Dublin University retained the Dudley Cup by beating arch rivals UCD 38-24, a second-minute Ronan Quinn try from a speedy counter attack setting them on their way in front of the College Park faithful.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE MEN’S DIVISION 1A: Saturday, October 8
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 38 UCD 24, College Park
Scorers: Dublin University: Tries: Ronan Quinn, Louis O’Reilly, Diarmuid McCormack, Ruadhan Byron, Thomas Connolly, Colm Hogan; Cons: Aran Egan 4
UCD: Tries: Sean O’Brien 2, Dylan O’Grady, Mark Fleming; Cons: Chris Cosgrave 2
HT: Dublin University 17 UCD 12
UCD’s Leinster Academy back rower Sean O’Brien touched down twice off the back of scrums, but the hosts proved too strong in what ended up being a six tries-to-four win for Tony Smeeth’s side.
Adding to Quinn’s early effort, Trinity captain Louis O’Reilly, Diarmuid McCormack, Ruadhan Byron, Thomas Connolly and Colm Hogan all crossed the whitewash. In-form out-half Aran Egan kicked four conversions.
It was O’Reilly’s quick tap that got UCD flanker Bill Burns sin-binned for not being back ten metres. Just moments later, Trinity countered from a kick, their backs exploiting space on the left where Quinn managed to scamper over in the corner.
Chris Cosgrave pushed a penalty wide from outside the 40-metre range, but it was his terrific touchfinder, on the back of a Tim Corkery interception, that drew College right up to the Trinity try-line for the first time.
Captain Bobby Sheehan went close from an overthrown lineout, before Lee Barron was yellow carded for a deliberate slap down. O’Brien thundered over from the resulting scrum, Cosgrave’s conversion edging UCD in front at 7-5.
Harry Sheridan and teenage prop Paddy McCarthy manned an aggressive defensive line for the home side, and a penalty reversal proved costly for UCD when they leaked a second try in the 17th minute.
Replacement hooker Jack Manzo broke from a well-set lineout maul and offloaded brilliantly for scrum half O’Reilly to cross in the right corner. Egan nailed the conversion for good measure.
A maul turnover and a scrum penalty landed UCD back in Trinity territory in the 25th minute. After Dylan O’Grady was hauled down short when they went wide, O’Brien was unstoppable again from a five-metre scrum to make it 12-all.
It was only level-pegging for a short while, as Egan’s clever chip-and-chase set up a gilt-edged lineout opportunity. Flanker McCormack duly burrowed over from a couple of metres out.
The Dudley Cup holders took a 17-12 lead into the second half, with a late bout of pressure – building through successive scrums – failing to produce a score, albeit that UCD flanker Mark Fleming saw yellow for side-entry.
McCormack, who spun out of a tackle, Hogan and McCarthy ensured Trinity were first to press on the restart. The forwards’ hard carrying sucked in defenders and number 8 Byron – well supported by Max Dunne – muscled over for a converted bonus point try.
Busy openside McCormack was sin-binned in the 53rd minute, and it was now end-to-end stuff. UCD’s Burns broke past halfway, only for Michael Moloney to drop the pass and Trinity countered with a James Dillon kick.
Corkery got back to cover for College, yet his subsequent clearance kick did not make much ground. The lineout ball was worked slightly infield for powerful tighthead Connolly to drive over in the 58th minute.
Into the final quarter, a couple of penalties, including one at scrum time, gave UCD a much-needed platform. O’Brien gained some hard-earned metres before Ben Brownlee’s deftly-executed pass had replacement James Tarrant almost over.
Trinity could not hold out any longer, with UCD moving the ball at pace off a close-in scrum. Full-back Harry Donnelly spun out of a tackle to send O’Grady over on the left. Cosgrave’s well-struck conversion closed the gap to 31-19.
Sheridan sprung through from a ruck to get Trinity motoring again. Egan nudged a penalty wide before centres Gavin Jones and Liam Turner combined to good effect, some spritely phases leading to Hogan edging in under the posts from a Cormac King pass.
It was a valiant effort from UCD and, past the 80-minute mark, they picked up their second bonus point of the campaign. Fleming scored from a well-executed lineout drive.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Colm Hogan; James Dillon, Liam Turner, Gavin Jones, Ronan Quinn; Aran Egan, Louis O’Reilly (capt); Paddy McCarthy, Lee Barron, Thomas Connolly, Harry Sheridan, Max Dunne, Anthony Ryan, Diarmuid McCormack, Ruadhan Byron.
Replacements: Jack Manzo, Cole Kelly, Stephen Woods, Aaron Coleman, Cormac King, Hugh O’Kennedy.
UCD: Harry Donnelly; Dylan O’Grady, David Ryan, Ben Brownlee, Chris Cosgrave; Tim Corkery, Michael Moloney; Hugo O’Malley, Bobby Sheehan (capt), Evin Coyle, Jonny Fish, Mark Morrissey, Bill Burns, Mark Fleming, Sean O’Brien.
Replacements: Killian McQuaid, Chris Hennessy, Gerry Hill, James Tarrant, Rob Gilsenan, Alex O’Grady.