UCC had six opportunities to unleash their famous ‘Ta Rax’ victory cry during the 2018-19 All-Ireland League season. Four of them were on the way to finishing 8th in Division 1A. Two more ensured they’d be in 1A again next season after hard fought wins against Malone and Old Wesley.
Old Wesley were defeated 41-19 in impressive style, but there there was a prevailing emotion in their final ‘Ta Rax’ of the season – “Relief” according to captain Cian Bohane.
“We’d know Wesley from Division 1B last year as well having played them in two very close games,” he said after the game. “They’re an incredibly good footballing side. They throw the ball around a lot and the season they’ve had – they were unlucky. They could have won the league.”
Old Wesley will look back on a campaign where they let automatic promotion from Division 1B slip out of their hands in the penultimate round of the league.
UCC can look forward to a second ever campaign in Division 1A, a place where Bohane feels they belong.
“I do genuinely believe we garnered a lot of respect throughout the season from teams through our performances. Were we unlucky to be in the playoffs? Yeah.”
UCC were consigned to 8th place after a 20-20 draw with UCD on the last day of the season, although Terenure College’s recovery from what seemed like certain relegation is the real story there.
“I think we have proven that we do deserve to be in 1A. We’re good enough and it’s just about us building towards next season now.”
Dublin University reached the Division 1A Semi-Finals for the first time this season. Fellow students UCD have been there before and Bohane believes the time can come where UCC are challenging for honours at the very top tier of club rugby in Ireland.
“We’ve a lot of fresh faces in the team – lads just out of school. When they get the experience of a full season in 1A under their belt, depending how recruitment goes and our training over the summer, I can’t see any reason why this group can’t be pushing for playoff places.”