Lansdowne U20s 16pts – Trinity U20s 15pts
This All Ireland U20s final was a game that both teams could have won, both teams had their opportunities but scrambling defence usually got back to snuff out any scores in front of a packed terrace in Old Belvedere Rugby Club.
Trinity started strongly in the opening minutes into a strong wind. wing Rob Vallejo and flanker Patrick Finlay both went close in that period. Lansdowne with the wind dominated most of the first half and missed three penalties keeping the students in touch. They did manage to get over from a driving maul before half time.
Trinity who had a penalty of their own through out half Oisin Brady finished the half camped on the Lansdowne line, but turned down a very kickable penalty instead going for a try. The teams turned around at half time 11-3 which was about right looking at the run of play.
Lansdowne continued to take the game to Trinity early in the second half. But the students began to get back into the game as they turned defence into counter attack with a well take try when centre James O’Donovan broke free and put wing Rob Vallejo away for a clinical score. From this point on Trinity began to be the aggressors, and they piled on the pressure. Uncharacteristic handling errors let them down several times when looking to be free, plus there were two incredible bounces of the ball that totally evaded chasing players in space.
Trinity then took the lead for the first time after a sweeping handling movement down the right hand sideline ended with James O’Donovan kicking through and forcing a line out, a well worked line out manoever by the forwards drove Patrick Finlay over for a try.
Lansdowne to their credit came back scored a brilliant individual try from their out half Ridgeway who raced half the pitch after a classic double dummy scissors and keep, to score very much against the run of play.
The game then inevitably crept into the final minutes, with Trinity chasing the one point lead. Trinity simply could not get points on the board as they became impatient with only minutes to go, they missed two drop goal attempts and a line out drive on the line, they had an interesting referee decision go against them, when they looked to have gained a penalty under the posts only for the referee to give them another penalty on the sideline after a short ‘penalty advantage’. But in fairness they only had themselves to blame as they failed to take advantage of many scoring opportunities.
Lansdowne held out and won the game and the All Ireland title.
This was a tough lesson for the students, who had only three second year players on the field. With the vast majority of the squad along with a very competitive U20s Pennant XV coming through, the immediate future is in extremely good hands.
Trinity U20s team;
15 Hugh Connors, 14 Brian Mollen, 13 Micheal Courtney (James O’Donovan 30), 12 Ian Kinsley, 11 Rob Vallejo, 10 Oisin Brady (Jack Balbernie 50), 9 Dan Joyce, 1 Eric O’Sullivan, 2 Geoff Moylan, 3 Harry Redmond (Fintan Murphy 50), 4 Conor Gleeson, 5 Cian O’Dwyer, 6 Sam Pim, 7 Patrick Finlay, 8 Niall O’Riordan (Dave St Leger 40) subs not used James Bollard, Dan Hyde and Cormac Blake