AIB League 3: Nenagh 16 QUB 17

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Queen’s finished a remarkable and record breaking season by lifting the Division Three Championship trophy with a dramatic last gasp victory over Nenagh in Dublin.

Finals are about the result not the performance and Queen’s Director of Rugby Robbie Moore was delighted that was the case at the final whistle as the students struggled against a more physical side.

“We didn’t perform and we got a lucky break in the end, the last 10 minutes we put a lot of pressure on them but we fumbled and knocked on and Nenagh defended well,” said Moore.

“I don’t know if we were over anxious after last week’s good performance against Malone, I don’t know what was in the mind of the guys but they know themselves they didn’t live up to expectations and we are very glad of the result,” added Moore.

Nenagh started brightly with a simple game plan of kicking to the corners with the aid of the strong breeze and let their huge pack try and punch holes in the Queen’s defence.

The students were under pressure with the lineout not functioning well but held firm with scrum half Ian Porter box kicking clearing the danger on a few occasions.

Queen’s survived the opening 18 minutes without conceding any points and to the lead against the run of play.

Out half Michael Pyper incepted a pass on half way and had enough pace escape the covering defence to get to the try line for the touch down.

Neagh got back in the game when out half David Delaney landed the second of two penalty attempts on 26 minutes.

The Co Tipperary try took the lead three minutes later with one of the most bizarre tries of the season.

Delaney had another penalty attempt it caught the wind and when wide as it bounced over the try line the Queen’s defence stood back thinking the ball was going to go dead but Nenagh lock David Walsh chased the ball and touched it down for five points and Delaney converted to give his side a 10-5 half time lead despite having winger Colm McMahon sin binned on 32 minutes.

Queen’s upped the ante after the break and prop Mark Sampson crashed over on 52 minutes.

The forwards kept the ball through a series of phases, Porter was stopped short but Sampson was able to pick up at the base of the ruck and power over with the scrum half converting.

Two Delaney penalties in a three minute spell gave Nenagh a four point lead going into the last quarter.

Queen’s had flanker Gareth Hooks sin binned on 64 minutes but Delaney missed with the resulting penalty.

Nenagh could have won the game when centre James Kingston incepted on half way and went for the line but Queen’s full back David McIlwane showed great pace to get back and haul him down short of the line.

The students dominated the last 10 minutes but anytime they looked like scoring they made crucial mistakes.

Going into injury time Queen’s forced a turnover with a huge scrum and from their own put in they manufactured the winning score.

The forwards had a series of drives before they ball went wide the backs also couldn’t force the break through.

The Nenagh defence were all pulled in to defend the ruck before Porter threw a hugh pass and with a two on none overlap winger Chris Quinn went in to get the winning touch down but Porter was unable to convert.

Neagh reclaimed the restart and got into drop goal position but Delaney badly sliced his kick and Porter booted the ball dead in the last play.

Moore believed that the students showed the signs of true champions with their never say die attitude.

“There were guys there that were on the bench who would normally be are first team starters but we wanted to give everybody a chance but I don’t think anybody in the whole team really showed just how good they could be.”

“Nenagh played good percentage rugby and we just fumbled our way through and I was just glad to be in touch for a while and it was nice to get our winning score.”

“If we had have lost we wouldn’t have had any complaints, they were a good physical side and they had an outhalf who fully deserved his man of the match tag.”

“He kicked them into good possessions and his distribution was good and we’ll miss going to Nenagh next season but hopefully they will come up next season,” concluded Moore.

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