UCD 24 Tallaght 1st 52

Adam Nolan makes a break

U.C.D. R.F.C. 24

Tallaght 1st R.F.C. 52

Tries: Adam Nolan, Joe Ivers, Simon Collie, Aaron Shanahan 2, David Clarke, Rob Hudson, Andy Rudd
Con: Adam Nolan 3, Rob Hudson 3

Metro League Division 7
Belfield
24/03/2018

Tallaght travelled to Belfield for their second last scheduled league game of the season. After the draw against Old Wesley the last time out, Tallaght’s position was clear. They needed to win their last two games against UCD and Seapoint, denying Seapoint a losing bonus point in the process. So first up was UCD, who were playing their last league game of the season in which they finished fourth in the table.

The match began with a minute’s silence to mark the passing of Derek Caswell, brother of Tallaght player Andrew. Traditionally Tallaght have started slowly in their recent games against UCD but this time they were on the ball from the start and after Simon Collie made the initial break, Adam Nolan sped away for the opening try of the match. Nolan converted his own try to make it 7-0 to Tallaght. Tallaght were soon back in the UCD half and from a lineout near the five metre line, the pack picked and drove repeatedly until Joe Ivers got over for the try which Nolan converted to make it 14-0.

The game was being played at a frenetic pass and straight from the restart Nolan’s lofted pass to the backline was picked off by UCD for an intercept try to make it 14-7.  This began a strong spell for UCD but led by the physicality of Jack Russell and Daniel Pomares, the defence stood tall and Alan Sower made a key turnover to get Tallaght the ball back. The scrum was also dominant with Andrew Caswell giving the UCD loosehead a torrid time. It wasn’t long before Tallaght were on the scoresheet again and centres Padhraig Jones and Ciaran Rudd combined well to put full back Simon Collie away and though he was partially tackled close to the line, he was able to get up and get over for the try which Nolan converted to make it 21-7.

Straight from the kick-off Tallaght scored again in a rather bizarre manner. Daniel Pomares had taken the kick-off and ran it back strongly to set up a good position to clear the lines but Nolan’s kick was charged down by UCD. However the ball ricocheted from the block-down straight into the hands of Aaron Shanahan who didn’t hesitate and just took off running from inside his own twenty two. He beat the UCD winger on the outside and just kept going for an outstanding individual try. Nolan’s conversion attempt hit the post but Tallaght were comfortable with a 26-7 lead at half-time.

Tallaght started strongly again but Daniel Pomares’s physicality got him in trouble with the referee. After being fortunate to escape a card for a high tackle straight from the restart, he did get a yellow card when his knee accidentally struck the head of a UCD player who was getting up as Pomares entered the ruck. Despite that setback Tallaght kept playing positive rugby and Ciaran Rudd made two big breaks in the move that ended with Nolan putting Aaron Shanahan away for his second try of the match in the corner to make it 31-7.

UCD hit back with a good try in the corner to make it 31-12 but Tallaght responded with another score when out-half Dave Clarke backed himself from a scrum and broke through to score a try. Replacement winger Rob Hudson took over kicking duties to knock over the conversion to make it 38-12 with twenty minutes to go. Tallaght looked set to cruise away to victory but on a sunny day on the artificial surface, they started to tire and things began to unravel. To their credit UCD never stopped trying and their nine, ten and twelve combination were causing the Tallaght midfield defence problems all day. They began to exploit the gaps better and they scored two tries to make it 38-24 with ten minutes to go.

Tallaght started to panic a little bit and started giving away silly penalties as UCD were suddenly within two scores of them in a game that should have been all but over. UCD’s tails were up and they looked set to score in the corner again but Rob Hudson did a lovely impersonation of Jacob Stockdale and intercepted the pass to race away for a try under the posts to seal the game. Hudson converted his own try and was on target again when Jack Russell offloaded to Andy Rudd for the final try of the match to make the final score 52-24.

Head coach Tom Leigh was delighted with the win but said work was needed. “First off we did what we came here to do, which was to win. Secondly we played some outstanding rugby at times, scored eight tries and all of our squad made a big contribution to the win. However there are things we need to work on in our defensive line and especially at the breakdown. We also have to work on the mental side of the game as it’s not the first time this season where we’ve run up a big lead and then lost focus and let the opposition back into it. We also have to stay positive when things go wrong, we did that against Wesley and we’ll need to do that next week against Seapoint if we are to beat them by eight points or more and take our place in the final.”

“In terms of individuals, they are almost too many to mention. Our front five was excellent and gave our backrow and our halfbacks a platform to run the show. Our outside backs were all in form too and Rob Hudson made a key contribution off the bench. Two players I would like to mention though are Daniel Pomares, who had his best game yet for the club and our second row Joe Ivers. Joe is our most senior player and one of our unsung heroes but he sets an example for the younger lads with his relentless work-rate. His ball-carrying was immense today and he also terrorised the UCD lineout. He even got a try which is his first one for a number of years to cap off an immense all-round performance.

“We look to have a full squad to select from for next week and the level of performance from everyone will make that selection very difficult which is the best problem any coach can have. We know we have the game to beat Seapoint by the margin required, we just need to go out and execute the gameplan calmly and with positivity. If we do that, we’ll get the job done”.

 

Man of the match: Joe Ivers

 

Tallaght 1sts

15. Simon Collie
14. Aaron Shanahan
13. Ciaran Rudd
12. Padhraig Jones
11. Karl Segrave
10. David Clarke
9. Andy Rudd

1. Alan Sower
2. Ken McGovern
3. Andy Caswell
4. Joe Ivers
5. Paul Cunningham
6. Jack Russell (Captain)
7. Daniel Pomares
8. Adam Nolan

Replacements:

16. Rob Hudson
17. Tony McManus
18. Mark Keogh
19. Andrew Grace
20. Aaron Morgan

 

Report: Jim O’Connor
Photos: Anne Kavanagh

Paul Cunningham puts Simon Collie away
Dave Clarke gets a pass away

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