Header2014 IRFC

1st XV win 59-10 at home to Malahide 1st XV



On Saturday 2 December 2023 Instonians welcomed Malahide to Shaws Bridge for the first ever meeting of these two clubs.

Malahide President Peter Guerrini and his party were warmly welcomed to the pre-match lunch where Instonians were celebrating 50 years of mini rugby at Instonians. The club is very proud to be the 1st club to bring mini rugby to Ulster and we believe Ireland as well. It was the idea of the late Ronnie Lamont who had seen it in New Zealand on the 1966 British Lions tour. He introduced it to primary schools with fellow teacher Willie Gribben in 1973 and they were joined by Alec Redpath and Des O’Donnell at Inchmarlo. Des O’Donnell at the same time brought it to Instonians where he was in charge along with his assistant Brian McConnell for the next 27 years before passing the baton to John Whitten with assistants Paul Moore and Jonny Frazer for another 14 years and after Owen Lambert, Clem Boyd and Michael Fairbanks, Ciara Maitland is now the 1st female mini rugby convenor.

Running with the ball in 2 hands was one of Des’s key coaching points and the pass beating the man so over to the 2 teams now to see if that was the order of the day.

14:30 Instonians 0 – Malahide 0

Malahide kicked off and with a slight breeze in their favour immediately showed their intentions to move the ball and put pressure on Instonians but the home side defended well.

14:30 Instonians 7 – Malahide 0

Then with their first foray into Malahide’s half Instonians struck an early blow when a good break from no 8 Gary Dillon took play deep into Malahide’s 22 and Bevan Prinsloo was on hand to take the scoring pass under the posts giving Richie McMaster an easy conversion.

14:54 Instonians 7 – Malahide 3

Instonians then immediately went back on the offensive and went through several passages of controlled possession with everyone looking to get their hands on the ball. Malahide made their tackles however and started to get on top at the breakdown and as is usually the way with the penalty count.

When Malahide won their latest penalty in the Instonian 22 they had no hesitation in taking the 3 points on offer.

14:59 Instonians 7 – Malahide 10

Minutes later it got even better for the visitors as after a superb break up the middle of the pitch with the 12 keeping the ball in 2 hands as he ate up the ground ahead of him before finding the right wing who finished well in the corner. The 12 then knocked over a great touchline conversion to give Malahide the lead in a tightly disputed contest at this stage.

15:06 Instonians 14 – Malahide 10

Instonians response was immediate and a superb break out of defence by the youngest of the 4 Whitten brothers starting for the home side, no 6 David Whitten, resulted in a penalty to Instonians in the Malahide 22 which was kicked to touch for a line out on the right. The driving maul that followed was very well held up to give the visitors the scrum and the chance to exit the 22.

Instonians had other ideas and attacked the scrum and won it against the head. They then moved the ball through the hands left and back right across the pitch. Malahide conceded another penalty at the breakdown and this time the driving maul off the subsequent line out took young hooker Oli Clarke over for yet another try in this league campaign. Richie McMaster then nailed a great touchline conversion for good measure.

15:09 Instonians 19 – Malahide 10

Then an even better break out of defence from David Whitten saw him run from his own 22 to the opposition 22 and following great hands from the supporting backs Bevan Prinsloo powered over in the corner with Richie McMaster just missing the touchline conversion.

Matters got worse for Malahide as they lost their best player, their 12, in making the attempted tackle with what looked like a collar bone injury. We wish him well in his recovery.

15:12 Instonians 26 – Malahide 10

Instonians were now in the mood and Gary Dillon finished off a great score to give Instonians their bonus point. Yet again the instigator was that man David Whitten with the initial break but the backs then took over with crisp passing and a gem of a round the back pass by young 15 Bradley McNamarra before Gary Dillon was on hand to finish it off in style.

With that the referee blew the half time whistle and having been behind with nearly half an hour gone at 10-7, Instonians had now scored 3 tries in quick succession without reply.

HALF TIME –Instonians 26 – Malahide 10

Malahide will have been well pleased with the 1st half hour at which stage they had their noses in front and the game was very evenly contested. A short time later however they were already facing an uphill battle and without 3 players who had gone off injured.

Instonians will have been frustrated by their early small errors in giving up possession but delighted with the end to the half and no doubt looking forward to more open running rugby in the 2nd half.

15:24 Instonians 33 – Malahide 10

Instonians kicked off with the slight breeze at their backs and immediately set out their stall with a lovely planned move off the line out with the 9 Ruari O’Farrell looping round and then who else but David Whitten on hand to scorch through and finish off under the posts giving Richie McMaster an easy conversion.

A great start to the 2nd half for Instonians but conversely the worst possible start for the visitors and it looked like it would be a tough day at the office from here on in as Instonians were by now dominating the set piece and were in the mood to throw the ball about.

All the bench was on by this stage and the flexibility in the backline saw Matthew Keane move into 9 from off his wing with Simon McMaster coming on to the wing.

15:35 Instonians 40 – Malahide 10

After another period of sustained pressure on the visitors line Instonians kicked a penalty to touch 5 metres out and moments later young hooker Oli Clarke had his 8th try in 7 starts this season. This time it was Matthew Keane who knocked over the touchline conversion with aplomb.

To their great credit this young Malahide side did not throw the towel in and were now running the ball back at every opportunity. Unfortunately for them the Instonian defence was very good.

15:50 Instonians 47 – Malahide 10

When Instonians next got hold of the ball, they took good care of it and went through very impressive phases of controlled possession with excellent continuity between forwards and backs. Malahide manfully defended but eventually the intense pressure told, and Bevan Prinsloo forced his way over the line giving Mathew Keane an easy conversion this time.

Malahide to their great credit kept going and were still intent on running the ball from deep.

16:00 Instonians 52 – Malahide 10

Instonians however were keen to add to their try tally and they did just that with a great finish up the right wing from speedy winger Simon McMaster after another flowing backline move including a lovely off load by Ruari O’Farrell who had returned to the field of play and back in the 9 position. Matthew Keane missed the touchline conversion.

16:03 Instonians 59 – Malahide 10

There was still time for one more try which was started off by a great break out of defence by Bevan Prinsloo and after great hands from the supporting backs and forwards Instonians were given a penalty 15 metres from the line. They took a quick tap penalty and young replacement hooker Jack Parkinson dived over to score under the posts. Richie McMaster was back on kicking duties to add the extras and with that the referee blew the final whistle.

FULL TIME – Instonians 59– Malahide 10

This was a very tight contest for the first half hour when Malahide were actually leading 10-7 but once Instonians got their noses in front they did not look back and put in a very good display of running rugby backed up by a dominant set piece. Malahide were badly hindered by the loss of 3 players to injury in the 1st half , especially their useful no 12, but showed great character by sticking to their task and trying no doubt to ignore the scoreboard.

Instonians now travel to Cork next weekend looking to maintain their slender 5 point gap over Galway Corinthians at the top of the table while Malahide entertain Dungannon looking to climb from their current position of 9th .

The MOM was very easy today with David Whitten simply outstanding. No doubt helped on his rugby journey by his dad John and the other mini rugby coaches at Instonians.