AIB Cup Second Round – Rainey Old Boys 10 – 41 UCD: A powerful performance saw the Students advance in the AIB Cup at the expense of Rainey, writes Conor Farrell.
After a shaky start to the season, UCD have begun to drag themselves out of the exoteric reaches of the AIB cup with a decisive win over Rainey Old Boys. The match ended with a decisive gap of 31 points in favour of the Students who felt pressured to send a message that despite their slow start in the league, they were still in contention for this year’s cup.
Neil Cowhey struck his first for UCD after only eight and a-half-minutes giving them a very early 5-0 lead, but the gap was short lived as Rainey attempted to reassert themselves and countered with a penalty at the 13 minute mark making it 5-3.
The impressive Cowhey continued to prove the thorn in Rainey’s side as his pace and power allowed him over for his second, just six minutes later. The try was converted, this time by Simon Guilespie.
After 24 minutes it looked like an unlikely comeback from Rainey was possible as they finally found a crack in the UCD defence. Peter Boyle scored Rainey’s only try, the conversion pulling them to within two points.
The resilience of the College side was evident, however, as straight from the kick off they forced a penalty, allowing Simon Guilespie the opportunity to respond with another penalty giving UCD a five point breathing space.
In the dying minutes of the first half David Gilcrest got in on the act, making the margin wider with a well executed try. The half-time score was 22-10. Rainey were still in the game but the momentum was clearly in UCD’s favour as the Ulstermen failed to get a single point in the second half.
The second half only saw Rainey’s bad luck worsen as backrow forward Matt Nagle stormed over with a brake away try converted again by the reliable Simon Guilespie. Rainey’s impatience showed with a string of penalties going UCD’s way and with all the pressure building up, it was only a matter of time before scrum-half Robert Shanley touched down over Rainey’s line in the corner.
Just to add insult to injury on the very last play of the game, Neil Cowhey scored his hat-trick try leaving Rainey looking down the barrel of a disheartening score line. Simon Guilespie added the final extras bringing the score to a final 41-10.
UCD coach, John McClean was impressed with the performance, and hopes it is the catalyst for an improvement in the league form. After last week’s surprise win over Blackrock College, coupled with this performance, the omens are good.
“It’s been up and down but Bohemiansthe last two games have been very good, the players have been training hard and always put in a good effort.”
This performance was long overdue from a very hardworking dedicated group of young players who have every chance of competing towards the higher end of the AIL’s top division this term, should they gain some consistency.
The victory demonstrates what they are capable of and the wealth of talent within this year’s squad, if only the level and manner of the past performance can be replicated over the hectic forthcoming period.
The third round match sees them battle against Young Munster who are coming off the back of an 18-15 victory over Belfast Harlequins. If this dynamic performance can be repeated against the southern side, it is possible UCD will come out victorious again, as they attempt to lay claim to the prestigious Cup.