The Universities Festival of Rugby took place in Terenure College on Saturday. The Festival is a new initiative by The Irish Universities Rugby Union, featured the four marquee Irish University competitions, The historic Dudley cup for the senior teams, the Conroy Cup for the U20s teams. The Maughan Scally Trophy for the respective Junior squads, and the Kay Bowen Trophy for the University Women’s teams.
Trinity fielded five teams, one in each of the four tournaments and the U20s Pennant stepped in at the last moment to replace Queens in the U20s category.
It was a successful day as Trinity won both the Dudley Cup and the Conroy Cup with the J3/J4 taking runners up in the Maughan Scally Trophy.
In the Dudley Cup Trinity had to overcome last years winners Queens who they destroyed 43-12, played some solid rugby in difficult windy conditions. The forwards pretty much won every ball, which made it difficult for the Queens lads to mount a challenge. They did get an interception on half time to give them hope, but otherwise they were forced to defend throughout the contest.
In the Final Trinity faced a well-drilled UCC team. But as in the Queens game, the Trinity forwards dominated possession and UCC struggled to win any ball to get their skillful attack in motion. The first half was competitive, but as the game wore on Trinity won out 28-0.
Incredibly this was the first time Trinity has won the Dudley Cup since 1995! It was good for the coaches to use the full senior squad with many players getting the opportunity to wear the white shirt of the 1st XV. Next week its back to AIL action, Trinity host Belfast Harlequins in College Park.
Perhaps the highlight of the day for Trinity was the winning of the U20s Conroy Cup for the third year in a row. Trinity defeated NUIG Corinthians 37-5 in the first pool game and then struggled to beat a plucky UCC 13-0. In the Final they faced old rivals from Belfield loaded with representative players. As per usual the game was extremely physical.
Trinity with the wind played most of the rugby in the first half moving the ball at every opportunity, they kicked a penalty through out half Jack Balbernie and should possibly have scored at least one or two tries if they had more composure in the score zone. UCD scored a well taken try, when they turned the ball over and moved it wide to score totally against the run of play.
7-3 up at half time and with the very strong wind in their favour, UCD must have been confident that they could take the Cup back to Belfield, UCD defence was well marshaled and very physical. But Trinity against all the odds lifted their game with the forwards dominating possession. Trinity moved up the field to gain field position deep in the UCD 22 metre area. They camped out on the UCD line, and eventually flanker Toby Boyd crashed over to score the vital try. Balbernie kicked a penalty later, and Trinity held on to win for the third time in a row 11-7. Special mention must go to centre Michael Courtney who has played on all three of those Conroy Cup winning teams!
Trinity U20s cannot enjoy the win that much, as they face UCD in JP Fanagan action next Sunday in Belfield Bowl.
Trinity J3 beat NUIG 10-5 in a game they should have won easier. They followed this up with a win over UCC 5-0 and this qualified them for the final V UCD.
In the Final Trinity started strongly and took the lead with a well-taken try. Trinity looked good in the first half as they moved the ball at every opportunity. In the second half with the strong breeze behind them UCD came back to win 10-5. To give them a well deserved win.
The Trinity Womens with an inexperienced line up lost their first game against a strong NUIG 22-0. But they came back to beat UCC 5-0. The Womens are developing a good deep squad. This experience will be good for everybody involved as they improve with every game.