Mixed Start to the season for Collidge


UCD – 23 UCC – 16

Buccaneers – 23  UCD – 17

After a comprehensive 35-13 beating at the hands of Dungannon, UCD were hoping to bounce back against UCC at home.

The game started slowly, with both sides creating very few opportunities, until UCD slowly began to build momentum and piled on the pressure after a knock-on by UCC. An early opportunity arose for UCD in the ninth minute after excellent build up play. UCD found themselves close to UCC’s five-metre line, but failed to capitalise as the UCC defence held firm.

A moment of inspiration from UCD winger and Irish Under-20 international Sam Coghlan-Murray would make the difference between the two sides in the opening twenty minutes, as he touched down in the sixteenth minute. Niall Earls converted to make it 7-0.

Small errors snuck in to UCD’s forward play from time to time, as penalties began to mount up for infringements. UCC took advantage and put their first points on the board through the boot of Brian Kingston in the twenty-sixth minute.

UCC began to play with confidence and put heavy pressure on the UCD defence with some exquisite back play. Pressure paid off for the Cork side when openside flanker Brian O’Callaghan touched down on the thirty minute mark to make it 10-7 after a Brian Kingston conversion.

This would soon be hampered by two quick-fire penalties struck by Niall Earls which sent UCD into the break with a 13-10 lead.

It was the Cork College who got out of the traps quicker in the second half, as magnificent build-up play from UCC saw them quickly approach the UCD try line, but a knock-on proved costly in the end.

UCD became frustrated as the penalty count began to build up, but against the run of play Sam Coghlan-Murray broke away from the UCC defence to score his and UCD’s second try of the game.

UCD became complacent after the try, giving away a penalty which Kingston duly kicked to make it 18-13. Collidge responded in kind however, as substitute James Thornton kicked two penalties to leave eleven points between the teams.

A late penalty awarded to UCC for a high tackle, which Kingston struck over, was merely a consolation as the game finished 23-16.

After a solid victory over UCC, with performances to match from Niall Earls and Sam Coghlan-Murray, UCD travelled to Athlone to take on Buccaneers on Saturday, but couldn’t maintain their winning ways as they went down 24-18 to their Connacht opponents.

UCD got off to a bad start by giving away a penalty in front of the post in their own twenty-two, which Jack Carthy stuck over for the home team. Things went from bad to worse for the away team as they fell off tackles in midfield to allow Carthy to break away and slip it to Denis Buckley, who powered under the posts from 5 metres out. UCD were 10-0 down after Carthy’s conversion.

Poor kicking was a feature of UCD’s play in the first half, as Earls failed to find touch on several occasions, as well as fullback Michael Twomey having two kicks blocked down.

Earls got UCD on the scoreboard in the seventeenth minute after Buccaneers went off their feet, but after poor hands coming out of defence, Buccaneers turned the ball over before spreading it wide where players were lined up to finish the ball. Denis Buckley dived over in the corner for his second, but Carthy was off target from the conversation.

UCD got their first real attack of the game in the twenty-fourth minute but the ball was knocked on in the Bucs’ twenty-two, as UCD were once again poor in the contact zone. Bucs looked to use their superior scrum as an attacking platform as Collidge gave away a free kick directly from a scrum. A grubber kick down the wing was latched onto by Twomley, who was isolated and lost the ball. Another quick grubber kick into the try zone was jumped on by Paul Harte, to make it 20-3 at half time after Carthy missed another conversion.

The game looked to be over but just two minutes later, after Carthy’s up-and-under was dealt with well by UCD, Tom Fletcher found space and brilliantly avoided several tackles to touch down in the corner, to bring Collidge back into the game at 20-8 after Earls failed with the conversion.

UCD started the second half brightly with James Thornton on for Earls at half-time, scoring a magnificent penalty from the ten-metre line in the forty-second minute, and landing a second penalty eight minutes later after Bucs didn’t roll away.

Collidge went within three points of their opponents after Gareth Halligan slowed the ball illegally, resulting in a yellow card for the hooker and another three points for UCD. They dominated the set plays from there, winning a penalty and a free kick from scrums, as well as pillaging several line-outs throughout the game.

Sam Coghlan-Murray almost put UCD into the lead after good work from the pack gave Collidge clean ball, which released Coughlan-Murray but the winger went into contact when he probably should have kicked, and was put into touch.

This was UCD’s last real attack of the game as Bucs counter-attacked, eventually winning a penalty which was scored once again by Carthy. UCD won two penalties late in the game but were so deep in their own half that they couldn’t make anything of them, as the game finished 23-17.

With two away losses and a home win, UCD sit in eighth place in the league, but are improving since their loss to Dungannon. Their second half performance in Dunbarry Park was impressive and were it not for the exquisite kicking of Bucs’ fly-half James Carthy, they probably would have won the match.