Rugby: Match Report UCC Seniors vs Naas RFC

NAAS 5 UCC 13, Forenaughts
Scorers: Naas: Try: Stephen Kinneavy
UCC: Try: John Hodnett; Con: James Taylor; Pens: James Taylor 2

HT: Naas 5 UCC 7

James Taylor was the toast of UCC after his brace of second half penalties steered the students past Naas on a 13-5 scoreline at Forenaughts.

Brian Walsh’s young charges put a three-match winless run behind them to break their duck in Division 1B for this season, rising to sixth place in the process. They were the better team over the course of the 80 minutes.

UCC were made to sweat early on as Johne Murphy’s Naas, disappointed to lose a high-scoring clash with Banbridge last Saturday afternoon, got off to a business-like start on home soil.

Lock Stephen Kinneavy’s 10th-minute try, with out-half Murphy beating two defenders in the build-up, was the game’s only score until UCC nipped ahead just three minutes before half-time. Pressure from the pack, who were held up at a maul, yielded a try for flanker John Hodnett, who took the scoring pass after Ryan Murphy had attacked off the base of a five-metre scrum. Taylor added the extras for a 7-5 scoreline.

The Cork side’s loose forward trio of Hodnett, Daire Feeney and number 8 Murphy worked their collective socks off, particularly in defence where they were able to shut down Naas and they used the solid foundations of their scrum and lineout as attacking platforms.

Murphy’s men were outplayed and either missing the final pass or taking the wrong option, with UCC’s confidence growing as the second half wore on. The visitors could have been further in front by the finish, winger Shane McAuliffe nearly scoring in the corner before Taylor was wide with a drop goal attempt.

In the end, Taylor emerged as the match winner thanks to two surefooted kicks after 49 and 79 minutes, which moved them more than a converted score ahead and Naas, who have fallen two places to fourth, were unable to respond.

UCC: Alex Molloy; Kevin Slater, Cian Bohane, Murray Linn, Shane McAuliffe; James Taylor, John Poland; Shane O’Hanlon, Tadhg McCarthy, Rob O’Donovan, Cian Barry, Ben Mitchell, John Hodnett, Daire Feeney, Ryan Murphy.

Replacements: James French, Brian O’Mahony, Cian Fitzgerald, James Kiernan, Richard Walsh.