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.