The Cougar Greens kicked off their 2014 season with an impressive away victory against Johnsonville - last years division three winners.
The game started well with some solid structured play from the Cougar forwards and some promising runs from the backs. The Cougars dominated territory early with some good tactical kicking putting J'ville under pressure.
Five minutes in, a probing run from first five Josh Price pulled in the J'ville defence. Some good quick ball from the greens forwards got the ball wide to fullback Greg Buckley, who took a gap to crash over in a tackle. The conversion from Enda Costello made it 7-0 early.
5 minutes later a charge down about 40m out from our line saw a loose ball toed ahead by Josh Price. However, while attempting to scoop up the ball in one hand with the try line beckoning, Josh fumbled the ball and sent it flying over the line...this has since gone viral on Facebook.
The Cougars were looking dominant and making most of the play. Continued pressure and great forward play involving attacks around the ruck provided front foot ball for the backs who again worked wide on the twenty minute mark. Fullback Greg Buckley entered the line, beat his man on the outside, then drew a defender to put Wing Enda Costello into space. The seasoned Irish winger showed his class bustling over in the corner to put the cougars up 12-0.
The game got a little scrappy late in the half with both Jordy Walsh and Hugh Galvin involved in altercations . J'Ville probed a few times through the midfield but the centre pairing of Jordy and Luke Egan did well to shut down their opposites. A fired up Jordy Walsh in particular putting in some bone-jarring hits. The Cougars went to oranges with a well earned 12-0 lead.
The second half again saw the Cougars start well. This work was rewarded when Price broke the line off a good line-out take from Kade Sheely. Price offloaded in the tackle to Luke who sprinted clear for the try. 17-0 greens
J'ville then played aggressively to put the Cougars under immense pressure for the last quarter of the game. The Cougars defence was amazing and a real testament to the attitude of the team that we were able to keep them out, the forwards tirelessly defended waves of hit ups from J'ville. Dave Rees and Jason Botherway in particular threw themselves at anything that moved. Eventually after a series of team penalties Max Schofield was sent to the bin. J'ville managed to take advantage of the extra man and eventually crashed over out wide.
The Cougars finished strong though with some trademark Jordy Walsh runs slicing through half the J'ville team. Some great work from Luke off the back of a Jordan Walsh break should have seen winger Nate Robinson score in the corner, but the ref ruled him to be held up and called scrum.
The forwards were fantastic in setting a great platform for the backs and nullifying the J'ville forward pack. The ball retention was good and the pick and go technique was sound. The scrums were also a major strength after a good midweek session led by Coaching Co-ordinator Kas.
The backs were exciting every time they got hold of the ball and were good enough to capitalise on the good foundation provided by the forward pack.
Also worth noting, is that Enda managed to pull off two falcons on opposing players. Keep up the good work Enda.We now have a break over Easter, and will be back the following week.
Willy DonnellyCougar Greens Head Coach 2014