Trinity 34pts – Ballymena 19pts; March 5th 2016
Trinity secured at least a home semi final in the League play offs with an impressive win over an Ulster laden Ballymena XV at a sunny College park on Saturday.
This game was 2nd place V 3rd place in AIL 1B. It was also a chance for Trinity to try and revenge a heavy beating in September 36-24 up in Ballymena.
The Students started the game on defence as the Ulster visitors had territory for the early minutes of the game. Trinity stopped the juggernaut ‘Mena’ pack. They then took their multi phase game to the Ulstermen with a certain degree of success. It was a case of well-organized attack Vs well organized defence. But it was the Trinity forwards who got them on the board when they heaved the visiting pack back 20 metres off a line out maul with second row Jack Burke coming up with the try.
The students continued their attack, and from a dominant scrum close in scrum half Angus Lloyd was stopped short of the line, before *8 Tom Ryan pick and went over for a try. Trinity were clearly in their purple patch and inside centre Seb Fromm then carved through the ‘Mena’ defence for a wonderful individual effort. 17-0 Trinity.
Ballymena came back right on half time when their massive full back McBurney crashed over after a heavy bout of pressure on the Trinity line.
In the second half Trinity continued to play some great’ to watch’ rugby, and from a set move right wing Tim Maupin broke free. He was hauled down just short of the line. The ball was quickly recycled and out half Jack McDermott ghosted over against an over stretched defence for a fabulous score.
The game continued at a furious pace, and after several quick fire phases, Seb Fromm broke free down the right wing before putting Tim Maupin in for a well worked try to the delight of the home crowd.
Ballymena then came back hard and after two turnovers deep in Trinity territory, they forced their way over twice through Ulster 3rd string scrum half Dave Shanahan. If they kicked a wide out conversion they might have been in with a shout against the odds with just a few minutes to go. But it was not to be and the game finished with Trinity scoring a try when replacement scrum half Brian Slater orchestrated a brilliant handling movement featuring Seb Fromm who broke the line before passing back to Slater who in turn passed to a trailing Michael Courtney who amazingly scored his first AIL try.
This win puts Trinity into a ‘winner take all’ game at Templeville Road against league leaders St Marys on Friday April 1st at 8pm. This game will most likely decide who gets straight promotion to Division 1A. The loser has to go into the play off with three other teams. 2nd from bottom in 1A either Terenure or Galwegians will be top seed. Ballymena will be the third place who will travel to 2nd place St Marys or Trinity. The fourth spot is still up for grabs with Buccaneers and Old Wesley fighting for that last remaining spot. The highest seed through out the semi final/Final format gets home advantage.
Before then Trinity face the truly formidable UCD squad, in the first ever Colours game in College Park on Wednesday March 23rd – 7.30pm KO. Going on last seasons game (32-30 UCD win) this will be a ‘must see’ game.
Trinity team; 15 Conor Kearns, 14 Tim Maupin, 13 Paddy Lavelle (Michael Courtney 50), 12 Seb Fromm, 11 Jack Fitzpatrick, 10 Jack McDermott,9 Angus Lloyd (Brian Slater 60), 1 Eric O’Sullivan, 2 Patrick Finlay, 3 Andrew Keating (Tom Collis 60), 4 Raef Tyrell, 5 Jack Burke, 6 Nick McCarthy (Warren Larkin 60), 7 Brian Du Toit (Cian O’Dwyer 20), 8 Tom Ryan.
Photo Credit: Stephen Devine