University Playing Fields Dangan – Sunday 13/09/2015
NUIG RFC got their season off to a flying start with a comprehensive victory over Ballyhaunis in the Curley Cup on Sunday. The cup, in it’s 3rd year, is named after Hugh Curley, one of the founders of Ballyhaunis RFC and the Mayo men were in no mood to let the students halt their progress in the competition. The wet conditions did not lend itself to a free flowing game and it was the visitors who adapted better in the opening exchanges when their aggression at the ruck was rewarded with a kickable penalty after just 6 minutes, which was duly converted to give Ballyhaunis an early lead.
College reacted with character and defiance though and soon hit their stride. The front row of Damo McNelis, Eugene Kilkenny and Chuck O’Neill started to get the upper hand in the scrums and the clean ball won gave the backline an excellent platform to work off, with James Junior Kennedy crashing over for the games first try after 10 minutes. The high workrate of the students was thwarted by a stoic Ballyhaunis defence but fullback Ruairí Keogh Clarke found space on the wing to squeeze over the try-line after 20 minutes to give NUIG RFC a 10-3 lead going into the break.
The second half started much as the first half finished and Junior added to his try tally just 2 minutes after the restart. The difficult touchline conversion fell agonisingly short but NUIG were thoroughly in control of the game. Centre Billy Delaney opened up his seasons try tally after 50 minutes and the students cruised home to a 20-3 victory.
Newly appointed Head Coach Brian McClearn was happy with his sides performance, but was very much aware that things could be very different next week when Ballyhaunis make the same trip to Galway for the opening Connacht Junior 1B League match.