Impressive UCD Clinch McCorry Cup Final
May 2, 2017 12:34 pm Marcus Ó Buachalla
Both teams came into this Charlie McCorry Cup Final with convincing semi-final wins. UCD saw off Navan 55-10 and Clontarf won 43-10 against Trinity. However it was UCD who picked up their first Under 20’s trophy since 2013 with this impressive and deserved victory on Sunday in Templeville Road.
The earlier winds had abated but the rain which fell throughout made for difficult ball-handling and early mistakes were plentiful. Determined to take the game to UCD, Clontarf started brightest and were full value for the ninth minute penalty given for an offside offence after a series of pick-and-go’s and slotted by centre Conor Jennings.
The UCD pack then began to assert their dominance ably led by hooker Matt O’Donovan, with Jack Regan, Ben Murray and Ronan Foley carrying and clearing out rucks to provide good quality ball for scrum-half Niall O’Neill.
The first try of the match came when O’Donovan carried from a line-out and following quick hands from out-half Ciaran Frawley and centre Gavin Mullin an overlap was created for winger Tim Carroll to crash over in the left corner. The try was converted by Frawley.
With the UCD back-row being kept on their toes by the busy Clontarf half-backs Andrew Feeney and Mark O’Sullivan it was left to UCD centres Colm Mulcahy, Gavin Mullin and full-back Tim Foley to thwart the threats posed by the Clontarf backs, in particular fleet-footed wingers Seni Reilly Ashiru and James O’Kane.
On 29 minutes UCD’s Frawley executed a beautifully weighted cross-field kick when spotting that the Clontarf cover had been sucked in centrally to defend. He picked out flanker Ben Murray who never broke stride for a corner touch-down and a 12-3 lead to UCD.
Frawley added a penalty (15-3) following a Clontarf yellow card for prop Geoff Chapman before Jennings reduced the lead with a 40th minute penalty for offside. That kick before the break left the scores at 15-6 to the students.
For the 10 minutes following the break, Clontarf produced their best rugby and strong carries from Dylan Murray, Hugh Fenlon and Michael Sweeney created opportunities for centre Sean O’Brien and winger O’Kane.
However, crucially, the UCD defence refused to be breached, the siege was lifted and when the ball was shifted downfield Clontarf were penalised for not releasing and Frawley popped over the 25 metre penalty.
On 55 minutes a 19-phase period of Clontarf pressure in the UCD 22 was brought to a halt when Feeney’s intended long skip-pass was brilliantly read by Frawley who raced the 80 metres with Ashiru gaining on him all the time but he touched down just as he was caught under the posts for a 25-6 lead.
As bodies tired and both coaches emptied their respective benches the game loosened up noticeably and Clontarf’s Dan McCaffrey burrowed over for a 73rd minute converted try to bring the scores to 25-13.
It was UCD though who finished off the scoring when, fittingly, the departing Jack Regan burst through the now-exhausted Clontarf cover and crashed over to leave the final score at 30-13 to UCD.
On behalf of his team College captain Niall O’Neill accepted the Cup from Leinster Vice-President Mr Niall Rynne.
The match was a fitting tribute to Leinster Under 20 age-grade rugby and referee Helen O’Reilly certainly added to the enjoyment of the game with her officiating.
Further images from the game can be found at sportsfile.com.