UCG 14 Buccaneers 10

It took 100 hundred minutes to separate these teams on Sunday afternoon last as each side showed huge character to provide an intense and exciting encounter despite some extreme weather. It was the students enterprise with the ball in hand however that handed them the victory after extra time in this Heineken junior cup opening round. Buccaneers opened the game the better showing intensity and power at the breakdown to work a number of penalties , the field position gained from these led to early shot at goal for the visitors to Dangan, while the strong winds meant the kick was more than long enough, the Buccs’ number 10 was let down by his accuracy. As the half progressed, the skill and talent which the college had to offer was let loose on a much weaker Buccs back line and began immediately pushing back the defenders, rapid recycling and dynamic play from centres Keith Farry and Colin Conroy   saw UCG go close time and time again but to no avail. The closest either side came to scoring for most of the rest of the first half was a missed penalty from college out half Conor Murphy. However as half time beckoned, a training ground move gave wing Cian McCann a half chance at the line and the Donegal native finished brilliantly to dot down under the posts, Murphy making no mistake with the extras. Half time score 7-0. 
College continued to play with ball in hand as much as possible in the second half and at it seemed to only be a matter of time before they added to their score, Conroy and McCann again going close. However as the monsoon like weather descended , it was the Buccaneers pack who took the initiative and began pounding the college line with scrum after scrum, as the game neared the end it seemed as though these efforts would be repulsed by some huge defence notably by UCG number8 Peter Fitzgerald. Despite this, tired bodies, soft ground and a noticeable weight disadvantage led to a Buccs try from a 5m scrum which despite the huge pressure was converted with the last kick of normal time to send the game into extra time. Buccs began extra time as they ended the second half  and were rewarded early with a drop goal from their 10 after 5minutes had been played, subdued and in shock, UCG limped to half time with their season on the balance. The young heads on the college team never dropped and were rewarded for their off the cuff play with 6 minutes reaming in the game, Conor Murphy who had already delivered an excellent game, spotted a gap and chased his own kick through to touch down under the posts, his conversion being the last score of the game and a huge success for UCG. In what has clearly been a re-building year for the club the prospect of having something to play for after the Christmas break will certainly warm the hearts of all the club.

By Alan O’Connor – PRO UCG RFC

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