Garda College proved to be too much for DCU RFC, claiming a 47-24 victory in a physical encounter at the DCU Sports Ground on Wednesday the 24th of October.
Garda College’s fullback Rory O’Connor was vital to his team’s success, scoring an impressive five tries and six conversions.
It was O’Connor that opened the scoring in the third minute, running about 70 metres following an intercept and dotted down just to the right of the posts.
However, it didn’t take long for DCU to respond, with winger Cian Browne scoring in the left corner. DCU’s fly half Adam Swann was unlucky not to convert the try with his effort coming off the upright.
Garda College then enjoyed a dominant period in the match, scoring three tries in the next twenty minutes, taking the score to 26-5.
DCU prop Luke O’Callaghan brought the score back to 12-26 with a try of his own, converted by Adam Swann but Garda College responded quickly through a try by winger Michael Connelly.
DCU almost scored on the stroke of half time, with Adam Swann stepping and pirouetting his way through the Garda defence and offloaded to winger Adrien Pelicciari, who couldn’t quite hold on to the ball.
DCU started the second half strongly with a converted try by Adam Swann, after a nice break by second rower James Gleeson.
Tempers started to flare early on in the second half. Garda flanker Kyle McCoy was sent to the sin bin for an off the ball challenge on Adam Swann, which arguably could have been a red card.
DCU enjoyed the majority of the possession with an extra man on the field, yet O’Connor scored his fourth try for the Garda in the 56th minute, making it 40-19, effectively putting the game to bed.
The game continued to have a significant bit of niggle in it, with DCU’s JJ O’Dea being sent to the sin bin around the 60th minute mark.
O’Connor scored again for the Garda just a few minutes later, his fifth and final try of the game.
To their credit, DCU didn’t give in and scored in the last minute of play after number 8 Ruadhan Byron put centre Jack Rafter in space, who touched down in the left corner.
DCU RFC coach Brian Fitzpatrick was proud of his side’s efforts. “I thought it went well. We were playing against guys a bit older and we made a fair few errors but we played the rugby we wanted to play.”
Man of the match Rory O’Connor saw both positives and negatives from his side’s performance.
“There’s a good bit to learn from it to be honest. Defence we need to work on but second game in, we’ll take a win and push on from here.”
DCU take on Ulster University in the DCU Sports Ground on Wednesday the 7th of November in the next round of the SSI Men’s Rugby League while Garda College will face Athlone IT.
DCU RFC: 1. Michael Power, 2. Eoin Ferry, 3. Luke O’Callaghan, 4. JJ O’Dea, 5. James Gleeson, 6. Harry McCafferty, 7. Stanley Hadden, 8. Ruadhan Byron, 9. Sean Rock, 10. Adam Swann, 11. Cian Browne, 12. Evan Palmer, 13. Jack Rafter, 14. Adrien Pellicciari, 15. Sam Murphy, 16. Alex Mitic, 17. Ian Molloy, 18. Cameron Reynolds, 19. Michael Gordon, 20. Tommy Keane, 21. Mark Farrell, 22. David Molloy.
Garda College RFC: 1. Mark McDonald, 2. Vinny Lyons, 3. Eoin Lynch, 4. Cormac Ryan, 5. Gary Crowe, 6. Kyle McCoy, 7. Leon Fox, 8. Brian Mulchain, 9. Colm Rondle, 10. Joe Sweeney, 11. Michael Connolly, 12. Eoin Duffy, 13. Brendan McSweeney, 14. Declan Byrne, 15. Rory O’Connor, 16. Jack Hurley, 17. Gary White, 18. Dylan Sheehan, 19. Michael O’Neill, 20. Conor Smiddy, 21. Ross O’Callaster, 22. Martin Cocoman.
Image Credit: Eoin Harte.