Post-Match Reaction: All-Ireland League Division 1A – UCC Head Coach Brian Walsh – October 9 2018

Walsh frustrated by aspects of UCC’s performance


Daire Walsh

UCC head coach Brian Walsh admitted a level of frustration at Belfield on Saturday, despite seeing his side claim a bonus point in a 39-28 defeat to UCD on their Division 1A debut.

Even though tries by Ryan Murphy, James Taylor, Cian Barry and John Poland ensured the Leesiders didn’t come away empty-handed, Walsh acknowledged they fell down in some crucial areas.

“I think we’re playing a good brand of rugby. We have some good players playing it and it’s a good platform for them to showcase what they do to a certain extent. The lads enjoyed playing the game, put good pace on the ball,” the former Munster coach stated.

“There’d be other aspects that we’d be disappointed with today, in terms of our energy.

“I just thought we dropped off the pace once or twice and got punished badly for it. It’s a new experience for this group.

“They’re very young. A lot of guys playing just out of school, but it’s great to see them competing at this level.”

With 30 minutes remaining on the clock, Taylor’s seven-point salvo helped UCC to establish a slender advantage (14-13). While they were eventually taught some harsh lessons by their college rivals, Walsh felt the visitors showed real fight in the closing stages of an absorbing contest.

“It was obviously our first game in Division 1A. I think we were well in the game and maybe had our opportunities.

“We didn’t take a few in the first half. Went behind, got back in front. Just one or two missed tackles, against a good UCD side, and they put us away. Maybe the physicality at times we struggled with.

“I thought overall it was a good performance. We showed good fight to come back and pick up a bonus point. We’ll score plenty of points. The key for us is, we don’t need to be conceding five, six tries.”

It will prove to be a hectic October for UCC, as they aim to find their feet in the top-tier of Irish domestic rugby. Next up is a mouthwatering local derby at the Mardyke on Friday night against Cork Constitution, who recorded a comprehensive 27-7 opening round victory over Shannon.

“Six-day turnaround, playing Con next Friday night. Hopefully we can get a good side out and have a good rattle off it,” Walsh said.

“A Cork derby is always a big attraction down the Mardyke. College and Con haven’t played in a league derby, I’d say, ever.

“Certainly not in the last 17 years or so. It will be a good occasion.”

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