Having already qualified for the League quarter finals, Newbridge College Senior team returned to League action after the mid-term break with a difficult away trip to Castleknock College.
Leinster Colleges Senior Rugby League
Castleknock College: 20
Newbridge College: 8
This, as with the Roscrea tie earlier in the campaign, was expected to be a tough encounter for the College and so it proved.
The College set the early tone and pushed deep into the Castleknock half right from the kickoff. A penalty was converted into a lineout just metres out from the host’s tryline.
Good possession from the lineout and control from the resulting phase saw Tom Treacy cross for the game’s opening score on three minutes. Joe Darcy couldn’t add the extras.
The College continued to dictate the early pace but just couldn’t make that final play to break the ‘Knock defensive line.
As the game continued Castleknock started to put some phases together and worked their way into the College half. This increasing pressure finally told on 12 minutes when some good work and a little good fortune saw Castleknock’s centre break the College defence.
Richard Dromgoole Maguire tackled hard enough to dislodge the ball but unfortunately for the College it went backwards into the hands of the Castleknock support player who crossed for five which was quickly turned into seven.
Both teams had now a foothold in the game and both tried to add to their tally only to be denied by some good defence and a very broken rhythm due to the large number of infringements giving rise to a series of scrums, free kicks and penalties which ensured neither team put together too many phases in any play.
The only addition for the remainder of the half was a Darcy penalty on 25 minutes following some good pressure exerted by the College which drew the penalty for an infringement at the breakdown.
The last seven minutes of the first half saw the College play with only 14 men following a yellow card for a high tackle. Castleknock failed to convert the resulting penalty and despite them making the most, territorially, of their man advantage the College defence saw that the half finished 8-7 to the College.
The second half saw a surprisingly, and disappointingly stilted performance from the Newbridge boys. This was compounded by a frustratingly broken half strewn with crocked put–ins to the scrum, crocked lineouts and penalties for ‘off your feet’ from both sides.
Neither side, as in the first, got to put together too many phases but it was Castleknock making the most of their possession. An early penalty for the College was pushed wide by Darcy.
Castleknock were to fare better on 43 minutes and convert a penalty to push the hosts into the lead. Castleknock, buoyed by this lead, pushed on and on 55 minutes attacked from a scrum.
Good quality recycled ball was carried deep into the College 22 and a gap was spotted. Cutting back inside Castleknock cut through the College defence and grabbed a try. The conversion was missed and this game was still anyone’s. However, Castleknock seized the momentum of their score and pushed for another. They were rewarded with a try on 63 minutes.
With the conversion drifting beyond the far post the College had seven minutes to make up a twelve point deficit.
Despite some of their best rugby of the half this would prove too big a task. They did come close to securing a losing bonus point with Darcy almost touching down in the corner but the game would end 20-8 to Castleknock