Playing in the Annual Hope Hospital charity match on Wednesday, April 25, the visiting Mt. Carmel Caravan was out to upset the Brother Rice Crusaders and end their bid for an undefeated regular season. The rain held up and the large crowd came out to “Help Us Help Them Tackle Cancer!”
Junior Prop James Gannon got the Crusaders on the board early. After a Mt. Carmel clearing kick, 8-man Ricky Morales was able to gather the ball around the Crusader 40yd line. The CRUSADER PUT THE CARAVAN THROUGH 13 PHASES USING ALL 15 MEN and expanding the field. Gannon crossed after taking a hard charging line and received the flat pass from Derek McMahon for the 5-0 Rice lead. The Caravan struck back with a penalty to make it 5-3, just moments later, several Crusader penalties brought the Caravan back into the Crusader end.
Some back and forth kicking exchanges found the Crusaders with an attacking lineout on the Caravan 25 yard line. Mike Murphy came down with the ball at the back of the lineout and fed cleanly to McMahon who hit flyhalf Danny Lyons. McMahon and Lyons were instrumental in launching the Crusader attacking backline all night long. On this particular play, Lyons “dummied” Mike Houston and was able to feed Pat Watson, who hit Sean Martin inserting from the fullback position; Martin fed Alex Lynch, blitzing down the far touch line. Lynch’s pace and power were enough to cross for the Crusaders. Martin hit the conversion for a 12-3 Rice lead. Martin would later hit a penalty to see Rice go up 15-3, which stood until halftime and deep into the second half.
The Crusaders were finally able to take advantage of a Caravan penalty and had an attacking lineout, just 10 yards out. After the driving maul and a few pick and jams fell short, Morales was able to cross to give the Crusaders a 20-3 cushion. Martin added to that with the 2-point conversion, a great kick close to the left touchline for a 22-3 Rice advantage.
Then just a few minutes later, the visiting Caravan team was again under pressure. Moving the ball touch line to touchline with an expansive attack, Mt. Carmel’s only option was to commit a penalty. McMahon took a quick tap and caught the Caravan defense sleeping as he dashed across for the score and 27-3 Crusader lead. The Caravan came back to end with a converted try of their own, and left with 27-10 defeat to the Crusaders, who wrapped up a perfect regular season and ensured that the playoffs will come through 99th and Pulaski.
TRIES: Gannon, Lynch, Morales, McMahon
CONVERSIONS: Martin 2 of 4
PENALTIES: Martin 1 of 1