Rugby Club (@skerriesrugby) / Twitter


On Saturday 8 October 2022 Instonians travelled to Skerries on the coast to renew acquaintances with this great community club. The weather was glorious at Holmpatrick and we were warmly welcomed by President Padriac Connolly at a superb pre match lunch with the legendary Bill Mulcahy in attendance. There was great anticipation before kick off with Skerries having been runners up in last season’s play offs. The game was to be played on the grass pitch at Skerries and not the new 4G pitch which was installed this season.

Before kick off a minutes silence was respectfully observed for the Creeslough community in Donegal following the tragic news from the day before.

14:30 – Skerries kicked off long and Matthew Keane cleared well to the Instonians 10 metre line and when Skerries lost forward at the line out Instonians immediately showed their attacking intent by moving the ball wide with newly installed inside centre Daniel Keane involved twice to set up what should have been an opening score only for Bevan Prinsloo to uncharacteristically drop the ball with a clear run to the line on the Skerries 22 metre line.

For the opening quarter of the match both sides then tried to attack with ball in hand but a mixture of handling errors and good opposition defence kept the score line blank. Instonians had early dominance in the scrum however which forced Skerries to concede penalties which were duly kicked to touch giving the platform for Instonians very effective driving maul. Skerries for their part were managing to break some tackles with some strong direct running.

14.49 – Skerries 0 – Instonians 5

Following another scrum penalty Instonians kicked for a line out on the Skerries 22 metre line and when Skerries were penalised for taking down the driving maul which followed Instonians were given the opportunity to open the scoring with a kick just to the left of the posts. Instonians captain Eoghan Murphy, however, declined this option in favor of the kick to the corner. Once Eoghan caught the line out you felt that it would be difficult for Skerries to defend against Instonians driving maul and so it proved with Neil Saulters at the back of the driving maul crashing over. Jonathan Milliken hit the post with the conversion but Instonians were ahead on the scoreboard.

To their credit Skerries came right back at Instonians looking to move the ball right and back left across the pitch but a great jackal from Paul Pritchard on his own 10m metre line relieved the pressure. When Instonians lost a rare lineout Skerries attacked again with ball in hand forcing a penalty in midfield on the Instonian 10 metre line and a shot at goal which came up short and was well cleared to touch by Matthew Keane from under his own posts.

14.59 – Skerries 0 – Instonians 10

From a scrum in their own 22 Instonians slick transfer left and back right with Ruari O’Farrell making a great break into Skerries half and kept the ball alive to supporting runners with Mark Mairs making good ground. With the Skerries defence stretched in their own 22, a yellow card followed for not rolling away and it was a case of deja vue with the kick at goal declined, kick to corner , line out, clean catch , driving maul and Neil Saulters touching down at the back of it. Jonathan Milliken missed the touchline conversion.

15:02 – Skerries 0 – Instonians 15

It did not take long for Instonians to make the extra man count and following great continuity between forwards and backs there followed a piece of sheer class from No 8 Alastair Burke who broke right up the middle of the pitch into open space and then slipped a superbly timed pass behind his back to Bevan Prinsloo in support and normal service was resumed as he ran on to the pass and side stepped the last man to finish off a great score. Jonathan Milliken missed the touchline conversion.

Instonians continued to move the ball wide with wingers Matthew Kilpatrick and Jack Elliott almost getting over in their respective corners but Skerries scrambled well in defence on both occasions.

HALF TIME – Skerries 0 – Instonians 15

It was great to see mini rugby on show at half time for the large crowd swelled by a healthy Instonians travelling support.

15:18 – Skerries 0 – Instonians 15

Jonathan Milliken kicked off and Skerries immediately came fast out of the blocks knowing that they really needed to get the next score. They ran hard at Instonians, broke through tackles, kept the ball alive and continually move the ball wide. Instonians defence was being really tested but it was holding firm.

For their part Instonians were still trying to run the ball at every opportunity and following a sweeping movement Bevan Prinsloo just could not get the final pass off when the line looked beckoning.

15:26 – Skerries 0 – Instonians 22

From an Instonians line out outside the Skerries 22 Harry Gallagher took the clean catch and then good driving runs from Andrew McGrath and Shalke Van Der Merwe took Instonians close to the line by the posts and Alastair Burke was able to swivel and reach out to dot down for the 4th try and the bonus point. Jonathan Milliken added the points from under the posts to put Instonians in a commanding position.

15:35 – Skerries 0 – Instonians 29

Instonians set piece continued to function really well with a dominant scrum and a very effective line out both on their own and the opposition ball. With the back line looking to move the ball at every opportunity this was a very difficult combination for Skerries to defend against but they did it manfully and also looked to attack themselves when the opportunity arose.

The pressure told however when from an Instonians line out 15 metres out on the left hand side of the pitch the 1st driving maul resulted in a penalty advantage which was brought back and no prizes for guessing it was another line out option with hooker Neil Saulters completing his hat trick at the back of the maul.

With the match now won you could have forgiven Skerries if their heads dropped but they showed great character to come back at Instonians and put real pressure on their defence. Skerries could easily have scored on a number of occasions but for an excellent Daniel Keane tackle on the right hand corner and then the pack holding the ball up over the line in the left hand corner for a relieving goal line drop out and finally a great turnover by Anton Lupari near Instonians goal line for Matthew Keane to clear.

15:53 – Skerries 0 – Instonians 36

Having weathered that particular storm Instonians went back on the attack and Matthew Keane kicked deep into the Skerries 22 on the far right. When the ball was returned to touch Matthew took a quick line out and the ball was moved left to Bevan Prinsloo who broke up to the Skerries 22 and from the subsequent ruck Matthew saw a gap and side stepped the last defender to go in under the posts for any easy conversion for Jonathan Milliken.

15:55 – Skerries 0 – Instonians 43

From the kick off Instonians shifted the ball left to Bevan Prinsloo just outside his 22 and he made a searing break to feed the supporting Jack Elliott and take a return pass to go in under the posts for another easy conversion for Jonathan Milliken and complete a clinical few minutes of play from Instonians.

16:00 – Skerries 7 – Instonians 43

With the last play Skerries got the try that they had deserved with a great break from the 12 who was quick to spot the reshuffle in the Instonian back line following the departure of Instonians 12 today Daniel Keane. Instonians will have been annoyed to have conceded so late having defended well when they had to but it was no more than Skerries deserved for their effort, character and commitment to keep going.

FULL TIME – Skerries 7 – Instonians 43

This was a test for Instonians today against a side that reached the play off final last season and they came away with a bonus point on the road which sets up a mouthwatering top of the table clash against Bangor next week with both teams winning their first 2 games. It will be great to welcome our old rivals to Shaws Bridge.

As for MOM today it is a much easier decision this week as despite good performances right across the pitch Alastair Burke was exceptional today at no 8. Thanks to the referee for letting the game flow so that we could produce such a spectacle. To all Instonians we hope to see you all out in force next Saturday 15 October at Shaws Bridge for the visit of our old rivals and friends Bangor for the top