Trinity 11pts – UCD 10pts; April 5th 2018.
What a night! Trinity brought the Colours Jug back to College Park with a massive effort to beat their Belfield rivals, in a game that doubled as the 66th ‘Colours’ Match and a very important home game in the All Ireland League Division1A.
This game was always going to be a ‘double whammy’ for the eventual winners and losers. The stakes were high and played out in front of an estimated 3000 very vocal crowd.
UCD with their Irish U20s players at scrum half, out half and inside centre, came out on fire and took away the hosts thunder by playing the game from edge to edge of the width of the pitch.
Trinity’s defence got caught narrow early. UCD Captain Jamie Glynn took advantage of an over stretched cover to scorch through a yawning gap, before drawing the last Trinity defender and putting the Athletic scrum half Patrick Pattison in under the posts. The try was so clinical Trinity supporters could be heard to hold their breath at the thought of what was coming!
UCD continued to attack and their very talented Irish U20s out half Harry Byrne coolly slotted a 35 metre penalty. 10-0 up in five or six minutes, nobody would have predicted a Trinity Victory.
UCD were held up over the line, which would have given them an unassailable 17-0 lead. Trinity worked hard to ‘stick in’ the game at this point in proceedings.
Incredibly this was UCD’s last visit into the Trinity 22 metre zone. Trinity, although seemingly making errors for fun, gradually worked themselves back into the game. Scrum half Angus Lloyd worked his hardest to try and ignite the attack with his fast tempo game. Several promising Trinity attacks were thwarted by the well marshalled defence and poor ball control by Trinity.
Trinity camped in the UCD 22 with three line outs, but failed to get over as they were held up each time. Full back Jack McDermott slotted a close range penalty. Trinity went into half time 10-3 down and coming back hard.
The second half restart started sensationally when *8 Tom Ryan put hooker Paddy Finlay through a gap. Finlay, with his ‘Forrest Gump’ running style, ran deep into the UCD half with the huge crowd roaring their approval. UCD scrambled back, but must have known they were in for tough night as the Trinity forwards began to exert control in all facets and their ball carriers smashed their way into the 22.
The 2nd half became Trinity attack v UCD defence. UCD to their credit have a magnificent defence and they fill the field and are very patient waiting for errors to pounce on with their quick ‘line speed’. Trinity did not always display the patience required and coughed the ball up after multiple phases several times.
Jack McDermott kicked another penalty ten minutes into the 2nd half as the home team began to take total control.
It was 20 minutes into the second half when the try everyone was waiting for came. Trinity simply battered the Belfield boys defence with wave after wave of attack with Finlay in particular backed up by Tom Ryan; wing Jack Kelly; replacement hooker Dan Sheehan; props James Bollard, Darragh Higgins and Joe Byrne; centres Michael Courtney and Kyle Dixon all making crucial yardage.
Eventually Trinity moved the ball wide, with out half Tommy Whittle just batting the ball on under huge pressure from a desperate UCD defender jamming down on him. Captain Michael Courtney caught the difficult pass and found himself one on one with the fast covering UCD scrum half Pattison. Courtney did an ‘in-out’ swerve taking the smaller UCD defender over the try line with him. The home crowd went wild with excitement as Trinity took the lead for the first time 11-10.
Off the restart Trinity kept the pressure on, with their scrum now totally in control. They introduced their bench early, with everyone contributing mightily.
The Home team just owned the ball and territory with Tommy Whittle calling the shots and pinning the visitors deep in their own half, but incredibly UCD kept them out.
As long as the score remained 11-10, you always had the fear that one of the UCD stars could break out and run the pitch for an unlikely try. Very late in the game they did get into the Trinity half once and forced a 40M penalty for offside. Harry Byrne into a stiff breeze never really got close with his kick – Jack McDermot caught the ball and incredibly ‘wellied it’ 60 metres to touch, much to the relief of the home supporters.
Trinity regained control, and played the game out in the UCD third of the field. When the referee blew the whistle for full time, the supporters invaded the field, as the players hugged each other in relief and total exhaustion! Trinity had incredibly won the game and secured the ‘Colours’ win and safety in the top echelon in club rugby in Ireland.
15 Jack McDermott 14 Jack Kelly, 13 Michael Courtney, 12 Kyle Dixon, 11 Evan Dixon, 10 Tommy Whittle, 9 Angus Lloyd, 1 James Bollard, 2 Patrick Finlay, 3 Martin Kelly, 4 Jack Burke, 5 Alex MacDonald, 6 Sam Pim, 7 Dave St Leger, 8 Tom Ryan,
Subs; Phil Murphy, Rowan Osborne, Niall O’Riordan, Jack Dunne, Darragh Higgins, Joe Byrne, and Dan Sheehan
Click here to watch a video of the winning try: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPHWEMkUvqg&feature=youtu.be