UCC v Shannon
A loss in Cork
Our Firsts were on the road this weekend and headed to Cork for the first time this season to play UCC. The weather was fine for the day, with no real wind and no sign of rain. To begin with, we must express our pleasure to see the supporter’s bus back on the road. We had a full bus travel to Cork and it was fantastic to hear united support on the side line. It really does make the difference to have those extra voices in the crowd; so a sincere thanks to everyone who travelled. We were unfortunate to lose Shane Mullally and Greg O’Shea from the panel after injuries sustained in training prior to the match and would like to wish the lads all the best and a speedy recovery.
Just back from injury himself, it was Conor Fitzgerald who kicked off the match for Shannon and we were on the defence from the start. UCC retained possession and attacked up the centre of the pitch where we gained a penalty for UCC not releasing the ball in the ruck. We kicked to our 10meter and set up a strong maul off the lineout. We were making great ground when again UCC were peanalised for pulling the maul down. Conor Fitzgerald kicked and we took a line out on the UCC 22. We mauled again but UCC anticipated our break off and turned over possession, attacking through the forwards. They knocked on the ball in attack minutes later and we were in possession in the first scrum. After a reset the scrum was solid and we were unlucky to knock on the ball at the back of it, in a momentary lapse of concentration. After the collapse of the next scrum UCC were awarded a penalty from which they opted to tip and go. Jack Stafford was on the ball here and was quick in sniping in and gaining a turnover and sending us on the attack. We ruthlessly attacked the UCC line for a solid minute when again UCC were penalised; this time for not rolling away at the breakdown and Conor Fitzgerald took a successful shot at goal leaving the score 3-0 after 8 minutes.
UCC kicked off and while attempting to get under the high ball, knocked it on. We scrummed down just outside our 22. Another infringement against Shannon in the scrum, saw UCC gain another penalty and they opted for the posts, scoring an equaliser one minute later. Shannon kicked off and UCC recovered, attacking from deep within their own half. As they brought the ball up to meet our defensive line they knocked on and again we scrummed down with Shannon in possession on their 22. We got clean ball off the back of this but gave away a penalty for holding on. UCC kicked to their ten meter and were in possession in the line out. As play went on UICC found themselves in possession of a scrum, they spread the ball wide and were making good ground when John Foley spotted a gap and turned the ball over. After a few phases, we kicked ahead and UCC returned, unfortunately we brought the ball into touch.
At 19 minutes UCC were in possession in the scrum and we got a shove on and forced a knock on at the back but the ref called us back and penalised Shannon. UCC missed they resulting shot at goal. Minutes later, Shannon were in possession of a line-out that was stolen by UCC who launched a quick paced attack out wide. They were edging into our 22 but again gave away a penalty for holding in the ball – Conor Fitzgerald kicked us to our 10. We secured the ball in the lineout and brought it into contact, eagle eyed Jack Stafford spotted a gap and launched a superb box-kick that Nathan Randles effortlessly chased and collected under serious pressure. We got the ball back and attacked their line. Two minutes later UCC were back in possession and were on the gallop down the pitch; but Robbie Deegan put a halt to it and stepped up putting in a great hit. Tom Hayes and James Vaughan were also tackling everything that moved allowing Conor Glynn turn the ball over.
Two minutes later UCC were back in possession and knocked on in contact. We took the scrum and were solid in our attack from this. We gained a penalty in open play and Conor Fitzgerald stepped up and put it between the posts leaving the score 6-3 to us at 26 minutes. UCC recovered from the kick off and used the forwards to work their way down the pitch spreading it out wide when the opportunity arose. Robbie Deegan was again quick off the mark and turned over the ball getting it back for a kick that unfortunately went out on the full. UCC gained a penalty in the following lineout and their out half made no error in his kick, again levelling up the score; 6-6 at 30minutes.
A knock on three minutes later saw UCC in possession of a scrum from which they picked and went and attacked the Shannon line. We were solid in our defence and turned over eventually finding Ronan McKenna who kicked us out of pressure. Riley Winter excelled in the air again and we set up a solid maul that rolled down the pitch making great distance. Once we got inside the UCC half they pulled down the maul and it was one penalty too many for the ref who showed them a yellow card at 35 minutes. Conor Fitzgerald kicked the penalty and we took the lead again, 9-6. We recovered the ball from the kick off and Richie Mullane kicked us to half way. With a man in the bin, UCC weren’t going to get into a forward battle and got the ball to the backs who kept the attack tight. Hands in the ruck saw UCC gain a penalty and they took a quick one, knocking on the ball in the next phase, giving us possession in the scrum. We got clean ball from the scrum and took the ball up in attack where we gave away a penalty for holding onto the ball and preventing the turnover. They missed touch rom this kick and Ronan McKenna kicked us well into their half, their fullback turned and recovered, kicking the ball to touch and ending the half leaving the score 9-6 to Shannon.
We came out strong in the second half, receiving the ball from the kick off. Tony Cusack put in some great carries as did Nathan Randles on the wing. UCC got possession and kicked the ball out on the full affording Shannon a lineout on their 22. UCC stole this and attacked with pace. They then gained a penalty for a high tackle just inside our half and again levelled up the score bringing us to 9-9 at 46 minutes. We kicked off and UCC were sure of themselves under the high ball, attacking Shannon again. We turned over but were unfortunate to knock on with UCC gaining a scrum on their 10. Number 8 picked and went and made great ground, when it looked like he might just get there Richard Mullane put in a fantastic cover tackle forcing the knock-on and gifting us a scrum on our 22. One minute later as we attacked, we gave away another penalty for holding on to the ball on the ground. We were then put back 10 for discipline. UCC again missed touch and Ronan McKenna kicked us to the half way alleviating pressure.
Minters later UCC were still attacking from their lineout and it was our turn to gain a penalty for holding the ball in. We kicked and gained a lineout on their 10. We showed the ball in the lineout here and UCC opted to scrum. We turned over the ball in the next play and Conor Glynn made a great break, passing off to Conor Fitzgerald who chipped us through. UCC recovered but Richard Mullane was already in hot pursuit and put in a great hit landing UCC in touch in their own corner. We were awarded a 5m scrum. We were unfortunate to knock on the ball here and UCC took the scrum; however, showing fantastic teamwork, the pack got a penalty and we were back in possession for a kick at posts at 59 minutes. The penalty missed by a hairs breath as it hit the posts and UCC recovered.
UCC kicked to our 22 and we were unfortunate to lose the following lineout, sending UCC back in attack. They opted to kick for touch and we made sure of this line out opting to attack in pods and making steady ground as we moved down the pitch. A kick under pressure saw us out on the full and UCC were back in possession for a lineout on half way. We took the lineout and again attacked intelligently. Conor Glynn made good carries. We gave away a penalty on our 10m for hands in the ruck again; UCC missed the shot at goals at 65 minutes.
We kicked off and a penalty saw UCC tip and go and attack our line, we did fantastically in defence and won a penalty on the line for hands in the ruck. We kicked to clear our line gaining good ground in the process. UCC retained possession in the lineout and kept the ball in hand while edging down the pitch. They remained in our 22and we gained a penalty for hand in the ruck, we kicked this; UCC recovered and kicked back with Richie gathering and taking the ball up. A Shannon player came off his feet at the breakdown here and we were penalised just inside our own half. UCC took their points and took the lead 12-9 at 68 minutes.
UCC recovered from the kick off and kicked themselves ahead, we recovered but were unfortunate to knock on the ball on our line gifting UCC a scrum on our 5meter. They picked and went off the back of this and kept pressure on as they attacked our line. They spread the ball wide, drawing and passing to send their winger over for an unconverted try at 72minutes leaving the score 17-9. The match continued in the same vein with UCC in possession and our forwards in particular, defending really well alas it was not enough and the match ended with the full-time score of 17-9.
It was a hard loss for the lads to take as they matched UCC in almost all aspects of the game. Again, we were unfortunate to pick up more injuries in this match so best wishes to the injured lads and best wishes for a speedy recovery. We are onto Dolphin in Thomond Park next and all support is welcome so come on out and lend your support to the lads, we know it’s only a matter of time before we turn things around!