The Montreal Irish opened the 2014 regular season competition on Saturday with all three grades playing at home. It was a great day for rugby and all in attendance were looking forward to seeing the boys in green start the 2014 campaign.
The third grade were in tough against a motivated Exiles first grade in the first game of the day. With strong breakdown work and the creation of a bit of continuity the Exiles ran in three first half tries to go into halftime up 15-0. The Irish struggled with their own possession turning the ball over numerous times including once just 2 meters short of the line snuffing out their best opportunity of the day. The Exiles kept up the pressure and after creating another Irish turnover deep in their own end broke out with two quick passes to send their winger 80 meters to score their 5th try with only a few minutes remaining. The game provided the 3rds with plenty to work on before taking on St Lambert next week. Final score 27-0 to Exiles.
The second grade came under the gun straight away with the Ottawa Irish squad giving up a try very early in the first half. Tackling and ball retention were a concern for the squad throughout the game allowing Ottawa to take the early lead and maintain it throughout. Courtney Bishop got the boys on the board midway through the first half by running a good support line after Tim Yaworski’s line break to narrow the visitor’s lead but mistakes with the ball and a lack of aggression in the contact area continued to cost the home side. On the positive end the scrum was a dominant part of the game for the Irish. The tackle and breakdown will be addressed at training before the next run out against the Wanderers in Verdun next Saturday. Final score 34-19 to the Ottawa Irish.
The first grade started out the season in electrifying fashion with Dan Pelletier scoring a try just 2 minutes in after some very slick handling by the back line. By the 30th minute the pressure of the forward pack and the ball skills of the entire team had netted the Irish a bonus point for 4 tries. Closing in on halftime the boys set into a short lull allowing the visitors from Ottawa to score a second try and giving them a bit of life prior to the break. Going into the second half the boys got the mental focus back and scored a try by Jimmy Murray off of a driving lineout just 32 minutes in. But once again a lull in discipline would cost the home side when, after numerous repeated breakdown infractions by the team resulted in Yann Fortin being sent to the bin. Ottawa took advantage and scored a third try to make the score 33-15 to the home side midway through the second half. Fortin touched down 10 minutes after returning from the bin in the best try of the day. Displaying excellent handling and superior ball carrying skills the boys produced a try that saw the ball go through numerous sets of hands and cover 70m. With the game well in hand discipline became an issue again as penalties brought the visitors within 10m of the Irish line from where they were able to punch over a bonus point try to salvage one point from the game. The first grade are an exciting group to watch and capable of playing some fantastic rugby as they displayed on Saturday. The boys will get to work this week to sort out some kinks and look forward to taking on the Wanderers next Saturday in Verdun. Final score 45-22 Montreal Irish.