UCC claim losing bonus point
UCC enjoyed a pulsating start to life in Division 1A of the All-Ireland League on Saturday afternoon. They claimed a losing bonus point at the end of a high-scoring encounter with UCD in Belfield.
This game was always likely to be a baptism of fire for Brian Walsh’s men, despite the presence of former Munster star Cian Bohane at outside centre. The Dudley Cup was also on offer to the winners, and it was the hosts who broke the deadlock through full-back, Conall Doherty’s long-distance penalty.
UCC eventually scored, in the 24th minute, when a powerful Bohane break acted as the catalyst for Ryan Murphy to cross over in the left-corner.
A spectacular Taylor conversion subsequently moved them into a four-point lead, although it was short-lived. Hooker Sean McNulty touched down at the base of an incisive line-out maul to edge the south Dubliners ahead.
Following his successful bonus strike, the reliable Doherty added a stoppage-time penalty to give UCD a 13-7 interval buffer.
If there was a sense that the game was yet to catch fire, it came to life nine minutes after the resumption. The impressive Taylor jinked his way underneath the posts for a seven-point salvo, raising the possibility of a shock opening round result.
The response of their opponents was emphatic, though. Two tries in the space of five minutes, courtesy of Ronan Foley and Sam Griffin, put daylight between the teams.
Although UCC fired back with a five-pointer of their own, from lock Cian Barry, a UCD penalty try, inside the final-quarter, effectively placed the outcome beyond doubt. A Stephen McVeigh score stretched the home team’s cushion, before scrum-half John Poland responded at the opposite end to secure a much-deserved point in defeat for UCC.
Scorers for UCD: Sean McNulty, Ronan Foley, Sam Griffin, Stephen McVeigh try each, Penalty Try, Conall Doherty 3 cons, 2 pens.
Scorers for UCC: James Taylor try, 4 cons, Ryan Murphy, Cian Barry, John Poland try each.
UCD: Conall Doherty; Tim Carroll, Andy Marks, Paul Kiernan, Rob Keenan; Matt Gilsenan, Nick Peters; Sam Griffin, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland; Emmet MacMahon, Tom Treacy; Stephen McVeigh, Alex Penny, Ronan Foley.
Replacements: Richie Bergin, Evin Coyle, Jonny Guy, Tom Foley, Ian O’Kelly.
UCC: Richard Walsh; Adam O’Connor, Cian Bohane, Peter Sylvester, Murray Linn; James Taylor, John Poland; Cathal Dennehy, Travis Coomey, Bryan O’Connor; Mark Bissessar, Cian Barry; Darragh Moloney, Cian Fitzgerald, Ryan Murphy.
Replacements: Darragh Fitzgerald, Paidi McCarthy, Brian O’Mahony, Daire Feeney, Michael Clune.
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU).