After picking up a losing bonus point at Shannon, UCD handed new director of rugby and head coach Emmet MacMahon his first Division 1A victory as they gave arch rivals Dublin University a 35-8 beating in Belfield.
ENERGIA ALL-IRELAND LEAGUE MEN’S DIVISION 1A:
Friday, October 13 –
UCD 35 DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 8, UCD Bowl
Scorers: UCD: Tries: Ross Deegan 2, Michael Colreavy, Chris Cosgrave; Cons: Michael Moloney 3; Pens: Michael Moloney 3
Dublin University: Try: Taylor Gleeson; Pen: Harry Colbert
HT: UCD 18 Dublin University 3
Winger Ross Deegan weighed in with a brace of tries, with Michael Moloney kicking the other points, as MacMahon’s charges built an 18-3 half-time lead without really hitting top gear.
Having given Clontarf a testing opener, Dublin University dug deep in search for tries but UCD kicked on with replacement Michael Colreavy and Chris Cosgrave – one of four Leinster Academy players in the starting XV – ultimately giving them a bonus point haul.
Goal-kicking scrum half Moloney also impressed from the tee, his 15 points adding to the seven he kicked in Limerick last Saturday afternoon.
This inexperienced Trinity squad’s only consolation was a 77th-minute unconverted score from Taylor Gleeson, who unfortunately had to go off injured before the end.
The visitors endured a nightmare start, leaking a try to Deegan after just 30 seconds. Full-back Gleeson misjudged a Moloney box kick and the ball ricocheted into the path of the UCD right winger who deftly dribbled the ball on and won the foot race to score in the corner.
James Dillon chopped down Andrew Osborne much to the delight of the Trinity support, before Osborne hit back for the hosts with a big tackle on his Ireland Under-20 team-mate Oscar Cawley.
Colbert left-footed a seventh-minute penalty through the posts, closing the gap to 5-3 after a good maul, controlled by Zach Baird, has seen Tony Smeeth’s youngsters work the ball infield and build some phases.
A crisply-struck three-pointer opened Moloney’s account soon after, and he added another to reward a 17th-minute UCD scrum penalty which saw tighthead Evin Coyle get the plaudits.
Smeeth’s side drew encouragement from a Kev Jackson penalty at the breakdown, along with a Cosgrave kick that went out on the full and two subsequent penalty decisions that went their way.
However, an interception by the ever-alert Moloney put UCD right back into scoring range. Their forwards chipped away from a maul before good distribution from the backs created an opening for Deegan to step inside Gleeson and score again in the same corner.
The remainder of the first half was played either side of the halfway line. Jackson and Baird combined well to win another turnover penalty for Trinity, while scrum half Cawley had a ground-gaining snipe from deep and UCD kicked well in response, through Wilhelm de Klerk.
Into the second half, Trinity’s new South African lock Juan Beukes burst through midfield and had hooker Baird been able to stay on his feet at an advancing maul, they may well have been rewarded with an early try.
Instead, UCD were able to weather a bit of third-quarter storm during which the visitors dominated territory. Mark Morrissey stole a crucial lineout, five metres out, just as Trinity looked to their pack to reduce the arrears.
De Klerk then saw yellow for a high tackle on Dillon, a card that was coming given the growing number of penalties conceded by UCD. Nonetheless, the home side won back a large chunk of territory thanks to their disrupting of a lineout and captain Bobby Sheehan’s big boot downfield.
UCD replacement Rob Gilsenan drew a penalty, allowing Moloney to make it 21-3 on the hour mark. Luck was not on Trinity’s side again when they were pinged for obstruction at a maul, and it was 14 against 14 after Cawley was sin-binned for what was deemed a deliberate knock-on.
UCD were quick to punish Cawley’s infringement, using the resulting lineout to score the try of the night and effectively put themselves out of reach.
A short lineout move involving Sheehan and Gilsenan sparked a break up into the Trinity 22, and the latter looped a pass back inside for Colreavy to finish powerfully by fending off the cover.
Following Moloney’s curling conversion from the right, a well-won Louis McDonough penalty lifted Trinity. His centre partner Jules Fenelon broke a tackle in midfield before replacement Hugh O’Kennedy’s long pass set up Gleeson to go over untouched from eight metres out.
There was still enough time for UCD to top off their performance with a bonus point try. Their persistence paid off when centre Cosgrave stepped inside two defenders to touch down to the left of the posts, with Moloney converting with the last kick.
UCD: Harry Donnelly; Ross Deegan, Chris Cosgrave, David Ryan, Andrew Osborne; Wilhelm de Klerk, Michael Moloney; Hugo O’Malley, Bobby Sheehan (capt), Evin Coyle, Conor O’Tighearnaigh, Mark Morrissey, Mark Hernan, Oisin Spain, Diarmuid Mangan.
Replacements: Lucas Maguire, Sean Egan, Gerry Hill, Michael Colreavy, Rob Gilsenan, Tim Corkery.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Taylor Gleeson; James Dillon, Jules Fenelon, Louis McDonough, Will Twomey; Harry Colbert, Oscar Cawley; Jerry Cahir, Zach Baird, Thomas Connolly, Dan Barron, Juan Beukes, Anthony Ryan, Kev Jackson, Diarmuid McCormack (capt).
Replacements: Conall Henchy, Cole Kelly, Jack Kearney, Dylan Ryan, Liam Nolan, Hugh O’Kennedy.