Was it Rudyard Kipling that said we need to treat victory (triumph) and defeat (disaster) the same way. Not sure if ‘Rudy’ ever played rugby – but for certain he never cut his teeth with the UCD J4s.
This band of brothers have to fight against the odds every week. The Seniors, J1s & J2s get picked first – 1 to 15 plus subs. That is the same in every club. The first challenge for the UCD J4s is that there are not quite enough qualified players to guarantee the 18/19 slots required. The second challenge is to beg, steal, borrow – The J4s are not fussy – have you 2 arms & 2 legs – have you boots – you’re in!!
What ensues then can be a patchwork of players – some on their 2nd tour of duty in a given weekend (thanks Luke, Scully, Cian!!) – others playing out of position. But hey – they battle on regardless to the start line with jerseys 1 to 15 filled. There is an ‘espirit de corps’ that permeates through the J4s, while motivation and inspiration is provided by the longest continuous serving manager in world rugby, David Jones, ably assisted by Paddy Barrett, Sam Doggett and Coach Eoin Daly.
We could go with the standard 4 word match report – ‘Swords won – We lost!’.
For those who like a little more detail we can provide the score – UCD 3 : Swords 27. At the break Collidge we’re only down 3:15 against a much bigger team (Swords RFC have emerged from what used to be the Aer Lingus club, also noting this is their 1st team and since Covid their only team). The second half then saw the J4s have their best spell – pressing hard with some excellent attacking moves – one which got them over the line but the ref indicated it was ‘held up’.
Swords in time then regained their stranglehold through their superior strength ‘up front’ claiming 2 more close in scores. Not to be outdone the best passage of play in the whole game came with the time almost up. The J4 stalwart that is Paddy Barrett broke from a maul on the half way. Paddy dummied and was through the gap – suddenly finding himself in space. Well – he took off like a March hare – heading straight for the smallest Swords man on the pitch (their full back). Paddy – using his velocity – went through the No. 15 like he wasn’t there – while his stride had been broken slightly he remained upright and moving forward – he then executed a deft one handed off load that Tadgh Furlong would have been proud of! One more pass would have seen the try of the match but alas, the last pass went to ground. It left the team in positive spirits at the end – they kept trying to the final whistle – there was no shame in losing to an outfit where half of them could easily fill in as bouncers outside Coppers!
Next up is a trip to Navan (only an ‘our from Dublin!) next Friday – while the J2s have a Sunday fixture. Talks already underway among the J4-J2 brains trust as to how to overcome the Meath men (including perhaps an overnight stay in advance in the nearby Ardboyne Hotel!!).
Report by Kevin McDonagh
UCD: 15 Dan Molloy; 14 Brad Carson; 13 Brendan McDonnell; 12 Conor Scully; 11 Alex Coldrick; 10 Cian Harrington; 9 Luke Filan; 1 Joe Hastings; 2 Tom Cleary; 3 Paddy Barrett; 4 Will Langrell; 5 Dan O’Sullivan; 6 Isaac Philips; 7 Ger Nolan; 8 Justin Senador. Replacements: 16 Fergus Balfe; 17 Henry Doyle; 18 Jeremy Trane; 19 James Shanahan; 20 Michael Kirwin.
Next match: v Navan 27th November 14.30 (Away)