UUC RFC Of To Winning Ways (Sat. 24-09-10)
A new season and a new squad at UUC welcomed Letterkenny to the Dr Sam Logan Stadium for their first outing of the season, UUC run out 34-10 victors. The game was generously sponsored by Taffs Invincibles Ltd.
Choosing to Play into the strong wind in the first half the students received the kick off which was well fielded by hooker Marty O’Neill, the early exchanges were evenly contested at a very high tempo as both team tested the defences with the students full of endeavour in their attempts to run the ball wide at every opportunity and Letterkenny playing territorial game trying to take advantage of the elements with classic up and under kicks, however the excellent uni back three of Rowden, Hall and fresher Lee Johnston dealt comfortably with all thrown at them, but neither team really looked like making a significant scoring opportunity brake.
The game very much came to life twenty minutes into the game when the University Skipper was harshly sin binned for what the ref deemed a dangerous tackle; he was quickly joined in the bin for verbal indiscipline by out half Whit croft. Letterkenny immediately went on the attack but a mixture of tactical naivety and heroic defence by forwards Dave Coaches, Danny Morgan, James Henley, Marty O’Neill, Aaron Doherty and Darren Leonard who repelled wave after wave of attacks on their goal line fortified with immense discipline led by the tactical know how from Wilkinson, Winder and Vice Capt. Lee Murphy in particular, saw Letterkenny only score a penalty as the two binned players re-joined the play.
The Students started to set patterns as the Donegal men lost tempo, quick ball created from line outs won by Aaron Doherty and some excellent cutting lines from the centre partnership of Hill and Winder started to create space and just before the break some excellent inter passing at real pace saw Rowden put Hall away, with work still to do he outpaced the cover defence and side stepped the full back to score a deserved try, which was duly converted to give the home team a 7 – 3 lead at the break.
Now with the elements in their favour playing towards Starke park end and continuing the patterns which created good possession the next twenty minutes saw the students score 3 excellent trys, fast ball was well distributed by Whitcroft to forwards and backs a like with some excellent running off the ball created the space to put Rowden in for a try. From the restart that did not travel the required 10 meters A solid scrum gave Lee Murphy space to attack and sharp hands created space for Hall on the left, Letterkenny for all their hard graft did not have the pace or defence to deal with Hall in full flight as he scored his second try of the game. Next it was the turn of the industrious Lee Johnston who had worked his socks off all day to take his chance and with some very skill full handling scored in the corner on his debut, securing the all-important bonus point. Shortly after a turn over forced by an excellent tackle by J Henley followed by great work on the ground by Aaron Doherty saw Whit croft drop goal from 40m put the students out of sight.
The students going into the last quarter started to show signs of fatigue and lost concentration, to there credit this allowed Letterkenny to very much come back into the game and the University again found themselves defending their line time and time again with discipline, eventually the visitors forced over the goal line for a deserved try to reward their efforts.
Towards the finish the home team made good ground deep into their opponents 22 and forced a five meter scrum, Letterkenny could not deal with the forceful student 8 and a following penalty saw a re-set of the scrum and the home pack drove as one to push over with skipper Mike Dunlevey touch down, to the satisfaction of forward coach Campbell, the conversion being missed, just before the final whistle. The large crowd was well entertained and a presentation after the game saw Callum Rowden the big Blackrock second row being named man of the match.