With only 2 games remaining in the season and trailing Portarlington RFC by 3 points, The Roscrea RFC senior team knew that anything less than victory against 3rd place Ardee RFC would extinguish any hopes of winning the league and the reward of automatic promotion. In the previous week’s victory over Clane RFC, the Roscrea team were forced to fight for every inch and delved deep into their reserves to find a victory, down at half time with the weather and the opposition proving an almost insurmountable challenge, yet still somehow through pure doggedness, they prevailed.
Ardee RFC had put together a formidable run of their own and were in top form. The original venue was another victim of the incessant rain, the game was moved to Kells to be played in North Meath RFC after Ardee’s home ground was deemed unplayable. With a tiring 2 hour drive, a change of venue, poor conditions and playing a resurgent opposition, You could have forgiven John Maher’s men if they had fallen into a more cautious and reticent style of play. However, this team have a special quality. Not unique but certainly rare enough to make it significant, they have been emboldened with a determination and a sense of togetherness that empowers them to accept nothing less than the best from one another. In essence they are a team that is greater than the sum of its parts and there within lies the secret of their success. They started the game against Ardee RFC with a brutal efficiency and relentlessly maintained that standard until the final whistle had been blown. When the 2 team walked off the pitch the score board read Ardee RFC 0 Roscrea RFC 62.
The scores came from out half Jack Feeney, Seamus Treacy, Malachy Maher, Mikey Treacy, Sam Quelly, Ger Stone and a hat trick from winger Jonathan Sutton who was in sensational form. Penalties and conversions came from the boots of Feeney and Quelly. At scrum time the Roscrea pack were unmovable with the indomitable front row of Kieran Stone, Mikey Fitzgearld and Mikey Treacy. The lineout was immense with John Carter, Malachy Maher and Antoin Doherty in dominant form. At the rucks where Ger Stone and Seamus Treacy were a menace, scrum half Stephen Carter demanded quick ball and when he got it which he invariably did, he fed his back line with accuracy and intent. The centre partnership of Jake Lawlor and John Joe Ryan were a tour de force in defence and attack, while out half Jack Feeney had his finest game in a maroon shirt. Gavin Hannon and Sam Quelly added pace and mesmerising foot work to every contribution, while Johnathan Sutton was simply sensational. Head coach John Maher has always been a strong advocate of using his squad to maximum affect, he maintained his teams momentum and supremacy by introducing subs when the situation deemed it necessary. Brendan Toohey, Peter Hennessy, Paddy Walsh, Cathal Hogan and speedster Fergus Hannon all entered the fray galvanizing the team with their introductions.
After 13 straight victories Roscrea RFC now sit on top of the leinster league division 3, leading 2nd place Portarlington RFC by 4 points. They welcome Swords RFC to Streamstown for their final season defining game on March 8th, only then will their destiny finally be decided.