The long wait for a return to rugby ended on Saturday at St Mary’s where Collidge successfully opened their defence of the Leinster Senior Cup. Early-season competitions such as this provide the coaches with the opportunities to assess the available talent and begin assembling their strongest panel for the season ahead.
Played without any spectators in calm conditions and on a well-grassed pitch it was the home side that opened the scoring in the 3rd minute and went into a 7-0 lead. Collidge lost 2nd row Gerry Hill to injury (hamstring) in the 5th minute before scrum-half Tom Foley went in under the posts after an impressive carry from Jonny Guy (7-7). Collidge were deemed offside soon after and Mary’s went ahead 10-7. A Ross Deegan try (converted by James Tarrant) then put Collidge back into the lead (10-14).
The play from both sides then became quite fragmented and loose with the ball going to ground quite often. Jonny Guy, in the 34th minute took full advantage of a loose pass and went in for a try converted by JT (10-21). In the last play of the half Mary’s scored a try to leave the half-time score at St Mary’s College 15 UCD 21.
A growing familiarity with team-mates on both teams tidied up the play quite a lot at the start of the second half with St Mary’s now looking the more dangerous of the two teams. In the 49th minute JT was deemed to have deliberately knocked the ball on with Mary’s threatening the Collidge line, was yellow carded and a penalty try was awarded to St Marys which nudged them into a 22-21 lead.
In the 53rd minute full-back David Ryan was on hand to slice through the St Marys defence for a try which he himself converted to put Collidge back in front (22-28). As bodies began tiring in the warm conditions, debutant scrum half Richie Fahy extended the Collidge lead in the 72nd minute with a well-taken try (22-35). A late rally from the home team brought a deserved try (29-35). For the remaining minutes Collidge were able to control the game and defend a late St Mary’s onslaught.
Fluidity of play and cohesion, which was not always obvious on Saturday, will return as the season progresses and Collidge play more. Collidge was led for the first time today by Captain (and former St Marys’s school pupil) Ronan Foley. Others in sky-blue that caught the eye included Ross Deegan, David Ryan, Jonny Guy and John Fairley.
UCD: 15 David Ryan; 14 Josh O’Connor; 13 Andy Marks; 12 Ross Deegan; 11 Jack Ringrose; 10 James Tarrant; 9 Tom Foley; 1 Rob Byrne; 2 Richie Bergin; 3 Emmet Burns; 4 Jonny Guy; 5 Gerry Hill; 6 Dan O’Donovan; 7 Alex Penny; 8 Ronan Foley (Capt). Replacements (all used): 16 Bobby Sheehan; 17 Rory Mulvihill; 18 John Fairley; 19 Ben Murray; 20 Richie Fahy; 21 David Moran; 22 Jamie Murphy.