NUIG arrived at the South Leinster venue with high hopes of reaching the final on the back of an impressive performance in their Connacht League Final defeat to Sligo the week before. However, they failed to capitalise on their recent momentum and confidence, opening their championship account with a heavy 38-10 defeat to reigning champions UL.
Despite their fatigued performance NUIG still had a strong chance of a final berth, with a victory over UCC, who had beaten NUIG twice in this season’s league, necessary to progress. A precedent had been set at last year’s tournament when NUIG, again twice defeated by the Cork side in the league season, claimed a 12-7 varsity win to progress to the final. Boasting a renewed sense of urgency, NUIG battled the physical UCC, trailing 7-nil at the break. However, the Galway side never let up and, with 5 minutes remaining, found themselves 12-7 ahead and a second consecutive final was in sight.
However, a lapse in concentration in the last play of the game, preceded by a number of careless penalties and a yellow card, opened a gap in defense which UCC duly exploited resulting in NUIG’s defeat by 14-12.
Needless to say, the disappointment was palpable within the squad who had only come together in recent weeks. However, lessons have been learnt and will not be forgotten over the coming months after which NUIG will reform for the 2011-2012 college rugby season. Many thanks to coaches Darragh Keady and Simon Lawless and to the NUIG supporters for their commitment and efforts this season.