UCD's New Zealand-born lock Richie Mandeno talks about losing the recent Colours match to Trinity and facing Terenure this weekend, in his latest diary installment.
"Firstly I would like to congratulate Trinity College for winning back the Colours in a hard fought match at Donnybrook last Friday week. I believe both teams had opportunities throughout the eighty minutes to win the game.
"But it was Trinity who were able to retain the ball for long periods in the second half, which placed enormous pressure on us and enabled Trinity to close out the match.
"This Saturday sees an important local derby between ourselves and Terenure College (Lakelands Park, 2.30pm) in Division One. The strong relationship between these two clubs goes further than just their close proximity on the map.
"The first team coach at UCD, Dara Rowley, grew up following Terenure and I'm sure he was as delighted as any of the 'Nure supporters to see them promoted into the top flight for this season.
"Terenure are fast growing a reputation for having a large solid pack - their forwards are very capable of walking teams backwards during countless mauls and close quarter forward play. This will mean the UCD forwards will need to be very aggressive up front so we can counter their somewhat larger pack and hopefully stop Terenure gaining easy yards.
...Mandeno takes on the Trinity defence during the recent Colours match at Donnybrook...
"Although facing Terenure is a huge challenge for us, it is one that I am personally looking forward to. This match is a big one for us, we need to get the season rolling and start putting some performances in on the field and hopefully some points on the table (UCD are currently 15th in the standings).
"This week, despite our less than spectacular start to the season, we have been training well and there is a hunger and an intensity that, at times this season, has not be evident during our league games.
"Losing our hooker and captain Conor Geoghegan, through injury in the Trinity game, has been a huge loss. Although there is no lack of natural leaders throughout the team, and I am sure whoever is selected in the front row to fill in for him can get the job done.
"This is the beginning of the second phase of the AIB League competition (we have three league matches in the lead-up to Christmas), and although we're taking it one match at a time, the team will be looking forward to a vast improvement on our first four outings.
"The two Dublin derby fixtures against 'Nure and then Blackrock at home next week (December 9) could prove to be important clashes, especially if we can lift ourselves out of the rut and the relegation zone, where we are at the moment."