UCD’s last gasp loss to Buccaneers was compounded with an away drubbing at the hands of Bruff, writes Carl Murray.
UCD RFC 15 – 16 Buccaneers
Bruff 27 – 10 UCD RFC
UCD will look back on their last two games with frustration. The Buccaneers game is one that they truly should have won. Right from the kickoff, UCD began to impose themselves on their opponents. Following clean lineout ball on the Buccs’ ten metre line, the smaller UCD pack marshalled the Buccs’ forwards back to their own five metre line, resulting in UCD scrum-half Rob Shanley making a quick break to the short side, feeding David Lynch for the impressive inside centre to dot down over the line with less than five minutes on the clock. UCD out-half Niall Earls dually claimed two points with a superb conversion.
A period of fifteen minutes of equal pressure exerted by the two teams followed Lynch’s try, with both teams failing to capitalise on any chances they created. Each side’s discipline was hugely commendable as neither team were willing to give away a cheap three points to their opponents. Buccaneers began to display their skill in this period with prop Diarmuid Higgins, lock James Tormey, and openside flanker Eoghan Grace displaying some adventurous and accurate offloads. It was in this period that Buccs began to find holes in the otherwise resolute UCD defence.
Despite establishing a foothold in the game, Buccs failed to score as the UCD back row of Danny Kenny, David Doyle and Shane Grannell put in some monster hits. Indeed, it was Collidge who were rewarded on the twenty-five-minute mark with a superb team try. Buccs winger Callum Boland returned a loose kick finding Collidge front-row Brian Hall on the half-way line. Hall displayed winger’s pace taking the ball infield to the Buccs ten metre line, and a series of good offloads led to Lynch crossing for his second try, which was not converted.
Buccs continued to grow into the game for the rest of the half, with captain Kolo Kiripati and out-half Jack Carthy particularly dangerous. For all their possession and positive play, Buccs could not convert any of it into scores. Collidge out-half Earls also kept Buccs on the back foot with some excellent kicking from hand.
The second half began very much like the first ended, with Buccs enjoying more possession. UCD’s discipline began to waiver and Buccs were awarded a penalty, which Carty missed. The young out-half made up for this in style with a wonderfully executed drop goal from the right side of the pitch, which sailed through the uprights. Two more Carty penalties brought the score to 12-9.
Next came what was perhaps the definitive moment in the game. Excellent work by Collidge winger Andrew Boyle and second row Keelan McKenna saw the ever involved Alex Kelly break into the twenty-two; he seemed to touch the ball down under the posts, but referee Olly Hodges ruled that he was held up, a decision for which Collidge can feel hard done by. An excellent Earls penalty into the wind extended Collidge’s lead to 15-9.
Close to the death, the heartbreak moment for Collidge came. Carty, who had impressed throughout the game with his kicking and his breaks, made an unhindered run into the UCD twenty-two, finding substitute winger Luke Satchwell who steamed in under the posts, giving Carty the simplest of conversions and Buccaneers the win.
UCD then travelled to Limerick to play Bruff on Saturday, 11th February with hopes of avenging this narrow defeat. Collidge were 21-8 victors when the two sides met in October, but could not overturn their opponents on their home ground.
Bruff got off to a great start with Brian Cahill converting an early penalty, before John Shine crossed the line for his first try of the game, which Cahill converted. UCD fought back through a Niall Earls penalty.
Bruff’s powerful forwards bossed the UCD pack, and it seemed another try was inevitable. Ten minutes before halftime, Bruff’s Number 8 Mike Carroll powered over the line to make the score 17-3 after Cahill converted.
UCD began to fight back in the second half. Sustained pressure on the Bruff defence culminated in Tom Fletcher crossing the line, from which Earls converted. However it was not to be the comeback that UCD hoped it would be. Another penalty from Cahill and Shine’s second try of the match, which was converted, buried any chance of a comeback for Collidge.