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.
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!
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
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!
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
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.
This time last year Brett Campbell was spluttering with exasperation at the wastefulness of his UUC RFC 2nd XV team, who had failed for the third consecutive season to win the minor league. Now he is beaming as the UUC 2’s storm towards the top of the table after their first win of the season and this has restored the twinkle to his eye.
Campbell is keen to point out that this was a true 2nd XV team and one he knows will be very successful this year. UUC are a fresh and fit young team who are well used to playing against the big boys. Newcomers to the league; Finn Valley 1st XV were shown by Brett Campbell’s team that youth along with skill and passion has become a tradition at the club. This is the ethos that defines UUC RFC.
UUC RFC scored eight tries. Five from swaggering backs moves and three from rolling mauls. Ignominy could not have got much worse than that for Finn Valley fans, none of whom had much to celebrate bar a little period of pressure in the last minutes.
Daniel Morgan, Andrew Munce and Kyle Hetherington benefited from fantastic forward interplay, finishing with a brace of tantalizing tries.
New boys Ryan Gilmore and Lee Johnston waded into the action with UUC’s flare points, scoring after a typically relentless build-up from the home team.
Campbell believes the unrivalled companionship this team has will lead them to league and cup wins in the 2011-12 season.
This could be the most exciting season ahead that the UUC2’s have had in a long time.
UUC RFC have once again retained The George Tees Cup (Formerly the Dooley Cup for 1 year) for Fourth year running. Dooley Cup – 2007, George Tees Cup – 2008/09/10 and now 2011!
The development side that included many new faces put in a consistent performance throughout the tournament.After winning all of their matches in section 1 they faced Ballyshannon in the final who won section 2.
The Table looked like this:
Ballymoney 28-0 Rainey
Inishowen 0-12 UUC
Omagh 0-0 Ballymoney
Rainey 7-5 Inishowen
Inishowen 0-0 Ballymoney
Omagh 21-0 Rainey
Ballymoney 5- 15 UUC
Rainey 0-47 UUC
UUC 24-0 Omagh
Ballyshannon kicked off and from the catch, and great inter play between Martin O’Niell and Jamie Wilkinson allowed UUC to force their way deep into the Ballyshannon half. Indiscipline from Ballyshannon at the ruck resulted in a penalty for UUC in front of the posts. Alan Whitcroft slotted the conversion to give UUC a 3-0 lead. From the restart Ballyshannon put pressure on with hard tackles and great line defence work, but a superb kick into the corner by Alan Whitcroft gave the UUC men a great chance to compete in the lineout deep in the Ballyshannon half. UUC turned the ball over and with good hands allowed Sam Hall to score in the corner. The half time whistle blew and the score stood at 10-0.
UUC kicked off and Ballyshannon showed their power in the pack mauling the UUC forwards up the pitch close to the UUC 22, from there Ballyshannon were awarded a penalty but the penalty was missed. 22 Kick off and possession was given back to Ballyshannon, however the good chasing kept them deep in their own half, and with continued pressure from UUC, Ballyshannon knocked on and gave UUC a scrum. A cleverly worked move between the number 8 and scrum half resulted in a well taken try for Lee Murphy in the corner, conversion was missed. Determined pressure from UUC resulted in a quick turn over and with well worked section of interplay between the forwards Daniel Morgan powered over the line to start his first full season with UUC with a well deserved try, conversion scored 22-0. This however did not dampen the Ballyshannon spirit and in the dyeing minutes a brilliant move from their back line resulted in a try for Ballyshannon, with the conversion missed. The full time whistle went and UUC deservedly won the game with a final score of 22-5.
This is a real positive sign for the development of UUC RFC for the future with new players like Scott Stevenson, Ryan Gilmore, Stuart Whitcroft and Joe McKinney joining the club for the first time this year, and showing an excellent level of skill on the pitch.
UUC RFC would like to take the opportunity to congratulate City Of Derry RFC in their excellent work in organising this rugby event to the highest standards every year.
Match Report – Lee Murphy, Pictures – Bernard Doherty
The University will award up to two postgraduate Masters Course scholarships to high level rugby players who currently reside out of the UK.
One of the scholarships will allow an Irish qualified rugby player who resides outside of Northern Ireland but is Irish qualified. The other will be an international based player.
In addition to playing for UUC RFC each scholarship will include:
• Tuition fees to a postgraduate masters course of choice based at the Coleraine campus.
• Assistance to living costs throughout the year.
Anyone interested should send their name, date of birth, postal address, a brief CV of their rugby career and academic qualifications to:
Gareth Millar, Rugby Development Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org