At the start of this game one thing was clear; the biggest loser at the final whistle would be the game of rugby. In torrential rain and grueling crosswinds at the Farm last Wednesday, College faced the daunting task of playing the league leaders Garda College.
In what turned out to be a fiercely contested and ultra tight game, UCC were made to fight for everything throughout the 80 minutes. Knowing the magnitude of the game, this College side did what they do best, battle for every inch of territory. The match was predictably cagey and close early on and neither side possessed any great attacking flair. It was Garda College who took the initiative and edged the opening exchanges. Tackles flew as Garda sought to pierce a UCC rear guard which was typically uncompromising. No quarter was asked or given and the game paused on numerous occasions to allow treatment for the injured warriors. After 21 minutes UCC were forced into a blood sub as Anne-Marie Moloney took a knock to the head. The first half continued in a stop-start motion until it petered out and the rain continued to pour mercilessly. With conditions deteriorating both sides knew a score early in the second half would set up a formidable platform for victory. College's best player all game was beginning to grow in stature and influence. Aoife Deasy looked as likely as any player thus far to break the deadlock and continued her surging runs in the second half. College were stringing some nice passes together but their main threat was Deasy's ball-carrying skill. The Garda challenge wasn't finished however; the visitors continued to push College's defence back but lacked the ability to work the ball to the wings. UCC were defending desperately now and it took some heroic defending on their own line to keep Garda from crossing the line. The team held together resolutely and frustrated their opposition. This frustration boiled over and UCC's Natalie Flanagan was sin binned along with one of the Garda players with 16 minutes to go. With 10 minutes remaining the breakthrough finally arrived. From a line-out on their 22 metre line, UCC strung some neat passes together and managed to work the ball to the inspirational Deasy on the left wing. Deasy set off past two players and poked a low kick past the oncoming challengers. Her pace then took her clean through and another kick helped the ball on its way over the Garda line where Deasy pounced to give College the lead. Eimear Knightly failed to add the conversion. UCC seemed to get a lift from their try and went on the offensive again. This pressure was short-lived however as Garda came back in search of a result. They laid siege to the College defence and were camped inside the home side's 22 for the remainder of the game. With a minute to go the pressure looked like it would pay off only for Tamar Jayawardene to put in an excellent tackle to prevent the try and ensure the College victory. UCC were ecstatic at the final whistle as they overcame their toughest opposition of the season and maintained their unbeaten record.
UCC: 15 F Casey 14 J Barry 13 A Moloney 12 E Knightly 11 A Deasy 10 T Jayawardene 9 C Rigney (Capt.) 8 J O' Raheilly 7 A Desmond 6 S Ni Rian 5 L Kelly 4 C McCarthy 3 S Cremin 2 O Ryan 1 Y Hickey.