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Terenure College RFC vs University College Dublin RFC

U20s McCorry Cup – Saturday 27 April 2024

Energia Park

Terenure College made it 3 from 3 in their matches with UCD this season to add only their 4th McCorry Cup in the Club’s history on a sun soaked Saturday evening in Energia Park. This would be a game for the ages, producing 10 try’s and over 70 points combined. It was a fantastic game of open rugby that ended with a single conversion separating the sides, which itself was only decided by the width of the post.

Sponsors of the U20s Squad

Terenure College started with real intent and opened the scores after only a few minutes with a penalty from the boot of Harvey O’Leary who was returning to the starting 10 position after a knee injury to his cousin Jim Kennedy in the semi-final.

Terenure College came back again straight away and looked to probe in the middle before striking out wide.  Twice in the first 20 minutes it looked like the Nure boys had good scoring opportunities, but they failed to convert.  Soon after UCD got into their stride and started to gain field position.  They looked to take it through their pack with big carries and were rewarded with their first try close to the posts by hooker Lucas Maguire, which was easily converted by out-half Jeff Williams.

Back came UCD again, and again they looked to their pack.  They soon crossed the line again, but this time Terenure’s defence was able to hold them up over the line.  UCD kept the pressure on and a classy break by Williams took them back deep into Terenure territory, but a knock on foiled their attack.  Again UCD attacked, and from an untidy scrum Williams looked to have no options, but he switched to the blind side and found a large gap to slip through for a try, which he converted to take the scores to 14-3 before half time arrived to give us all time to catch our breadths.

The second half started much like the first ended, with UCD taking control.  They gradually gained ground until a scrum penalty allowed them widen their advantage by another 3 points from the reliable boot of Williams.  At 17-3 it was not looking great for Terenure, but this team are made of sterner stuff, and their big forwards started to up the work rate and put UCD under some pressure for a change.

Big carries from Captain Oisín Shannon and his second row partner Kieran Kelly, along with the hard working back row, started to create chances for the backs. Terenure’s patience was paying off and they worked their way gradually deep into UCD territory.  From a penalty they went to the left corner and from the ensuing lineout maul they darted blind with a pass to Jack Grimes who put left wing Oscar Morgan in for a try. O’Leary slotted a perfect conversion from the touchline to bring the scores back to 17-10.

This game offered a rare start for the antipodean Morgan who had a fantastic game on the left wing.  His footwork invariably found him space and extra time to keep the ball alive and gain ground.  From one of his carries down the left Terenure recycled and a lovely chip kick from inside centre Grimes over the heads of the onrushing UCD defence bounced into the open backfield.  O’Leary was ready and chased hard to gather and take Terenure into the UCD 22.  A quick recycle again found Grimes who raced across field and gave a lovely weighted pass to right winger James Clarke who raced across the line for Terenure’s second try.  As the commentator Tommy Lyster said, “Boom – game on!”  O’Leary slotted the conversion 8 meters in from the right side line to make the scores level at 17-17.

The game was certainly on, and UCD responded.  They worked the ball up field and their pack started to crank up the pressure.  Eventually they forced their way over for a try wide on the left.  Williams’ conversion struck the upright and bounced wide – who knew this would be the difference.

Again UCD came, with a stunning counterattack from full back Eoghan Walsh, from deep in his own 22 to deep into Terenure’s 22.  A desperate tackle from Ultan Byrne eventually taking him to ground, and after a quick recycle and passing to the right wing Terenure scrumhalf Peter MacNamara made a momentous jackal to turn the ball over.  Soon Terenure were on the attack themselves.  From a scrum outside centre Fintan Dignam made a stunning break from inside his own 22, and raced clear downfield.  A knock-on soon after foiled this attack, but it didn’t dampen Terenure’s desire to fight, and they were soon on the attack again.

Both teams started to make changes.  Ireland U20 prop Andrew Sparrow was on for UCD, while Terenure’s hard working front row of Alex Cashman, Michael Murphy and Tim Staunton made way for Matthew Lydon, Keith Byrne and Joe Lockhart respectively.  The Terenure forwards kept up the work rate and continued to make ground.  Again Terenure worked their way deep into UCD territory and attacked with a lineout maul on the right.  Replacement hooker Byrne tried to squeeze over in the corner but was stopped inches short, injuring his shoulder in the process.  UCD’s defence was narrow and Terenure’s backs exploited the weakness, moving the ball quickly left through the hands to James Clarke who had worked hard to get to the other wing, and he took the final pass to score.  Again O’Leary converted from the left touchline to keep his 100% record intact and move Terenure back into a 24-22 lead.

From the kick off Terenure recycled and O’Leary cleared back over half way.  UCD tried to counter back into the Nure half but a strip from Ultan Byrne was followed by a lung busting 15 meter carry from Lydon.  Grimes stepped in to first receiver and fed O’Leary who gave a lightning 25 meter pass to Dignam on his own 10 meter line.  Teams who give Dignam any kind of space are typically punished and this case was no different.  Dignam raced clear and some neat footwork beat the cover for a clear run in to the line.  Again O’Leary converted to give Terenure a more comfortable 31-22 lead.

UCD were determined to bounce back.  They attacked into Terenure’s half and kicked towards the corner.  Full back Tom Murray gathered and fed Morgan who took the ball into contact, with the recycled ball once again kicked back into UCD territory by O’Leary.  UCD came straight back again with a carry up to Terenure’s 22, but their ball carrier was again stripped, this time by Morgan.  Hooker Murphy, who had returned to replace the unlucky Byrne, slid onto the loose ball and popped it to MacNamara who passed quickly to O’Leary.  Again a lightning pass, this time off his left hand, was sent 30 meters out to the waiting Clarke.  Clarke had a lot of work to do, but from his own 22 he checked his opposite number and then backed his pace to outrun all the chasing cover and dot down over the line for a phenomenal final hattrick!  Again O’Leary converted to take Terenure into a scarcely believable 38-22 lead.

Full credit must go to UCD for how they responded.  With only 10 minutes left and three scores behind they might be forgiven for thinking it was too late, but their players were not going to die wondering.  No player epitomised UCD’s effort more than replacement prop Sparrow.  He looked to carry at every opportunity, and by sheer force of will he carried over from his own tap penalty to bring the scores back to 38-29 after Williams converted.  And again UCD came back looking for another score.  This time it was more fortuitous, will a nasty bounce and unlucky trips giving UCD an easy touchdown in the corner.  Williams made the difficult touchline conversion to make the score now 38-36 with perhaps only two minutes remaining.  There was enough time for UCD to attack again, and attack they did.  But this time Terenure’s defence was up to the task.  Replacement scrumhalf Cillian Keaney was first over the ball and forced a vital penalty, and with only seconds left they took a tap, recycled once and fed the ball to O’Leary who sent the ball deep into the crowd.  The ref’s whistle blew for full time to spark wild celebrations on and off the pitch.

Terenure College Team

  1. Alex Cashman
  2. Michael Murphy
  3. Tim Staunton
  4. Oisín Shannon (Capt.)
  5. Kieran Kelly
  6. Ultan Byrne
  7. Sean Ruane
  8. Darragh Brooks
  9. Peter MacNamara
  10. Harvey O’Leary
  11. Oscar Morgan
  12. Jack Grimes
  13. Fintan Dignam
  14. James Clarke
  15. Tom Murray
  16. Keith Byrne
  17. Matthew Lydon
  18. Joe Lockhart
  19. Evan Collins
  20. Oisín Nutty
  21. Cillian Keaney
  22. Eoghan Walsh

Referee: Mark Hynes (ARLB)

Line 1: Eoin Crossen (ARLB)

Line 2: Keith Condell (ARLB)