21.11.2010 1st XV v UCD (A)
St Mary’s College RFC V UCD RFC
Sunday 21st November 2010.
It required a little bit of last minute saucery to win the cup for UCD, and oh, how it stung, as the last conversion kick went over to secure their victory by one point.
Entering the Donnybrook grounds an hour and a half earlier, you could feel the place, even with a new stand and grassy surface it sang to you with memories of great games and school cups and SAMACORA and Rock Abu, rhythmically rattling the old splintering stand; it still is a Micro-Mecca of Leinster Rugby a place of dreams and fears and hopes and sudation and the euphoric idolatry of youth. It was probably the idyllic place for UCD to claim the ancient trophy in their centenary year and in that respect, it would be sour not to admire and wish them well; being academics, they obviously had a high degree of skill. It is of course also hard not to feel the pain, so obvious on the tear stained faces of Paul Nash’s team, and particularly for him who did so much in an effort to lead his men to secure the win. Also, it is sad for Head Coach Ciaran Potts who has done so much to develop his fine team. He was, as ever, calm and gracious and the team will repay him yet.
This was a game of pace and passion, often showing frailty but never apathy and up to the last ten minutes, it looked as though we would make it ours with some to spare, we held a really strong position but in the end, let it slip. Throughout the game, we looked better organised, stronger and faster, with Damian Hall, Gareth Logan and Nasher in particular, keeping us going forward, with strong runs and tyrannical tackles and behind the scrum Mark Sexton, continually probed and stung, with good support from Stephen Grissing. As is their wont, UCD tried running from most everywhere but for a big part of the game they lacked real penetration or control, yet when they went behind 20 – 9, instead of accepting what appeared to be the inevitable, they increased their intensity and their concentration, holding on to the ball with tenacity, recycling rapidly and their running, which had been lateral and lacking thrust, become assured and penetrative. We will most certainly wish them well in the All Ireland Cup semi finals.
From the start, UCD had most ball for the first 8 minutes or so, but to little effect, although, they converted a penalty from their outhalf James Thornton. We started to take control but were not yet putting a pattern on the game or setting up sequential narrow phases, before expanding, then on 19 minutes, we equalised from Gavin Dunne’s capable boot and went ahead on 34 minute, 6 – 3, and grew stronger and more controlled.
The second half started brightly for us and after 13 minutes and three probes from Matt D’Arcy, just on, the ball was recycled and came to Paul Gillespie in loose cover, he stepped and went and jingled through their defence to score close in and Gavin made it 13 – 6. We breathed easily and waited for more. And more was to come though Mark Donnellan, also on in the second half. After another break by Mark Sexton the ball went loose on the ground near to their 22 and Mark Donnellan deftly scooped it up and sprinted through the defence to score under the posts and Gavin made it 20 – 9; it was really looking good now. They got back a penalty within a few minutes. There were ten minutes left and UCD had really increased their pace and urgency and after several phases they got over in the corner, missed the conversion and left the score still a comfortable 20 – 14 soon to be 23 – 14 thanks to a fine penalty from Gavin. However, UCD continued to attack with obvious belief, and our organisation became less efficient, then we lost a player to the sin bin and they converted another penalty, 23 17. They turned a scum got possession and started to drive for our line, our defence did hold for several cycles of attack but eventually they found the chink and were over. It was a somewhat difficult conversion but young Thornton put it over and it was over. 23 – 24.
“You always pass failure on your way to success” we should remember that, when as we must, we renew our vigour and desire to achieve our goal of AIL success. We can learn much from this acute disappointment and it must be a spur. Next week we travel east to meet Blackrock at Stradbrook and we will have to be at our best to win, but with the squad and the captain that we have we will redefine, regroup and raise our game and continue our upward journey. In case you do not remember, your support is essential to our success; it is not far to Stradbrook so take the time out from buying Bank shares and get there !
15, P Brophy, 14 P Gillespie, 13 S Grissing, 12 M Sexton, 11 R Doherty, 10 G Dunne, 9 D Campbell, 8 H Hogan, 7 G Austin, 6 P Nash (Capt), 5 D Hall, 4 G Logan, 3 Rob Sweeney, 2 D Kilbride, 1 C Mc Mahon.
Also: - M D’Arcy, S Bradshaw, T Meredith, K Carroll, M Donnellan, R Crotty, C Morrin.