Metro League Div 4: Old Belvedere 16 – 26 UCD J2
For one night only – last Friday it was – in the park they named after the man who won the Triple Crown for Ireland in 1982 (Seamus Oliver Campbell) – the UCD J2s put out a full team of Richie Akpans!! Now you might think what trickery is this you are been told about – but in this case we mean that all 14 players not only played for Richie (as he donned the blue of Collidge for one last time….for now) – but they all played like Richie.
Before we do he sentimental piece let’s deal with the match – this match had everything – non-stop action – plenty of scoring opportunities – only 2 tries (one apiece) but great attacking play and even greater defence – from both sides. You would think they cannot keep this pace up for all of the match – but they did. It was even steven for 70 minutes – first Belvo went ahead 10-3 – then UCD pegged them back – a great team try rounded off by Brendan McDonnell. Bothe sides then traded a series of penalties (Conor Scully doing the business for the J2s) – the crowd was vociferous and very much involved in each crunching tackle – every turnover. It was tight – it was tense. Then – Collidge summoned up one last burst of energy and some great attacking plays were only thwarted by Belvo’s illegal incursions – Scully kicked the pennos – one from 45 meters – the margin was 7 (cannot be beaten with 4 minutes to go) – then 10 (we have this one in the bag with 2 minutes to go). The blue segment of the crowd were happy – the black and white section quickly looked at their fixture card and put a large * against the return fixture in late January 2022 – revenge is often best served cold!!
Coach Dales and the rest of the J2 Brains Trust speculated as to what brought about this almost complete performance – training has been changed for this coming week – there will be a short opening meeting – anyone know what you lads did? – right so – do that again!! We might then just practice to refine it….the basics – D ‘n A…Defence and Attack… add a little flair, individual responsibility…mixed with a collective team spirit…simple…but not easy!! A big thank you to former UCD coach Paul Taffee (now Belvo) and the Belvo Physio who very kindly looked after our lads throughout the match.
Best of luck to Richie – in centre in photo with his core group who have played together in the blue for over 8 years – through U20s – then J2 (occasionally a run out at J1). These brothers in arms – including Richie – have a Metro Div 5 winners medal and more recently a fantastic Metro Div 4 title (still reigning champions due to the cancelled season that was 2020/21!) – Richie, all of the UCD rugby fraternity, but in particular the full J2/J4 family wish you well in the next part of your life journey and look forward to hearing tall tales of your exploits in that fair Isle.
Rumour has it that Gregor Townsend has put the call in for Richie (to help Hamish Watson fine tune his game). Best of luck Richie!
Report by: Kevin McDonagh