Trinity 28pts UCD 15pts. March 23rd 2016
At last! Trinity won its first Colours encounter since 2012 last night in a jam-packed College Park.
The game was very similar in style to last year when Trinity dominated the game but lost. But this year the result was different as Trinity got the end game right and won out convincingly in the end. The game started the way Trinity like to play as they took UCD through 15 phases off the kick off, ending with out half Jack McDermott kicking beautifully into the corner against a stretched visitors’ defence.
UCD did not see the ball for the first 15 minutes but you have to credit its defence which was extremely well marshalled and aggressive in the tackle. Trinity missed a very kickable penalty and then, off a turnover, Irish U20s out half Ross Byrne kicked through for his speedy backs to get the touch down – Irish sevens star Barry Daly coming up with the opportunistic but brilliantly taken try.
UCD always looked dangerous with ball in hand, especially out wide with Leinster academy stars Adam Byrne, Billy Dardis and speedster Daly looking dangerous on the break. With Irish U20s and Academy half backs Byrne and Nick McCarthy (Ireland U20s captain) pulling the strings they were very potent behind the scrum. Teak tough Leinster *8 Padar Timmons, fresh off a Pro 12 game with Glasgow last week, carryied the hard yards, along with Ireland U20s loose-head prop sensation Jeremy Loughman who was also on Pro 12 duty last week with Leinster. When you add in Irish U20s and Leinster Academy products second row Jack Dwan, hooker Sean McNulty and Leinster A flanker Charlie Cregan this was indeed a formidable challenge for the city based University. That said, Trinity played all the rugby in the first half, limiting UCD to only one set piece in their own half – an amazing stat.
Trinity bounced back straight after the UCD try with a superb try of their own as inside centre Seb Fromm scythed through the UCD defence before timing his pass to perfection and putting the diminutive Max McFarland away for a try. UCD seemed to struggle containing the big Trinity centre combination of Seb Fromm and Paddy Lavelle who, along with wing Tim Maupin, seemed to break the line on every almost every attempt. But despite all this possession and pressure it was UCD out half Ross Byrne who put his team in front with a penalty for Trinity collapsing a line out maul illegally just before half time on a rare sortie into the Trinity half. 8-7 UCD at half time.
Trinity came out in the second half with the slight breeze at their backs. They had lost out half Jack McDermott with an ankle injury and full back Conor Kearns moved into emergency 10. Kearns put all his freakish skills on view for the huge crowd, as he kicked long raking kicks with both feet, and attacked the line at every opportunity -offloading the ball in a fashion that Sonny Boy Williams would have been proud of! He also brought a solid tackling game to the out half position. He was aided by scrum half Angus Lloyd who played the game at such tempo you could see the Belfield lads gasping for air as he got the ball away with such precision and speed. Kearns kicked two penalties which put Trinity up 13-7 and looking totally in command. Trinity lost centre Fromm with a hamstring injury, he was replaced by the highly motivated Michael Courtney who ran hard and tackled everything that came his way and others!
But UCD, although totally on the back foot, still managed to take the lead back from Trinity. On their only sustained visit into the Trinity 22 in the entire game they scored after several physical phases in the Trinity 22 and after showing their power near the line. 15-13 with 15 minutes to go Trinity must have wondered what they had to do to put away their rivals?
But, up front, the Trinity pack (who started the game with a few errors) but settled and became more dominant as the game wore on and, in the end, the pack had total dominance over their illustrious opponents. Trinity threw everything at the UCD defence and inevitably won a scrum on the UCD 5M line. The pack, much to the approval of the massive home crowd, heaved the massive UCD pack back toward their line. The referee had absolutely no choice but to award Trinity a penalty try as *8 Tom Ryan was tackled as he dived in to score on the back of the fast moving scrum. 20-15 to Trinity. Trinity never stopped attacking and the backs put Max McFarland away again. After several phases Trinity kicked a penalty under the posts to go 23-15 up. Off the restart UCD did mount a challenge but missed a long-range penalty to get back into the game.
The Trinity pack was just incredible in open play particularly late on, Props Eric O’Sullivan and Andy Keating out scrummaged their opposites and carried and tackled tirelessly. Same with the second rows. Jack Burke never stopped hitting rucks and tackling along with his co partner Raef Tyrell who smashed anything in blue!! Raef was replaced by Cian O’Dwyer who did the same and dominated the late line outs in the game. In the back row Captain Nick McCarthy linked, ran and tackled in his own unique style and Dermot O’Flynn on his first 1st XV game since September tackled and poached and cleared ball all night long. *8 Tom Ryan matched his illustrious opponent and carried the hard yards as always. He also made several cover tackles on very talented backs in open play.
The undoubted man of the match was Trinity hooker Patrick Finlay, who’s all action game was a delight to watch, he carried ball 20+ times through out the game and managed several steals over the ball. He was simply outstanding in a great team effort by the boys in white.
The game became quite fractured in the dying minutes. Trinity replacement scrum half Brian Slater made several half breaks and created some nice movement. Trinity replacement flanker Warren Larkin forced a turnover and *8 Tom Ryan broke blind off the ruck, handed off the UCD scrum half and ran by their *7. It was then a stretch of the legs for the big Glenstal back rower who was superb on the night. He raced in from 60 meters out much to the delight of the delirious Trinity supporters.
This is of course a great win and performance for this Trinity squad, who are in a good vein of form. Now, after enjoying the night, they face top of the 1B league St Mary’s next Friday, who themselves have only lost one league game all season. This game will ultimately decide who gets top spot and automatic promotion. Fingers crossed for the boys in white!!
Trinity team; 15 Conor Kearns, 14 Tim Maupin, 13 Paddy Lavelle, 12 Seb Fromm (Michael Courtney 50), 11 Max McFarland, 10 Jack McDermott (Jack Fitzpatrick 15), 9 Angus Lloyd (Brian Slater 58), 1 Eric O’Sullivan, 2 Patrick Finlay (Matt McCann 68), 3 Andrew Keating (Tom Collis 75), 4 Jack Burke, 5 Raef Tyrell (Cian O’Dwyer 35), 6 Nick McCarthy (Conor Gleeson 70), 7 Dermot O’Flynn (Warren Larkin 70), 8 Tom Ryan.