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UCC Denied By Harlequins’ Second Half Comeback

UCC Denied By Harlequins’ Second Half Comeback

At the Mardyke, Belfast Harlequins got back to winning ways but were tested throughout by a young and talented UCC outfit.

The Ulster-capped Neil McComb, who was playing at number 8, struck for converted tries after 50 and 62 minutes to steer ‘Quins to a 23-20 comeback victory.

Luke Duffy and Brian Quill touched down in either half for the winless Cork students, who are struggling to get the results to match their efforts.

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UCC played some very good stuff in the opening 50 minutes, with Munster's Denis Hurley impressing at centre, but set piece issues and tired final quarter let them down.

The visitors took a third minute lead thanks to a penalty from scrum half Michael Heaney, but some patient build-up play set led to centre Duffy crossing the 'Quins whitewash at the midpoint of the first half.

Out-half Brian Kingston added the conversion and landed a late penalty to give UCC a 10-6 advantage at the break, cancelling out a three-pointer from Heaney in the 35th minute.

Conor Twomey's side tagged on a further seven points early in the second half, their hard-working lock Quill breaching the 'Quins defence from close range.

Heaney and Kingston then traded penalties but from then on, 'Quins managed to take control of the scoreboard. It was a character-building comeback from Adam Larkin's men, who had a storming performance from man-of-the-match McComb.

UCC had no response as the Belfast outfit held them at bay in the closing 20 minutes. Larkin's charges are now just a point behind fifth-placed Dungannon in the Division 1B table, while UCC's fifth defeat on the trot sees them slip to the bottom.

Referee: Eanna O'Dowd (IRFU)