Old Gaelic (2,2) at Philadelphia-Whitemarsh (4,0) - October 22, 2016

Old Gaelic (2,2) at Philadelphia-Whitemarsh (4,0) - October 22, 2016

Old Gaelic (2,2) at Philadelphia-Whitemarsh (4,0) - October 22, 2016

Five weeks have gone by since these two squads faced one another. Before, the season was just beginning and hopes were high. However, the threads of fate are spun differently for every team, no matter what they want. A loss for Old Gaelic would greatly damage their standings in the tightening race for the MAC North title. Philly-Whitemarch, on the other hand, looked to put a stamp on an undefeated season and proclaim itself King of the North with an eye on the southern challengers. Round II begins. Ding-ding.

Old Gaelic’s forwards had something to prove in this rematch. In Week 2, they were bullied by PW in the set pieces, especially the line-outs.  Captain Bob and his forwards were tantamount to sharks circling its prey whenever a line-out was called. However, Old Gaelic learned from its mistakes, and ran very efficient plays that rewarded them with clean ball. Adjustments were made, but innovation was also brought to the table. Old Gaelic’s forwards, whenever they got the chance, formed the rolling maul, a devastating tactic when ran properly. To the untrained eye of the watching fan, it is a phalanx of men marching through the teeth of a defense. In this case, it was PW’s defense, and they were powerless to stop it.

The two teams battled each other across the pitch, laying siege to each other’s try line. Heroes emerged from both sides, as desperate defense won out in the face of overwhelming pressure. Who was going to blink first? Philly-Whitemarsh did, as Old Gaelic powered through for the only try of the half.

1st Half: 7 – 0 Old Gaelic

For the 3rd time this season, PW was trailing into the 2nd half. They were not going to panic, especially not on their home turf. In the first minute, Captain Bob received an offload pass from a line break, and threw a  dummy that fooled the cameraman and fullback for a try under the post. Jared Frymoyer, a veteran of the Philadelphia Fight rugby league team and National Champion, stepped up and split the uprights to tie the game. The tide had turned. Soon after, Chris Karas rampaged through in his typical fashion for PW’s 2nd try and the lead. To stem the bleeding, Old Gaelic converted a penalty kick with an excellent strike through the swirling autumn wind. The minutes ticked down as both teams struggled to maintain the upper hand. The coaches dueled by making strategic subs at every opportune break. Deep in PW’s zone, Old Gaelic looked to pull away. However, one such sub Steve Frey, picked up the ball after an errant pass and broke through the defense’s scrambling line. Fellow center Eric Miller sprinted in support and received the well timed offload for a 50 meter try. Frey was not finished yet, because when the next opportunity came on offense, he again crashed into Old Gaelic’s lines taking three defenders, and offloading it to streaking winger Gary Spencer for another long try. The flood gates had appeared to be open, as PW piled on the points.

With 10 minutes remaining, Old Gaelic threw in the kitchen sink. After a line break through PW's backs, the ball was recycled, and Old Gaelic quickly scored in the corner. The converted try brought them within 6. PW looked to retain the ball for the remainder of the game, by crashing the forwards one after another. However, as fate would have it, one ball carrier was left without support, and Old Gaelic pounced on him for a turnover. With a penalty in hand, they kicked for touch for the final play, which spoke volumes about their confidence in their new line-out system. Old Gaelic retained the ball, and methodically marched toward the try line. PW’s defense bent, and eventually was broken by a very tenacious opponent. Their center charged through for the game winning try, and a season saving win.
Final Score: 27 – 26 Old Gaelic

PW Try Scorers: Haller 1,  Karas 1, Miller 1, Spencer 1
Conversions: Frymoyer 3/4
Penalty Kicks: Frymoyer 0/0
Man of the Match: Jared Frymoyer