UCC Rugby top the pile after week 2 of AIL Div 1A

UCC Senior Rugby team remain top of the Energia All Ireland Division 1A league this week after a convincing win over Ballynahinch RFC in the Mardyke Sports Grounds on Saturday.

Following on from last weeks 30-20 win over Dublin University, the college side were determined to keep up the good start.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring with a penalty converted by Sean O’Hagan, with only 2minutes on the clock.   However, less than 10minutes later, continuous pressure from UCC resulted in UCC getting off the Mark.  Great work by John Hodnett to get the offload to allow hooker Fergus Hennessy to break.  With the ball recycled quickly, it allowed Murray Linn to go over the line and James Taylor duly converted the conversion.

Ballynahinch didn’t panic and chipped away at their own points with O’Hagan again converting a penalty to close the gap to 1point.   However, this was the last of the points for the visitors as UCC’s domination took over.

It took the Leesiders just short of half time to chalk up their try scoring bonus with Matthew Bowen, following great hands by Taylor, and new Australian flanker Rory Sutton.  Linn added his second and completed his hattrick of tries with a great line break by Cian Bohane, before passing to Linn to make it 22-6 going into the interval.

Into the second half and the tries kept coming giving Ballynahinch no chance of a comeback. UCC needed only seven minutes for Ryan Murphy, who came off the bench, to cross the whitewash, and at the other end, Brian McLaughlin’s men continued to be frustrated by the resolute home defence.

Walsh’s in-form charges reeled off two late tries – more good work by Hodnett preceded fellow back rower Daire Feeney’s drive over the line, and Murphy bagged a brace, profiting from a Cian Barry break to wrap up a runaway victory.

Meanwhile, out in Bishopstown, UCC U20’s began defence of the Donal Walsh Trophy against Shannon.   It was UCC quickest out of the blocks with two tries courtesy of Barry Ryan. A further three were scored without reply from Shannon to make it 25-0.  The only downside was UCC failing to convert all five.  Shannon gave themselves a lifeline, going over the line just before the half to make it 25-5 at halftime.

Into the second half and it was all Shannon early on with Ronan Barry stopping them short of the line.  However, moments later Shannon crossed over once again and converted the try to make it 25-12.  It was all Shannon now, another converted try made it 25-19 and you’d have been forgiven to think were UCC going to rue those missed conversions.  However, fear not, as Adam O’Connor and Louis Kahn linked up for great one-two and enables Ryan to force his way onto it to complete his hat-trick.  UCC never looked back from this moment on.  Shane O’Driscoll, Rory Duggan and Harry Jephson all looked strong in the scrum, and allowing UCC to kick to the corner.  This enabled UCC to push over the line for a final try to make the final score 37-19.