DCU’s senior rugby team lost out to Athlone Institute of Technology in the fourth round of league matches in St Clare’s last Wednesday. The game was played in turbulent weather with much of the action disrupted by high winds.
DCU were on the back foot from the start as they faced into the wind in the first half. It didn’t take long for Athlone to capitalise on this advantage as they went over for a try with only five minutes gone.
Much of the early stages were played out in the scrum as penalties were rife in the bad conditions. The ball was in the DCU half for much of the first half with Athlone pressurising the DCU defence for lengthy periods. Athlone kicked well and, using the wind to their advantage, aimed for the corner when opportunities arose.
DCU maintained a solid defence as they were battered by both the opposition and the wind. Athlone remained patient, however, and were able to go over for five more tries going into the break with a lead of 38 points.
DCU went into the second half with the wind on their side, but failed to convert this to their advantage. There were periods of sustained pressure near Athlone’s end zone, but DCU were held up by a tenacious defence in which they could find no gaps to exploit.
There were plenty of turnovers in the opening stages of the second half. Athlone found it hard to get out of the danger zone as the wind hindered the ball’s movement in the air.
Athlone got their first try after the break when scrum-half Mark Dolan received the ball after good build-up on the wing and, spotting a gap, ran through into space to touch down.
As the game wore on DCU seemed to tire, their tackles becoming less efficient. They were closest to scoring after making headway with a rolling maul but the attack ended when the ball was knocked forward.
Weather deteriorated further near the end of the game, though the adverse conditions didn’t seem to put Athlone off as they scored three more tries before the final whistle. The loss keeps DCU second from bottom in Division One, on four points, while Athlone remain in first place, on 19 points.
DCU face Waterford Institute of Technology next, and coach Phil de Barra is hopeful his team can come away with a win: “There’ll be more time to prepare for the next game and we’ll hope to have our strongest fifteen back and get a result.”
DCU: 1. Jerry Orianwa (capt.) 2. Cian Walsh 3. Andrew Keating 4. Adam Page 5. Owen Waldron 6. Tim Cronin 7. Brian Nolan 8. Dave Feenan 9. Alex Gibney 10. Rickie Keme 11. Jacob O’ Keefe 12. Sean O’ Connor 13. Paul Charousset 14. Roddy O’ Donnell 15. Colm O’ Reilly
Subs: 16. Ben Mortimer 17. Shane Nagg 18. Blygh McCormack 19. Jeff Hardy 20. Ollie Hamilton 21. Jack Healy 22. Adam McInrie
Athlone IT: 1. Greg Hansbury 2. Brian McGovern 3. Aodhan Glynn 4. Colm Gorry 5. Josh O’Rourke 6. Brendan Fagan 7. Sam McCormack 8. Martin Staunton 9. Mark Dolan 10. Domhnall Corbett 11. Colm O’ Reilly 12. Bryan Dixon 13. Sean Dempsey 14. Cathal Evans 15. Callum Boland
Subs: 16. Harry Lester 17. Brian Tape 18. Mark Kennedy 19. Darragh Maher 20. Richy Dixon 21. Peter O’ Neill 22. Ben Porter 23. Kevin Gavin