On a chilly grey afternoon, UCD took on Old Belvedere RFC in the UCD Bowl in a physical game, with UCD running out winners at a score line of 22-15.
UCD and Belvedere battled for possession in the opening 10 mins. Early UCD pressure looked like it was going to pay off. The home side were a couple yards out from the try-line but Belvo turned over possession, allowing some breathing space from an insurgent UCD side.
The UCD pressure kept on building in the opening minutes and it paid off. After 22 minutes, Richie Bergin scored beside the posts. James Tarrent converted the kick to make it 7-0 to the home side.
Only moments later, Belvo charged up the pitch with Dave Butler coming close, but the referee blew up for a knock-on and UCD breathed a sigh of relief.
Belvedere kept pushing for a response. However, UCD defence stayed strong and they forced a knock-on. UCD’s broken down scrum lead to a penalty for Belvo. The Penalty on the 22 was converted and Belvo bring the score to 7-3 with 8 minutes left until half-time.
UCD didn’t ball up after conceding the penalty, Going straight out on the attack before the break. UCD kept gaining yards in phases, but Belvo just about staved off pressure. However, Belvo were pulled back for a high-tackle close to their own try-line.
UCD’s scrum on the 5 was played out to Jamie Murphy who touched down in the corner. However, James Tarrent couldn’t convert a tough kick in the corner. UCD lead 12-3.
Just before half-time, James McKeown intercepted some nice UCD build up play to run most of the pitch and score. Belvo clawed the scores back to 12-8, with their conversion missed. Despite Belvo’s persistence to keep up, UCD pulled away once again after a penalty was scored on the stroke of half-time. UCD 15-8 Old Belvedere.
The second-half started with the same intensity that UCD finished out with. Belvo were let off the hook with UCD knocking-on at the line-out very close to the try-line. However, Belvedere began playing their way into the second-half with some lineouts right at the UCD 22, keeping the pressure on the home team. They couldn’t get past a tough UCD defence.
About 60 minutes in and the game remained 15-8, Belvedere were still finding it tough to get past a largely resilient UCD. However, David Butler carved through the UCD defence to score a brilliant try, leaving Leonard to convert right under the posts. 15 all with just over 15 minutes remaining.
It was neck and neck in the last 15 minutes, but UCD mounted pressure on Belvedere. Maloney forced through the Belvedere defence and scored the try and converted. 22-15 it was. The game was on a knife edge.
Old Belvedere didn’t go down without a fight, putting pressure on in the final stages of the match. But the story of the day was how well UCD have defended under pressure. They would not let Belvedere get any more points on the board.
The pressure was absorbed by the home side in the dying minutes. The final whistle went and UCD went on to win 22-15 against Old Belvedere.
Luke Murphy – Co-Editor