The 1st XV defeated Old Belvedere in the most dramatic of fashions yesterday, with a late score from Jake Swaine the difference on a day that saw the lead change hands several times.
Nure almost got off to a dream start, with lovely hands down the blindside putting Stephen Caffrey away, but as he reached for the line he dropped the ball, injuring his shoulder in the process. After a cagey opening quarter, it was the visitors who drew first blood, breaking from a ruck in midfield, with full back Danny Riordan rounding to score under the posts to make it 7-0 to Old Belvedere. Nure weren’t deterred, and put together some great phases to earn a penalty, which they kicked into the corner. A superb lineout maul edged its way over to allow Kevin O’Neill to dot down, with Swaine’s conversion levelling the scores.
Belvo edged in front again with a well taken penalty, before both sides missed chances at goal. On the stroke of half time, Harrison Brewer barrelled over, only to be held up by the Belvo pack. From the resulting scrum, our eight got a huge shove on, forcing Belvo to collapse the scrum and concede a penalty try. 14-10 at half time, and a huge psychological boost.
The visiting team had the better of the opening exchanges in the second half, eventually forcing their way over from close range to retake the lead 17-14. Swaine levelled matters with another penalty, before things started to drift away from Nure. Robbie Smyth was shown yellow for a high tackle, with Belvo taking the points to lead 20-17 as time dripped away. From a 22 restart, Belvedere’s replacement tighthead was shown a straight red card for a spear tackle on Marc Hiney, and Nure went to work. The forwards worked their way up the right touchline, before playing it wide to stretch the Belvo defence. Hiney provided the incisive break, spotting the gap and putting Swaine away to score. He converted his own score, and Nure saw out the remaining minutes to win 24-20.
As seems to be the case every week now, other results provided both encouragement and despair, with both university sides winning handsomely. However, defeats to Garryowen and St Mary’s have them back in the mix again, only one and three points ahead of us respectively. It’s going to be another nailbiting finish to the season!
Make sure to have a look at Peter and Philip’s excellent photos from the game!