Gordon West Cup Quarter Final
Limavady Edge Tense Student Test
UUC 5 Limavady 10
In very wet and windy conditions, the top two sides in Qualifiying Section 3 went head to head in the tie of the round in this years Gordon West Cup quarter finals. Runaway league leaders Limavady may be the holders, but the Uni have been a rejuvenated side of late and with home advantage went into this one slight favourites.
Playing with the aid of the wind in the first half, the visitors went on the offensive from kick off. Jack McCool had an early opportunity to get the scoreboard ticking but his penalty just shaded the wrong side of the post, however in the 10th minute he made amends with his second effort of the day, driving the ball over the bar from 40 meters. The elements were making running rugby very difficult but from a lineout in the 20th minute Limavady managed to put together one move that broke the home rearguard. Quick ball from the set piece saw the ball make it’s way to the recalled Greg Jordan, and the veteran Kiwi broke the game line to touch down beside the posts. Jack McCool kicked the conversion for a 10-0 lead.
The hosts then had a good spell of possession and territory themselves. Buoyed on by gaining advantage at the scrum they forced their way into the Limavady ’22’, and almost scored a try of their own, but their rolling maul was stopped illegally five meters from the line. Having just missed with a shot at goal minutes earlier, the students elected to go for a scrum and from this captain and flanker Scott McAteer was adjudged to have grounded the ball on the line despite the best efforts of Matty Haslett. With the conversion missed Limavady still had the cushion of a five point lead, but with half time approaching the visitors knew that a five point lead wouldn’t be enough with such a strong wind in their backs. Despite the final 10mins of the half being played in the Uni ’22’, Limavady just could break the home rearguard and get the score that would create a bit more daylight between the sides, and at the break the score board read UUC 5 Limavady 10.
The Coleraine students would have been quite happy going into the second half five points down knowing that if they were to score next, they would probably go onto win the game, and just as Limavady talked about at the break, the Green & Red onslaught came straight from the restart. The first 10mins of the half UUC set up camp in the Limavady ’22’, but just like every game this season, the disciplined Limavady defence stood firm, but a penalty was awarded to the homeside on 50mins. With the kicker all set to begin his run up the ball fell off the tee, but he still managed to get a drop goal attempt in but his effort drifted wide, much to the relief of the Men in Black.
The restart gave the Roesiders a chance to regroup and play some rugby in the right areas. Despite having much more of the ball for the next twenty minutes than their opponents, they just couldn’t break into the uni ’22’ to get that all important insurance score. With the weather deteriorating unforced errors were starting to creep into both sides play, as well as a bit of anxiety as everyone knew that the next score would mean a place in the semi final.
As the game entered the final five minutes UUC were awarded a penalty on half way which was kicked into the corner. This signalled the beginning of an intense period of pressure from the homeside, as time and time again during the closing minutes plus seven minutes of additional time the students ran relentlessly at the Limavady line only to be denied time and time again. The Limavady scrum has come in for some criticism this season but their determination and discipline in those closing stages was nothing short of heroic, and as the Coleraine based students made gone more charge to the Limavady line, they were forced into conceading a penalty which Luke Faulkner gladly kicked into touch to bring an end to a very tense cup encounter.
Full Time UUC 5 Limavady 10
So the cup holders advance to the semi finals were they will be paired off against one of Holywood, Letterkenny or Lurgan.
It’s back to league action next weekend for Limavady with a home match against Holywood, and if results take a certain pattern, then the league title could officially be theirs. Kick off at The John Hunter Memorial Grounds is at 2.30pm.
The seconds are also in league action next Saturday. They travel to the Dub Lane in South Belfast to take on Queens University 3rds, also at 2.30pm.
Limavady 1st XV Team: P. Wilson, M. Haslett, J.M. Miller, G. Jordan, S. Roddy, L. Faulkner, J. Miller. C. Scott, A. McIlmoyle, J. McCollum, J. Purcell, M. Rice, J. McCool, S. Mackey, D. Irvine. Subs P. Browne & S. McLaughlin.
Referee. Mr E. Deans.