UCD 9 YOUNG MUNSTER 9, Belfield Bowl
Scorers: UCD: Pens: David Moran 3
Young Munster: Pens: Evan Cusack 3
HT: UCD 3 Young Munster 9
UCD and Young Munster could not be separated at a blustery Belfield Bowl as they played out a scrappy nine-all draw.
The boots of David Moran and Evan Cusack dominated proceedings with the young out-halves contributing three penalty goals each. The result keeps the students in the top four after the league’s opening four rounds.
It was an attritional contest with heavy rain teeming down throughout. Young Munster winger Luke Fitzgerald almost got on the end of a early grubber kick on the right flank, but it drifted beyond the end line.
Leinster’s Tommy O’Brien was part of a UCD back-three that stood firm despite the Cookies’ stranglehold on possession. Full-back Luke Maloney denied Munsters’ Evan O’Gorman a try when he won a foot race back to his own line, although an intense bout of pressure on the home defence saw them lose number 8 Stephen McVeigh to a 25th-minute sin-binning.
Cusack took on the straightforward penalty and gave the Limerick men a deserved lead. Much like Rugby World Cup winners South Africa, Munsters used their set piece dominance as a springboard towards success. Cusack split the posts for a 6-0 scoreline after another excellent scrum.
His reliable right boot delivered another three points, five minutes before half-time, but to UCD’s credit, they hit back in timely fashion. While they could not manufacture a try from a multi-phase move, a Moran penalty cut the gap to 9-3 at the break.
O’Brien’s influence on the left wing was beginning to increase and Andy Marks and Colm Mulcahy were linking up to good effect in midfield. The UCD forwards also stepped up by winning a turnover penalty in the 50th minute, allowing Moran to make it a three-point game.
The UCD number 10 brought them level on the hour mark, landing a very tricky strike from near the right touchline. All the momentum appeared to be with the home side, but a resilient Young Munster backed their scrum, defending close to their own line, and a hard-earned turnover saw them avert the danger.
The Kevin Croke-coached students had one final shot at the win from a last-gasp penalty on the halfway line. However, Moran’s long-range effort fell short and both sides had to be content with a share of the spoils. It ends the Cookies’ winless start to the season but they remain second from bottom in the table.
UCD: Luke Maloney; Jack Ringrose, Andy Marks, Colm Mulcahy, Tommy O’Brien; David Moran, Harry Donnelly; Emmet Burns, Sean McNulty, Evin Coyle, Cian Prendergast, Charlie Ryan, Jonny Guy (capt), Alex Penny, Stephen McVeigh.
Replacements: Richie Bergin, Rory Mulvihill, Lorcan Feighery, Patrick Patterson, Gavin Mullin.
YOUNG MUNSTER: Alan Tynan; Luke Fitzgerald, Harry Fleming, Evan O’Gorman, Keelan Stephenson; Evan Cusack, Charlie O’Doherty; Josh Wycherley, Mark O’Mara, Conor Bartley, Alan Kennedy (capt), John Foley, Jordan Stewart, Conor Mitchell, Gavin Coombes.
Replacements: Michael Doran, Paul Allen, Fintan Coleman, Craig O’Hanlon, Jack Lyons.