As the ref blew the final whistle to confirm that UCD retain the title of Colour’s champions for the fourth year in a row, the image of outside centre Roisin Crowe lying flat out as the celebrations began summed up the feelings of the Collidge squad..relieved, exhausted, but most of all elated. It was an utterly enthralling affair that certainly lived up to the hype and had supporters on the edge of their seats from the start, but the home side dug deep and battled fiercely to emerge victorious.
This was the first time the sides met since last year’s Colours fixture in which UCD were winners on a 39-0 score line in Trinity. This year’s game was always going to be a much tighter encounter, and in the end, the relentless UCD attack proved too much for Trinity. Tries in either half by number 8 Alice O’Dowd and 5 points from the boot of Christine Coffey secured the victory for the home side, playing in the UCD Bowl.
The opening minutes gave Trinity the chance to set their attack in motion, however they were quickly shut down when scrum half Aoife Byrne won a turnover penalty for UCD following a thumping tackle by Christine Coffey, the first of countless big hits the ever impressive inside centre would make during the match.
A combination of tricky weather conditions and swift defensive line speed by UCD forced multiple handling errors from Trinity, one of which led to Collidge’s first attacking chance of the game. The knock on was recovered by Roisin Crowe and a strong carry from flanker Emilie Dumon brought play to the Trinity 22. Blindside flanker Tess Meade ran a sharp line to collect the offload from out half Ali Coleman, but the final pass to winger Ray Lawless didn’t go to hand.
Scrums would play an important part in the game, with the forwards packing down more than 30 times in the 80 minutes. The UCD front row of Alix Cunneen, captain Sarah Glynn and Cara Donovan never faltered, providing a solid platform for the backs to launch their attack. A switch pass from Coleman to Coffey opened up space for Crowe to show her blistering pace, sprinting over the Trinity 22 before being brought down by the fullback.
The first try of the game came near the 15-minute mark when Alice O’Dowd picked from the back of a scrum and powered her way over the try line, three Trinity defenders unable to stop the explosive number 8. The conversion 5 metres in from the touchline was narrowly missed by Coffey, and UCD had a well-deserved 5-0 lead.
The next 20 minutes saw the game ebb and flow between the two 22s, neither team able to make any significant metres. UCD were happy to soak up the Trinity pressure, confident that their defence was rock solid with strong tackles by Glynn, second rows Ev Fenlon and Hannah Woods and prop Cara Donovan. On the rare occasion when Trinity did manage to break the line, cover tackles by winger Sarah Woodmartin and Aoife Byrne averted any real danger.
Again, it was the set piece that allowed UCD’s next meaningful attack to be set in motion. Coleman popped the ball off to fullback Aoife O’Shaughnessy who cut through the Trinity defence before being brought down near the opposition 22. The Collidge girls went in 8-0 leaders at half time- O’Dowd winning the turnover penalty in front of the posts which was slotted over byCoffey.
Neither side let the break halt their momentum, and the frantic pace continued from the restart. With the UCD defence refusing to let the opponents into their half, Trinity opted to kick for territory more often. This tactic wasn’t as effective as they’d hoped due to O’Shaughnessy’s expert fielding at fullback. UCD decided to take full advantage of their strong bench, with Clare Coombes, Meadhbh O’Callaghan, Emma Costello and Ali Norman all being introduced.
Trinity’s best attack of the match came mid-way through the second half, the visitor’s full back exploiting a gap in the UCD defence, making it over the 22 before the cover tackle by Crowe. Trinity let their forwards do the rest of the work, going through multiple phases and inching their way to the try line. UCD appeared to be off the hook when the ball was knocked on, but Trinity were awarded a penalty which was taken quickly and three phases later found themselves in for their first, and only, try of the game.
Now only a point ahead with 20 minutes to go, the Collidge girls stepped it up a gear yet again. They were dealt a blow soon after when Aoife Byrne was forced off, the scrum half having put in a first-class performance for UCD. Byrne’s high quality passing allowed UCD to maintain the intensity and keep Trinity on the back foot, and her cover tackles were crucial in shutting down the opponent’s attack. However, replacement Heather Cullen ensured UCD in no way suffered from Byrne’s departure, slotting seamlessly into the nine position.
UCD fought their way back into the Trinity half thanks to another carry from O’Dowd following a well worked move from Coleman and Lawless. Tess Meade was unlucky not to extend Collidge’s lead when she was held up over the line, but UCD didn’t have to wait long to put more points on the board. The Trinity defence once again found themselves unable to deal with the strength and power of O’Dowd, and the number 8 got her second try of the day. The initial carry off the scrum was made by Coleman, who was inches from scoring herself, beating five defenders in the process. The conversion was vital, as it meant Trinity needed two scores with less than 10 minutes remaining, and sure enough Coffey delivered, leaving it 15-7 to UCD.
The home side emptied the bench soon after, Sinead Gallagher, Anna Potterton and Orla Hanlon all on for the closing minutes. Determined to keep Trinity in their own half, Colemancleverly kicked in behind the defensive line. But the kick is only as good as the chase, and great pressure and tackles from Lawless and Coffey forced the knock on from Trinity, relieving some of the pressure.
The final minutes were all Trinity, the away side looking to have the last word. But the UCD defence stood strong, forced the knock on and Coleman kicked to touch, letting the celebrations begin. Coleman was deservedly chosen as Player of the Match, having put in an outstanding effort in both attack and defence and expertly controlled the game from out half.
It was a mammoth performance by the entire UCD squad, one that the girls and coaches David Dunne, Alice O’Callaghan, Ultan McAdam and Jack O’Dea have been working tirelessly towards all year. Their determination and spirit were evident from the off, making it a fitting farewell for captain Sarah Glynn and Emilie Dumon, both of whom were playing their final game for UCD. And what a game it was!
UCD 1. Alix Cunneen 2. Sarah Glynn (C) 3. Cara Donovan 4.Ev Fenlon 5. Hannah Woods 6. Emilie Dumon 7. Tess Meade 8. Alice O’Dowd 9. Aoife Byrne 10. Ali Coleman 11. Ray Lawless 12. Christine Coffey 13. Roisin Crowe 14. Sarah Woodmartin 15. Aoife O’Shaughnessy 16.Meadhbh O’Callaghan 17. Clare Coombes 18. Sinead Gallagher 19. Emma Costello 20. Orla Hanlon 21. Heather Cullen 22. Ali Norman 23. Anna Potterton
Collidge overcame Blackrock College in their re-fixed JP Fanagan League fixture on Monday night. The original fixture had been abandoned due to an unplayable pitch two weeks ago with Collidge 14 points up after 15 minutes.
Collidge began where they left off and went ahead early thanks to tries from James Tarrant, Alex O’Grady and Dan ‘I’ll volley that’ O’Donovan. Tarrant produced a masterclass in dealing with the strong wind in terms of how he got the team moving and his varied kicking game had Rock in trouble on numerous occasions
Tarrant was ably supported by Mark Fleming, and ex Rock pupils Sean Molony, John Fairley, Harry Donnelly and Cian Reilly. Harry’s physicality and speed negated the loss of Ross ‘I’m out today’ Deegan who was unable to play as he had to work on his matador skills for his summer appearances in the Costa Del Sol bull rings. In his post-match interview Donnelly confirmed his recent speed work running away from bouncers in Ranelagh had really borne fruit in his recent run of good form. Collidge had the bonus point in the bag after 30 minutes with a further Chris Egan try. Rock had their best period of the match for the last ten minutes of the first half when they managed to get their only score of the match right on half time.
A strong second half saw Collidge pull away further and saw A team debuts for Tadhg Murtagh and Jack Sargent who both acquitted themselves very well. Murtagh rounded off his debut with a well taken try in the second half. Playing into the clubhouse end of the ground in the second half where the injured Jay Barron had sought sanctuary to protect his footwear and hair unlike other non-playing squad members Bobby Sheehan, David Moran and Charlie Byrne who braved the conditions to sit on the bench (although the rumour is they just wanted some of the sweets that were being passed around on the bench). Barron was kept company in the bar by ex Collidge man Michael Corcoran who was glad that his 23 day return to play period had not elapsed in time for this match.
Unlike Ireland at the weekend the replacements were able to maintain the tempo and performance level that had been established earlier in the match especially from JJ Landers who is now the official agent for Scott Penny. Any enquiries for product endorsements for Scott, personal appearances etc should be directed to JJL@ilovespenny.ie Penny apparently chose JJ to be his agent thanks to their historically close relationship which goes back a few days.
The 20’s now have a week off this week before they face into their final league match against league winners Clontarf on March 24th in Belfield.
A big thank you to Niall McNeill for covering as physio and Kevin Croke for stepping into John Hammond’s slippers as team manager for the night and for the Rock video man who was unable to use the complex video camera used on the night!
Tuesday, November 20th 2018
Student Sport Ireland/IRFU Women’s Rugby League UCD 29 UL 15 (away)
UCD travelled to Limerick in the freezing elements to take on UL, last year’s league champions.
With UCD receiving, Alice O’Dowd quickly got the match underway with a fantastic carry well into the UL half. The pressure kept coming with phase play off forwards ball however just as the backline were set to attack, UCD were penalised at the breakdown.It didn’t take long for UCD to pile back on the pressure with dominant carries from No.8 Siobhan Tangney and flanker Sinead Gallagher putting the girls in a great attacking position. Winger Ali Coleman was first to cross the line. (5-0)
Following from this came a period of very stop-start play with both teams forcing penalties and turnovers much to their frustration. Scrumhalf Heather Cullen slowed play and displayed an excellent box kick putting UCD deep into the UL 22. From this position UCD were dominant in set plays and won the ball leading to Alice O’Dowd crossing the line. Christine Coffey added the extras (12-0).
UL were quick to bounce back showing UCD why they are the defending champions and managed to cross the line with an advantage play after UCD infringed at the breakdown again. (12-5)
Positive UCD defence proved imperative with Christine Coffey and Ali Coleman linking up in the backline to destroy the UL attack, keeping them back in their own half.
In the worsening wind, UCD were penalised for a crooked throw and UL quickly capitalised crossing the whitewash for the second time. (12-10)
Half time UCD 12-10 UL.
After a tiring period of defensive effort in the second quarter which led to the home side
getting in two unconverted tries, UCD led heading into the second half, determined to hold onto their lead with wise words from captain Sarah Glynn to give a big performance with an emphasis on discipline and defence.
Unwilling to let the UL Wolves claw their way back into the game, the girls in blue dug deep and showed their grit, determination and quality.
Several turnovers at crucial moments, including an excellent line out steal from ClareCoombes, and a well-timed intercept from Ev Fenlon ensured from the offset, UL never gained momentum.
A moment of indiscipline saw a penalty come UCD ‘s way which scrumhalf extraordinaireHeather Cullen quickly and intelligently capitalised on, floating a pass into the hands ofAlice O Dowd as the UL defensive line scrambled to reorganise themselves, allowing her to crash in over the line. (19-10)
Now joined on the pitch by Ray ‘Speedy’ Lawless replacing Ali Norman who put in a huge shift on the wing, UCD went hunting another score. Strong carries from Alix ‘the tank’ Cunneen and Hannah Woods who has recently returned from injury, saw the UL defence sucked in. A fantastic passage of play saw Ev Fenlon fancily offload toO’Dowd, who in turn flung it out to speedster Ray Lawless, recently returned fromrepresenting Ireland in the Tag World Cup in Australia. Lawless however was unluckily
caught just before the try line, but not to fear, Nikki ‘beef and lamb’ Kennedy was on hand and dotted down beyond the line, a great end to a short but distinguished career in Collidge blue. (25-10) Best of luck to Nikki as she heads back to New Zealand.
UL however came back with a vengeance and crossed the white wash once more, leaving the score at 24-15 with 20 minutes to go. An excellent defensive effort ensured this wasUL’s final score with Munster warriors Christine ‘Shoulders’ Coffey and Aoife ‘Shocks’O’Shaughnessy deserving notable mentions for their savage tackle efforts. Ali Colemanadded another try to her first half effort, leaving the final score at 29-15.
A brilliant day for UCD Women’s Rugby to go down to Limerick and get such an empathicwin, and a great end to our Semester 1 campaign. The focus now turns to our cupcompetition as we seek to firmly establish our status as a dominant force in college rugby.
Many thanks to all our wonderful players, coaches and supporters this semester, best of luck in exams #ADASTRA
Alice O Dowd
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