Following on from a defeat on the road to Corinthians the previous week it was important that the team bounce back and rediscover their winning form. The Twenties league campaign needed a bonus point win to keep the pressure on table topping rivals Barnhall. The campaign had taken it’s toll and some of the experienced Seapoint players including first choice out half Brindley were unavailable for selection. Sadly, a huge effort from the team which delivered a comprehensive win in horrible conditions fell just short of the fourth try and therefore missed out on delivering the required bonus point.
The team started well playing into the wind. A solid kick-off from Cronin created good field position and having gained possession Cassidy made a scything break up the middle. Quick recycled ball inside the 22 delivered an attacking opportunity for Cronin and soft hands created the first try for Jack Reynolds. An easy conversion by Cronin yielded a 7 point to nil lead with only a few minutes gone on the clock. From the restart however, Seapoint failed to clear their lines. A few rucks later they had conceded a kickable penalty inside their 22 and were lucky that the UCD kicker didn’t convert. From the subsequent drop out, Seamus Flannery hurt his shoulder and was replaced by Sam Turner. Soon afterwards Seapoint found themselves in good position back into the UCD 22 and appeared to have scored a second try when Forster burst over. The referee however took the decision that Manning and Forster were guilty of crossing, disallowed the try and awarded a penalty out instead.
The next 20 minutes resembled a heavyweight contest as the weather conditions got worse and both sides slugged it out. Seapoint did create opportunities. Under pressure in the scrums, their lineout maul was dominant and at one stage marched the opposition a full 20 yards up the pitch. Just before half time whilst having been under pressure for the previous 10 minutes, Cronin pounced on a dropped ball, and proceeded to release Cassidy who scampered the length of the pitch to score under the posts. Not necessarily a good reflection on the first half, Seapoint led by 14 points to nil at half time and things looked optimistic with the wind and rain at their backs in the second half.
5 minutes into the second half, after Seapoint had failed to exit from the restart, the UCD Number 10 sent a clever grubber kick through the middle which the UCD center duly pounced on to score. With the scrum creaking badly and the score-line at 14 points to 7, at this stage not even a win as assured. The remainder of the contest was enthralling. Both teams trying to play rugby in horrible conditions and both creating real opportunities. Ultimately after sustained pressure Manning got over the line with 10 minutes to go extending the lead to 14 points. That made the win a lot more certain but try as they might, Seapoint couldn’t get over the line for that last vital score.
All things being equal, a brave effort. Hats off to UCD for making it a contest. Liam Forster put in a sterling performance as ever and is awarded man of the match. Sean Cronin gets a huge accolade for stepping into the breach in the out-half position, knocking over all three conversions and displaying huge ability to kick out of hand. Two games left, Galwegians at home next week and then the league finale with a tussle in Kilbogget against Barnhall on March 6th.
Bring it on.