Beirut Select loses to the Irish UNIFIL Batt 108 INFBN 13 : 7 in the “Friendship Cup”
On Saturday the 2nd of November, the Beirut Select team played a friendly but competitive and highly spirited rugby match against the Irish UNIFL Battalion, at the Lebanese University in Hadath. This match gave the Irish Battalion a chance to bid fare well to Beirut before their return to Ireland.
Both teams had big forwards with the Irish edging out the Beirut Select team with experience due to the absence of 7 players from the Beirut Select team on National Team at the west Asian 7’s in Dubai. It took 15 minutes before the Irish team were awarded a penalty by Irish referee, Olan McCarthy, due to continuous off side by Beirut Select's youthful but keen back row.
Within 5 minutes of the successful conversion of the penalty, the Irish were awarded another penalty, which was again successfully converted. However, with 5 minutes to go to half time, a break by the Beirut Select backs ended up and a try to number 15 and National Team winger, Joe Zeidan to score under the post with a successful conversion by Georges Cassab ending the first half 7 : 6 to Beirut.
The second half proved to be as tough as the first and it was not before half way through that half, that the Irish forwards cracked through the Beirut defencive line to score and successfully convert to make the score 13 – 7. Beirut had a number of chances to score a number of tries, the last being in the dying minute of the match by scrum half Georges Cassab who was miracliously tackled with no one to beat by one of the Irish backs. With that, the referee blew the whistle and the final score was 13 – 7.
Beirut Select guest coach, Technical Director of Coaching for the Irish Rugby Union Federation, Steve Abboud was very encouraged by the young Beirut Select team and praised them for their determination. At the end of the game, the LRUF Chairman, Alex Jammal and Lt Col Anthony McKenna of Irish Battalion exchanged plaques and words of encouragement to both teams.