The GAA is a fine institution and a clever institution!! They are in every city, town, village and half parish on the island of Ireland. This ensures a pride of place which ensures that the most important part of the year for your village (large or small) is that you beat the next village (up the road) in the club county championship!
Rathdrum are no different – they have a proud heritage in GAA and this year their men’s team is going well – they are in the Wicklow Club Championship quarter finals – great for the GAA fraternity and the whole Community within Rathdrum – not so good as the Rathdrum RFC try to put out a full rugby squad.
Director of Rugby Bobby Byrne informed on Thursday last that Rathdrum only had 13 players largely due to the impending club championship match. The UCD J2 brains trust convened and with Bobby came up with a plan – offer to give Rathdrum a few players to ensure there would be a match (and as part of that deal quietly mention that Manager KMD would break out of his retirement to tog out for the Wicklow outfit!). Well that had the desired effect – Rathdrum suddenly had a team and the game was on!!
The UCD J2s were on a great roll of one in a row (a cracker 3 weeks ago where they edged out Belvo) and were looking to double that. Well in what was a no nonsense – get the job done early approach – the UCD J2s achieved that with a comprehensive enough in the end win of 32-21 – bonus point secured with tries from Jeremy (2), Scully and Sam (our esteemed captain). But as is the way at this level this victory was not a straight line with one particularly tense period either side of the break.
The J2s owned the first 30 mins and were clinically doing the basics to pull away at 19-0. A couple of minutes to the break – all good. Then Rathdrum hit their stride and started to go through a few attacking phases. In what can only be viewed as bad luck – first Jeremy got binned for an alleged ‘tip tackle’ on the Rathdrum 10 (a man twice his size!) – under pressure then UCD were pinged for several infringements and when the Ref warned he’d seen enough the next offence was punished as UCD were reduced to 13 defenders! Q a Rathdrum resurrection as they crossed the whitewash either side of the break – suddenly we are in a dog fight at 19-14.
Under the posts Coach Dales and Captain Sam came up with the plan – Wake Up and Smell the Coffee!! Whatever was said worked. It took a few minutes but UCD played the percentages and in the right areas of the park – after a nervy 10 mins our 10 (Ferg-ie) knocked over a penno – the 8 point gap calming the nerves of President Carrigy on the sideline along with Sir David Jones.
The job was closed out and order was restored. The J2s are now 2 for 4 – next up in 2 weeks are Greystones in Thornfield – if you have to walk the dog that evening you could do worse that stroll around that part of UCD while keeping one eye on what will be another cracker against another Wicklow team (last fixture against ‘Stones ended in a 33-25 victory!) – we will keep an eye out for you!
Well done to the whole squad – a great collective effort – but would just like to mention Sam – who averages a quarter of a try per season. Sam pounced on a loose ball near the ‘Drum ‘22 and took off like a bullet train covering the first 10 yards in just outside the recent Tokyo Olympics qualifying time – he then dummied and swerved his way through the remaining defenders – to finally fall over the line. Sam went wild – the crowd went wild – the Rathdrum lads looked on in wonder as to how did the big man actually do that!
So just to recap – UCD 3 goals and 2 points – Rathdrum 2 goal and 1 points.
Report By: Kevin McDonagh
15. Shanners 14. Alex 13. Tim 12. Zach (‘Bundee’) 11. Henry 10. Ferg 9. Jeremy 8. Daniel 7. Scully 6. Cathal 5. Will L 4. Sam ‘The Bullet’ (C) 3. Luke (Happy Birthday Luke!) 2. Tom 1. Isaac