Queen’s University came out on top 29 – 24 against University College Dublin in the Dudley Cup challenge match on Friday evening at the Dub.
With UCD having previously taken ownership of the Dudley Cup last month, by defeating University College Cork, the Belfast side lay down the challenge for their Dublin rivals to travel to Belfast to defend their title in a entertaining encounter under the Friday Night Lights at the Queen’s Sports Arena.
Both teams looked to entertain in an evening that encouraged open rugby. Queen’s started with some intent and took a 7 – 0 lead after 10 minutes by virtue of their lineout maul being brought down inches short of the UCD line. However the Dublin side replied before the end of the first quarter with David Heavey going over out wide after a period of sustained possession.
Queen’s replied minutes later with James Catterson rampaging through the centre to cross close to the posts and with Robbie Johnston adding the extras the Belfast side eased their lead out to 14 – 5.
The visitors enjoyed their best spell in the third quarter with David Ryan and Jonny Guy both crossing, the second converted by Luke Maloney to put the Dublin side in front 14 – 17 as half time approached. However, Queens were able to find a bit extra before the break and Rory Bell crossed out wide to give Queen’s a two point lead before the break.
The visitors were quick out of the blocks at the start of the second half with Rob Hughes finding the line at the bottom of a ruck and with Maloney adding the extras UCD were back in front 19 – 24.
The scoring rate slowed somewhat after that but Queen’s looked to be getting on top as play concentrate in the UCD half. The Belfast side pulled level at the end of the third quarter through an unconverted try from Michael Orr and they pulled clear with minutes remaining thanks to replacement Ali Burke. The try went unconverted to give Queens a 29 – 24 win.