uni seconds return to winning ways

Uni were simply superb as City Of Derry were the visitors and the freshly strengthened side saw the return of Joe McKinney, Aaron Doherty as well as the long awaited return of Andrew Munce to the second row, the uni now at full strength for the first time in 2 weeks had a team that wanted to prove a point.
The weather conditions were perfect for playing, however it was the City Of Derry lads who scored first from a messy ruck, a hack on and a more than suspect grounding of the ball saw a score for them in the corner, conversion missed. 0-5

The solid front row of Linsey McLaughlin, Scott Stevenson and Dave McCullough dealt with the larger City Of Derry pack well as they ensured unyielding scrums all day long, and from a scrum on the halfway line, quick ball along the back line saw a great backline move up towards the City Of Derry 22, when the forwards recycled the ball well and lock Daniel Morgan broke through several defenders to crash over the line, conversion missed 5-5 it was game on.

City of Derry battled back hard, soon after kick off with a sustained period camped on the Uni try line, but fantastic defence by both forwards and backs shown the way by Andrew Munce and Joe McKinney lead to the uni lads forcing a penalty from City Of Derry,

this was the vital turning point in the game, as you could visibly see the intensity of the Uni step up considerably, and as they increased the pressure in the last 20mins of the half the uni scored 3 more times from Berge, McMenemy and Whitcroft, half time score 24-5

City Of Derry kicked off the second deep into the Uni 22 and a moment of miscommunication saw no one claim the ball and the City of Derry winger took full advantage of the bounce, too dot the ball under the posts, 24-12. However this would be the last time City of Derry would enter the Uni 22.

The Fantastic defensive work of the forwards forcing turnovers combined with the magic hands and great running lines of the backs saw a bombardment of trys in the second half, as the fitter pack led strongly by Scott Stevenson helped open up space for McMenemy, Berge and Whitcroft all to score their second trys. And as the game opened up further sub Tails Hill, went over the white washed joined by Richard Murphy soon after. Final Score was 62-12, keeping the Uni’s record of being the most attacking backline in the league. It was also great to see that subs of Niall Diffin, Tony Colgan and Tails slotting into the game seamlessly.  Man of the match went to Andrew Munce whose work rate was second to none on the day. They hope to carry this team trough to the next game against Donegal away, with their ones are not playing it will be a tough encounter, but the belief is in the squad to bring home a win from Donegal next week 26/11/11.

UUC 2’s suffocated by Inishowen 1st XV

The Uni lads travelled northward to Inishowen R.F.C 1st XV who previously played Qualifying League Rugby until very recently, however undeterred the students were eager to find out how far they had come this year, as they were going up against such a strong team in the minor league.

It was a pleasant day in Donegal, the right conditions for running rugby and the first half did not disappoint, as both teams we’re willing to run the ball and it was 10mins and soft tackling that allowed the Inishowen team to score first down the wing. Try was converted 7-0.

UUC started to realise this was a tougher game than the previous week and stepped up the physicality in the tackle and started to force the odd turnover, however some speculative passing midfield by the forwards gave a turn over to Inishowen from which they scored on the opposite wing 10 mins later. Try converted 14-0.

A quick chat under the posts and the UUC lads dramatically upped the pace of the game working Inishowen hard from the kick off, and the continued pressure saw scrum half Tommy McGlaughlin force a penalty near the posts; it was kicked by out half Richard Murphy. 14-3

The receiving kick was fielded well by Daniel Morgan and a powerful drive by open side Stuart Whitcroft ably supported by Scott Stevenson saw the lads drive deep into the Inishowen 22, A lovely crash ball by Linsey McLaughlin and quick ruck ball saw the UUC full back head over the line 5 meters from touch. Try Converted by Murphy on the stroke of half time. 14-10 and the lads were confident they could take the game to Inishowen.

However Inishowen had other thoughts on how to play rugby in the second half, as the closed the game out by continually picking and driving in ugly but ultimately efficient rugby as the continued pressure from picking and driving led to a hands in the ruck penalty, and it was a kick top the corner, lineout maul and pick and go rugby saw Inishowen score to trys in 20mins one in each corner.

UUC 2’s never deterred from trying to play a better brand of rugby but it was hard for the chaps to get any continuity together with only 5mins of game time on the ball in the second half, but credit has to go to the uni as they never stopped defending as we seen 18 pick and goes from Inishowen and they hadn’t left their area just outside their own 22.

Final score was Inishowen 1stXV 24 UUC 2ndXV 10.
The guys have taken great pride from the game being a genuine Minor League team doing so well against a former qualifying team and look forward to the Inishowen lads travelling up to the Sam Logan Stadium in the New Year.

Man of the match was yet again a hard decision with so many guys making an impressive contribution to the team, but Stuart Whitcroft certainly had to take the honours as he battled hard at every ruck and maul.

Ballyclare push hard

In perfect conditions the visitors to the Logan Stadium were Ballyclare who last season put 10 trys past the students. The game started with the home team having the better of the early exchanges, with the lively Jamie Ball at scrum half pulling the strings, however things changed abruptly when the students tried to move a ball wide and a misdirected pass bounced into the Ballyclaire no 12’s hands, he out stripped the home defence to touch down under the posts, the conversion easily made gave the visitors a 7 point lead.

The students then suffered another blow when shortly after the restart a good cutting break saw rugby league convert, centre Andrew Winder carry the ball into contact were he fell awkwardly and damaged his ankle in the process, to his credit he choose to stay on the field, moving to the wing were he played basically on one leg for the remaining 70minutes and crucially, his presence would make a telling contribution to the game.

The students reorganised and went about trying to get a hold on the talented Ballyclaire team, a great step in the middle of the field from hooker Ryan Eecock who has made the number 2 shirt his own this season, supported by O’Neill and Wilkinson created quick possession, this was moved once more through the forwards hands with the back row ground hog John Dillon making the ball available, quick handling and direct running by the back line saw full back Lee Murphy give Winger Sam Hall a great pass and the big lad coming onto the pass flat out stripped the away defence to score in the corner. Out half Whitcroft slotted the difficult conversion to level affairs, it was game on.

A period followed were both teams struggled to retain primary possession, with in turn each team winning line outs and scrums against the head, but good defensive work lead to turnover of the ball and it was a moment of inspiration from skipper Dunlevey to make the ball available giving the Uni no 10, who always looks to keep the score board moving, tried a long range attempt at a drop goal, on target but just dropping under the crossbar. However the fullback managed to fumble the ball and gave a knock on, this gave the students prime field position. To their credit Ballyclaire survived the onslaught on their try line however eventually an offside infringement was conceded and Out half Whitcroft made no mistake with the penalty kick to give the home side the half time lead.

The restart saw Ballyclaire start the better and the student defence was well tested surprisingly and uncharacteristically indiscipline home defence gave several penalties away, but thankfully the visitors kicking boots were still in Ballyclaire and the scoreboard was not threatened. The students then played some good rugby with Millar, Dunlevey, McCullough and Henley dominating the line out and great defence from Rowden and Hill and Murphy who is securer than any European bank at fullback, saw the students get into penalty range and when the error came Whitcroft converted from 30m out to give the students a 13 – 7 lead.

One of the trade marks of the home team this season has been having the capacity to score at key times in games and in probably the key moment of this entertaining fixture, the students were given the put in to a scrum that the visitors may have felt should have been there’s, 10 yards out, surprising the Claire defence no8 went blind and fed scrumhalf Jamie Ball who gave the pass to Winder who considering his damaged leg stepped round the visitors winger and fullback to score a try. Whitcroft converted the conversion from the touch line, his 12th consecutive kick at goal, to open up a 20 – 7 lead.
Ballyclaire to there credit came back at the students and forced a try with a juggling act by the fullback after a good build up saw him have loose then have again control of the ball as he crossed the try line, to bring the visitors back within 6 points .However the students had the best of the final exchanges and almost crowned a dogged performance by scoring what would have been an outstanding try with every forward touching the ball inter passing through the Ballyclaire defence with unfortunately the final pass going to ground with the try line at their mercy. Final score UUC 20 – Ballyclaire 14

2ndXV Suffer First Defeat

It was a wet and windy day at Lime Park Armoy, the pitch was heavy under foot but the students battled hard from start to finish as the two best defensive teams in the league went head to head. Luck divided the teams in an outcome in a match that could have swung either way on the day.

The first half was a close fought encounter as both teams defended vigorously and a strong referee kept Armoy honest but first points went to Armoy after 15mins of play as they kicked a penalty, 3-0. The students battled back hard and only after Armoy conceded 8 penalties in a row did the students finally take advantage of a positional penalty and kicked 3 points of their own, 3-3. The continual penalty count frustrated the students as they couldn’t gather momentum against Armoy a yellow card may have enabled the game to settle down into some rhythm but this wasn’t to be and it was Armoy to strike next 10mins before half time by kicking a penalty to take the score to 6-3. 5 mins before half time the University lost hooker Jeremy Gregg who took a nasty tackle.

The second half saw the student start the more aggressive of the two teams stretching Armoy from one side of the pitch and Jamie Ball kicked them well deep into the corners, a knock on from a lineout by Armoy saw a scrum 8 metres from the line and pick up from Aaron Doherty drive well from the back of the scrum and quick recycling of the ball seen Stuart Whitcroft dive for the corner only to be denied by millimetres on the touch line.
The students found it hard to create any flow in their game due to excessive penalties from Armoy, however credit has to go to Armoy on their well drilled defence as they played the conditions well and kept the students at bay. It was this strong defence that put pressure on the students which saw a break down in communications and a dropped pass, the quick thinking of the Armoy number 6 saw him hack the ball through, he controlled the ball well to see him go over the line 10mins before time, the converted to make the score line 13-3. The students battled bravely to the last minutes of the game and believed if the game were to continue it would most definitely have finished on a different score.

Although the students were beaten they can take great pride from the game, as it was a hard fought game from both teams, and one of those games that could have went either way. There will be hard lessons learned from this game, and the students shall take them on board and implement them at training to help secure a victory in their next game away against Inishowen.
Man of the Match went to Jamie Ball at scrum who kept the students heading in the right direction.

uuc come back against omagh

The fixture changed from Omagh due to an unplayable pitch, saw both teams serve up a highly entertaining game which had everything for the large crowd at the Sam Logan stadium.
Playing into the elements the students had the best of the early exchanges and after 10 minutes out half Whitcroft converted a Penalty from 40m out to give the home team the lead, despite some further good work especially out wide by Hall and Johnston the students could not trouble the score board.
Omagh then took control of the game, playing excellent rugby first in the tight and then on the flanks, forcing firstly penalties to be given away and then scoring two excellent trys. to take an 18 – 3 lead. With half time approaching the students had to dig deep to regain the initiative, and a great break out by full Back Lee Murphy who fed center Matt Hill, he then released John Henry, who made a run deep into the Omagh 22, quick recycling of the ball saw the second rows of Henly and Leonard make good pick and drives, forcing Omagh to concede a penalty which the Uni number 10 converted to make the score 18-6. Just before half time the university forced there way deep into the Omagh 22 but good defence forced big George Hall into touch and the referee blew for half time.

The elements now on there back and attacking Starke Park end, the students inspired by talisman Marty O’Neill went about dismantling the Omagh team in all aspects for a remarkable 30 minutes, Scrumhalf Winder sniped down the blind side, feeding no 8 Mike Dunlevey and the big man stormed into the Omagh defence, several pick and drives led by Ryan Eecock the live wire hooker, saw Omagh concede a penalty in front of the posts, Whitcroft slotted over to bring his tally to nine points.
Straight from the kick off Marty O’Neill made a fifty yard run beating off tackle after tackle, throwing in a few side steps for good measure before being hauled down just short of the Omagh try line, a great clear out by the supporting back row of Ollie Millar, Dunlevey and John Dillon saw the powerful Jamie Wilkinson pick and drive over the line to score a vital try, Whitcroft kicked the difficult conversion, the score now 18-16 to Omagh.
Relentlessly the students hunted any Omagh player in possession, and Whitcroft expertly spiralled to all corners of the Omagh half in a master class of the out of hand kicking art. Pressure told again and the visitors offered up another penalty which the Uni number 10 slotted over to see the students take a 19-18 lead.
5 minutes later a good passage of play which stretched the visitors from wing to wing then some forceful drives from the pack saw excellent field position rewarded by a Whitcroft drop goal to stretch the students lead, not finished yet further pressure from the hard working Wilkinson saw Miller who covered every blade of grass on the pitch, take and give with scrumhalf Winder, who when tackled saw two Omagh forwards go off there feet and concede another penalty. Alan Whitcroft converted from the difficult angle to bring his match tally to 20 points.
To their credit Omagh never gave up and tried to create something in the final minutes but they could not penetrate the home defence again. A great final counter saw Hall open his legs showing his class, to almost score in the corner but Omagh scrambled well in defence and denied him a reward for his hard afternoons work. The referee blew up shortly after to end a highly entertaining game, the final score 25-18 to the home team.

UUC 2s leave it late to seal win

After last weeks win against Donegal 2s the students had a much tougher task of Strabane 2s at the Sam Logan Stadium. A close fought encounter saw the students come out 10-9 winners against Strabane.

From the whistle it was obvious the game was going to be physical and that every point would count as the rain was becoming heavy. The uni defence was solid and the students where able to keep Strabane in their own half, and for the first 20 minutes didn’t look like either team was going to score. After a period of play indiscipline started to creep into both sides but an excellent forwards drive and a dubious call from the ref penalised the uni, giving Strabane a penalty in the 22. Their out half stood up to the mark and converted the kick. The students hit back immediately and earned a penalty in the Strabane 22. Jamie Ball stepped up to the mark and converted making the score 3-3, the Uni lads had another attempt at a penalty just before half time but kicker Jamie shaved the up right and missed, at half time the score was 3-3.


The second half started off with the same intensity as the first half, both teams defences where solid. Soon into the second half Strabane where awarded a penalty and converted to make the score 6-3 to Strabane. Straight from the kickoff Strabane worked their way back into the students 22 and a great tackle by lock William Waddell stemmed a telling attack from the Strabane forwards, the students were unlucky as Strabane were awarded another penalty for an infringement in the ruck. Strabane converted the penalty to make the score 9-3.

At this point the students switched on and pushed Strabane deep into their own half. With outstanding ruck work from the uni forwards, saw phase after phase of recycled ball and it was only a matter of time that frustration would set into Strabane, the fitness of the Uni and quick recycling produced the end result as frustration set in and Strabane gave a penalty away less than 5 minutes from time. Tommy McLaughlin took a quick tap and the ball was spread through the backs to winger David McMenemy who cut up Strabane’s defence and crashed over the try line close to the posts, making the score 9-8 in favour to Strabane. Jamie Ball stepped forward to take the conversion and slotted it between the posts making the score 10-9 to the students. With a minute and half to go the uni received and secured the kickoff, recycled the ball and on the 80th minute kicked the ball out of play to seal a hard fought win.

Jamie Ball Delivers Winning Kick in a nail biting finish

This game has shown the lads that they can match the physical teams and puts them in good stead for their fourth coming teams of Armoy 1st XV and Inishowen 1st XV, its just a pity it took 60mins of rugby before the Uni lads opened up and showed Strabane what they could really do. Man of the match award went to Romain Berge who was outstanding at full back, But credit must go to Jamie Ball who steadied the ship and showed nerves of steel to clinch the match!

Randy has been in the wars!!

Ballymoney worked hard for their win

The 1st xv travelled to Ballymoney for the 2nd round junior cup game billed as the major local derby of the round, which offered both clubs the opportunity  of making the quarter finals for the second year in a row. The home team ran out deserved winners 17 – 6 in a good natured advertisement for the game and a hard encounter but only after their young neighbours gave them a real challenge to solve and for an hour the upset was a real possibility.

The game started with the students receiving the kick off which was well fielded by skipper Dunlevey who aided by second rows Leonard and McCullough drove hard into the Ballymoney midfield, quick ball recycled several times saw the students get into the home teams 22, but an unforced error allowed the ‘toon’ to clear their lines. The game for large periods of the first half ebbed and flowed with both sets of backs and forwards challenging each other but in general cancelled each other out. on the half hour mark the game came to life with an excellent student attack from hooker Ryan Eecock forcing a penalty from the home teams no6 going off his feet and offering the first kick at the posts from 30 m out however Whitcroft grazed the outside of the upright to leave things scoreless, the students pushed hard with some good lines being cut by centres Winder and fresher Henry but the professionalism of the home defence kept the students out.

Ballymoney then attacked opening the students up, however a great scramble defence and a superb tackle by Sam Hall kept the Ballymoney winger out, shortly after a soft penalty was conceded and the home team out half made no mistake to give the home team the lead.

The students through there impressive wing forwards Henley and Millar and props O’Neill and Wilkinson made real ground and forced a penalty from the mean Ballymoney defence which Whitcroft converted to level things. Just before half time and probably what became the telling pattern of the game was Ballymoney for the second time got into the Uni’s red zone and came away with another 3 points to go into half time 6- 3 in front.

The second half saw the students now playing towards the Clubrooms with the elements on there backs and the knowledgeable home crowed could sense an upset was possible and things tightened up shortly into the half when the students levelled things when they forced a penalty from a great break by fullback Rowden who used all his 16 st and 6′ 4” frame to make good yards and only by slowing the release of the ball did Ballymoney stop a probable try. The uni Out half punished accordingly. The students now in full flow were awarded another penalty from about 40 m out which dropped just under the crossbar, to Ballymoney’s relief.

Ballymoney showed, perhaps the difference between the teams from this point on that when they ventured into the Uni 22, two times in the next phase of the game once to convert a hard earned penalty and crucially to score the games only try by recycling 15 phases to eventually score in the corner. The conversion missed to give them a 14 – 6 lead.

The students to their credit continued to attack with Winger Sharpah and scrum half Murphy making strong runs and Dunlevey and Wilkinson plundering into Ballymoney territory even the introduction of fresh legs in the back row from the lively Aaron Doherty were all to no avail and importantly no points return. Disappointingly verbal and slow retreat from penalties, the indiscretions cost the university hard won yards and perhaps the game. Individuals should be looking at themselves rather than commenting on others, this would surely have helped their cause more. Ballymoney converted a penalty on the final whistle to rightly keep the bragging rights as the best team in the area however also knowing that the students made them work hard to make the quarter finals

Donegal Blown away by uni seconds

Donegal blown away by sensational Uni 2’s

Uni were simply superb as Donegal were the visitors and had no answers for the hosts’ intensity that lasted from the first minute to the last proved to be too much for Donegal in a game that was called up short.
The weather conditions were not perfect for playing, as it rained the entire time making the ball very slippery indeed, however this did not dampen the Uni passion nor their skill level as they took an early mistake by Donegal and the ever improving Tommy ‘The Guns’ McLaughlin collected the ball on full stride and broke through the Donegal defensive line for the first score of the game, conversion missed 5-0, 6mins gone.
The solid front row of Linsey McLaughlin, Scott Stevenson and Darryl McCorriston ensured solid scrums all day long, and from a scrum on the halfway line, quick ball along the back line saw Tony Colgan score in the corner after 14mins score 10-0 conversion missed.
At this point Donegal seemed perplexed by the sheer intensity and skill level of the Uni 2’s side as only minutes had passed and after a turnover created by the phenomenal John ‘JD’ Dillon allowed quick hands out the back line and then a great dummy pass by Ryan Gilmore saw him go over under the posts, conversion kicked by Richard Murphy 17-0. A mistake by Donegal from the kick of saw the teams return to the halfway line for a scrum, quick pick up from Number 8, Stuart Whitcroft saw him interlinking with Jamie Ball and John Dillon and with great support lines by the 8 seen him over the white wash, conversion kicked 24-0 half time score.

Donegal kicked off the second after deep into the Uni 22 and the ball was fielded by wing forward JD and quick ruck ball allowed the Uni Full Back Romain Berge to pick a lovely line between the centres to run 60 meters and score under the posts, conversion kicked, 31-0. Again the Uni 2’s received a deep kick off, and great forward mauling saw JD run off the back of it and with a kick ahead, the Donegal backs had to scramble back, and the quick reactions of JD and Whitcroft allowing the Donegal fullback to play the ball before trying to turn him over gave the Uni a penalty under the posts for holding on, quick tap left saw centre Murphy crash over for a score, conversion scored 38-0. 5mins later new comer to the club Daniel Noble only on the pitch receiving a sneaky ball on the blind side wing and with a great side step seen him under the posts as he out sprinted the recovering defence of Donegal to dot the ball under the posts. Conversion Missed 43-0.
The pressure was relentless by the uni and a line out from a penalty gave the Uni back line another chance to run hard and true at Donegal as centre Gilmore crashed through on the miss pass, and off loaded beautifully to Whitcroft who supported fantastically all game, went over for his second try of the game conversion kicked
50-0.
55mins into the game and from an attacking scrum just outside the Donegal 22, Tommy McLaughlin took it upon himself to crash the ball up; but slack tackling by Donegal allowed Tommy to power his way over the line. Conversion missed. 55-0
The final play of the game saw a receiving kick collected and driven by prop McLaughlin, and fantastic rucking by Vice Captain Andrew Munce gave quick ball to the backline, with Daniel Morgan crashing up the centre, while passing the ball to Murphy who took his chance with a 2v1 to release Scott Stevenson the hooker down the wing and to go over near the posts, he converted his own try by a drop goal. The game was called up short with the final score 62-0.
The man of the match award has been the toughest yet, so tough in fact it has been awarded to both Stuart Whitcroft and John Dillon.

UUC 2’s next encounter will be 2nd placed Strabane 2’s who will bring a tougher game to the Sam Logan Stadium at cromore road, so it will be vital for 1 to 22 to make it out to training for this upcoming collision, it will let the lads know if they have a chance of winning the league this season, however it is the belief of the coaching staff that this squad of players has what it takes to go all the way!

UUC hang on, in a tough encounter with Larne

UUC hang on in a tough encounter with Larne

A close fought encounter saw the students come out 16 – 11 winners. The home team started playing into the strong breeze but this did not stop the lively student pack from putting Larne under pressure form the start, and from a line out the ball was worked into the middle of the field, excellent hands from the mid field put winger Hall away, although tackled, he off loaded to James Henley who had made a great supporting run, however Larne broke down the UUC attack and broke out of defence, a series of great tackles in mid field by Johnny Henry and Stuart Whitcroft on his debut in the cup, led to Pack leader Wilkinson stealing possession, and out half Winder’s delicate chip into the corner forced Larne to concede a line out 5 yards out. A great catch and drive saw several quick pick and goes with Marty O’Neill being the one too score the try. The conversion by Lee Murphy was missed narrowly.
From the restart Larne showed their intent to play open rugby, but got little change out of the hard working University back row of Millar, Doherty and Dunlevey, the students through a good blindside attack saw Callum Rowden and Romain Ber break out, taking play deep into the Larne 22, from a line out again the students built a platform for the forwards to claim another try with scrum half Murphy touching down. The conversion against the difficult wind was missed.
The students seemed to be in full control at this point playing intelligent rugby, however a lot of unforced errors and lack of primary possession very much changed the course of the half and Larne started to dominate proceedings and were well worth a brace of penalties and a try to lead at half time.

The first ten minutes of the second half again saw Larne on the attack, with only the excellent defence protecting the student line, eventually the tide turned ad the students using the elements intelligently with Murphy and Rowden kicking well, to gain good field position they started to force the pace and ask questions of the Larne defence, also the students upped the tackle count with the skipper in particular leaving his mark on the Larne midfield. Eventually penalties were conceded and Murphy converted from 30 yards out to put the students back in front, Although the students pressed, Murphy’s next effort came back off the upright and the students could not get the day light required to make the game safe, as the game closed out a penalty from just inside his own 10 m line by Rowden made the game safe for the students, shortly thereafter the ref blew the final whistle.

Next Saturdays Junior cup match with top of the Qualifying 1 table Ballymoney who last played UUC some 12 years ago when they won qualifying 3 league that day, it will be a one sided affair again if the students make the same errors, however the beauty of cup rugby is, well you never know, perhaps a bit like Ireland the University team are happy being the underdogs.

UUC 2’s V Tir Chonaill 1’s

UUC 2’s Continue Winning Ways.

 

After a reasonably even opening few minutes, Tir Chonaill were second best to a Uni side who played the conditions perfectly. Time and again, the Uni kickers pinned Tir Chonaill back deep in their own half and seemingly executed their tactical plan perfectly, daring them to run from deep. Tir Chonaill could barely get out of their own half and the home side enjoyed a glut of possession which they made good use of. Wave after wave of attack smashed into the Tir Chonaill defence and, although every player tackled manfully, something had to give sooner or later.

A significant penalty count against the Black and Whites didn’t help nor did a lineout which misfired on occasions. Tir Chonaill just couldn’t get into the game, they are however a developing side, which show great signs of promise. As a result, the home side were dominant and, with Tommy McLaughlin once again pulling the strings in expert fashion, Uni were good value for the win and Tir Chonaill could have few complaints. There were odd flashes of hope but the ball never quite went to hand or was turned over and there wasn’t even the bonus of a consolation score.

Conditions had looked good in the run up to kick off but, just before the teams appeared, the heavens opened. What effect would it have? Both teams started in positive fashion despite the slippery ball, the Uni Scored in the first 10mins of the game from stolen lineout in the Tir Chonaill 22 set up good field position and the home side looked the stronger as Uni forwards looked for quick ruck ball  for the backs and they  made no mistakes as they went 7-0 after nine minutes. Uni responded well from the kick off and had a couple of good attacking positions but lost control of the greasy ball in contact and Tir Chonaill were quick to snaffle possession.

It was fairly helter skelter stuff and there was little room to move in midfield with Richard Murphy in particular flying up in defence to make tackles. Along with Jamie Ball at full back little got past the uni defensive back 3.The second try scoring chance was on 20 minutes as Murphy sprinted through on to a measured grubber kick from Tommy McLaughlin. He controlled the hack on but knocked on the act of stooping to pick up the ball and score. It was a let off for Tir Chonaill, much of the play was in the Tir Chonaill half at this point but the defence was committed and tackles were being made. Possession was needed, however. Uni finally broke through on 25 minutes. Tommy switched play to the blindside where Murphy and Ryan Gilmore combined to draw the last man and sent the uni full back Jamie Ball scooting down the 5 metre channel and over for the try. Murphy missed the conversion 12-0.

The away side had their tails up and David McMenemy had to scramble back to deny Tir Chonaill’s winger a chance after a powerful break from his own  half. The solid scramble defence saw the Uni lads play the ball back up to the Tir Chonaill 22 they were now struggling to get a foothold in the game. Any possession they got was received deep in their own half and they were limited to kicking and chasing. On the contrary, Uni looked lively and confident at half time. 12-0

Early in the second half, another squandered lineout then cost Tir Chonaill as Joe McKinney nick the lineout ball, fed to Jeremy Gregg who fed blind side wing forward Ricky Boyd a lovely ball taking out several defenders, and with quick ball saw the uni winger McNenemy going over in the corner. 17-0

It had been gallant defence but Tir Chonaill cracked again on 55 minutes. Tommy worked his magic in midfield and sent Murphy crashing into the 22. Quick ball then had Tir Chonaill outnumbered and Murphy recovered well to dive over in the corner. Murphy converted from the touchline for a 24-0 lead. Uni were rampant and Tir Chonaill seemingly on the ropes and another catch and drive quickly produced the fourth try. Boyd was again involved in the interplay along with Number 8 Kyle Hetherington which saw Prop Scot ‘Randy’ Stevenson head over in the corner for the try, conversion missed. 29-0

And, if ever any moment summed up The Uni’s day, it was in the last 10mins minute when McMenenmy benefited from a Tir Chonaill mistake as they kicked wildly, he caught the ball on the 10metre line and beat the defensive line to make it into the corner for his 3rd try, conversion missed 34-0. Then 2 mins later saw some great interplay with forwards and backs unleashing centre Ryan Gilmore into the corner for the final phase of the game to score, conversion kicked by the ever impressive Jamie Ball, 41-0 Final score.

Man of the match went to the very impressive debutant of David McNenemy who had an excellent day on the wing. But it was a tough decision with great games from, Ball, Murphy, and Rusty who deserve credit for a well played game.

Tea

1. David ‘Coaches’ McCullough
2. Jeremy ‘Wiry’ Gregg
3. Scot ‘Randy’ Stevenson
4. Andrew ‘Big Lad’ Munce
5. William ‘Sasquatch’ Waddell
6. Liam ‘George’ O’Diskin
7 Joe ‘Zeus’ McKinney
8 Kyle ‘Ankles’ Hetherington
9. Mark ‘Rusty’ Gillespie
10. Tommy ‘The Guns’ McLaughlin
11. David ‘Marshall Mathers’ McMenemy
12. Richard ‘Murph’ Murphy
13. Ryan ‘Gilly’ Gilmore
14. Tony ‘TLC’ Colgan
15. Jamie ‘Hitman’ Ball

16. Nigel ‘The Menace’ Irwin
17. Ricky ‘Drinker’ Boyd
18. Lindsey ‘Phats’ McLaughlin

UUC v Carrick Junior cup

UUC v Carrick Junior cup 1/10/2011

The students travelled to Carrick with the highly impressive new facilities at Woodlawn. The weather conditions were atrocious, and the heavy rain had left the playing surface tricky at best. The University team much changed from the previous Saturday with five freshers making their university débuts. The reward for modifying their game plan at Thursdays training  and their pre match preparation’s paid dividends early on after some great recycling out half Andrew Winder brought centre Jonathan Henry onto a pass and the big Ballyclaire lad on his debut  made a superb break through the Carrick centre partnership, in hindsight an early off load to Winder who’s support run deserved the pass would have seen the university surly score wide right, instead the Carrick defence scrambled but with the students camped on the Carrick line they conceded a penalty which scrumhalf Lee Murphy, who kicked imperiously all afternoon, converted the penalty.

The restart superbly fielded by second row Darren Leonard set the university working tight then open patterns to create a good space on the blind side two good passes saw skipper Mike Dunlevey beat two defenders and sprinted 20yards to score in the corner, Murphy made the difficult conversion into the swirling wind to give the students a ten point lead.  Carrick came back at the students hard but found no way through the D wall with the front row of Wilkinson, Eecock and O’Neill knocking men back time and time again and back row Ollie Millar and Danny Morgan winning every loose ball on the ground led Carrick to kick hard won possession away to easily, which Hall and Rowden dealt with cleanly. The rest of the first half saw the students who now had their line out with Coaches, Millar and Dunlevey doing well and scrum functioning solidly to secure primary possession. in the home teams half and pressure  told on two more occasions which Lee Murphy bisected the posts    with for the students to reach half time leading 19 – 0 the key to their performance to this point was the fact that no unforced errors occurred and only one penalty was conceded

During the break backrow Dan Morgan who had done little wrong was replaced by Kyle Hetherington who joined the 1stxv for the first time having missed much of the pre-season with an ankle injury, he quickly made up for lost time by imposing his presence on the blind side of the scrum.

 

The students playing down the slope and the elements in their favour saw play maker Andrew Winder  opened the game up and bring Whitcroft and Henrys impressive handling skills to the fore giving the back three an opportunity to get ball in hand with the right winger surfing into the corner to score a deserved try ,the conversion was missed. To their credit Carrick came back at the students and forced a penalty, however the attempt drifted wide of the uprights, frustrating for the home team the University went down to their opponent’s half and a great turn over by pack leader Wilkinson drew the defence off side and Murphy slotted from 40m out. Disappointingly the home team lost their discipline somewhat and the game became very niggle based and one scuffle saw Leonard spend ten minutes in the bin surprisingly the Carrick centre did not join him for a similar indiscretion. Injury to the student’s scrumhalf saw Campbell’s 2nd sub Scott Randy take the field and his fresh legs made a positive contribution. The students came close on several occasions to score another try but Carrick’s line held to the final whistle. Result UUC 24-Carrick 0

The Students with a refreshingly honest approach to the game will want to learn from several aspects of this tough encounter, especially the importance of not letting the opposition distract them from the job in hand and that only hard work on the training ground will improve their performance

UUC 2’s Too Strong for Ballymoney

The individual performances coupled with a titanic backline effort dragged Uni over the finish line as victors against a much bigger and more physical Ballymoney team.

As soon as the game started our error became clear. What Uni lacked in size they more than made up for with speed and sheer ferocity in contact. With a rampant back row led by the outstanding Number 8 Aaron Doherty, and Number 7 Joe ‘Zeus’ McKinnley barely missed a tackle all game. Uni’s pack ran Ballymoney off their feet in the first half, suffocating them and linking brilliantly with the backs.

And what a back division! Feeding off the sheer number of offloads from their pack, the Uni back line, led by Tommy McLaughlin at fly half and the effervescent scrum half Mark Gillespie tore into Ballymoney. Within 10 minutes Uni were on the board, choosing to run a penalty from ten metres out and Tommy went in virtually under the posts. Ballymoney stepped up the pressure forcing themselves into the Uni 22, but struggled to deal with the physicality of Uni and lost the ball. Quick hands out the back line saw Jackson the full back scoring again under the posts. Towards the end of the half and after shrugging off a few injuries both Tommy and Jackson where on the score sheet again. Continued pressure from the Uni forwards resulted in a scrum just outside the 22, a quick hook and quicker feet from the number 8 left the Ballymoney backrow bemused as he sprinted past them to dot the ball down between the post. Half time Score 36-0

After the half-time talk, Ballymoney came out and began to play with more purpose. It paid dividends at first, the Ballymoney forwards scoring under the posts, and then some poor tackling from Uni saw them score again under the posts. Uni regrouped under the posts and came out fighting; the inexorable physicality of the Uni defence began to tell, soaking up everything that Ballymoney could throw at them, leading by example Jonny Dingley new to the club this year making tackle after tackle. The telling moment of the half came when Ballymoney’s forwards knocked the ball on and Tommy McLaughlin swept the ball up in full stride side stepping 3 defenders and running half the pitch to score just beside the posts. Uni continued the pressure as Jackson made a fine tackle on the Ballymoney centre and turned the ball over, and cleverly seeing the open space, chipped the ball over the oncoming Ballymoney rush defence and collecting it to score under the posts.

The last 10 minutes saw some end to end action, as Ryan Gilmore drew two defenders to unleash new comer Tony Colgan down the wing to score on his debut to rugby and for the Uni. A mistake by the Uni saw Ballymoney who, never looked like quitting, continue there onslaught of forward play with great close quarter handling they fooled the uni lads as the big prop went over the white wash in the dying moments of the game. Final Score UUC 2’s 58-21 Ballymoney 5’s.
A well deserved man of the match award goes to Jonny Dingley for his outstanding defence and ball carrying skills. And a mention to Gareth Bell the injured captain for his organisational efforts with the 2ndXV squad that has helped introduce great depth to the club.

Next week UUC 2’s look forward to welcoming newcomers Tir Chonaill to the Sam Logan Stadium at Cromore Road.