COLLEGE PARK — Dublin University Football Club has a massive slate of matches lined up for what can only be called Super Saturday/Sunday. The weekend kicks off on Saturday at 2.30pm in College Park as the Trinity Rugby senior side (6th AIL, 34pts) plays St. Mary’s (7th AIL, 31pts) in a battle to remain in the top six of the AIL 1A table.
“The match against St. Mary’s is important for three main reasons,” explained Trinity head Coach Tony Smeeth during the week. “First off it is a vital league game and if we win we will be in a good place to avoid the relegation play-off. Secondly, we have had a tremendous rivalry with St. Mary’s over the past two seasons, with both of us winning close games. Lastly, if they are all fit to play, St. Mary’s could field as many as an incredible 7 ex-Trinity players including our last two captains in Nick McCarthy and Paddy Lavelle.”
A win for the first side could potentially move them up into fifth place above UCD only two weeks before the long-awaited Colours match on April 7.
The weekend’s rugby action doesn’t stop there, though.
Sunday’s matches in College Park feature a development side doubleheader as the Trinity 2nd XV take to the field in the Metro League Division 2 promotion battle (12pm) followed by the Trinity U20s hosting Garryowen in the semi finals of the McCarran Cup (2.30pm).
The Senior 2nd XV have already won the league out-right with only one loss to show throughout the entire season. However, due to a quirk in the rules of the league, they can only gain promotion by beating Naas tomorrow, making the match ever more important.
“Tomorrow’s match is going to be tough, though, as we face a strong Naas XV who we have beaten twice in league play,” said Smeeth. “We have home advantage so hopefully the 2nds can keep up their season-long form and get the club promotion to the Metro 1 league.”
The day will come to a rousing close Sunday afternoon as the Trinity U20s face Garryowen in the Mccarron Cup semi finals. The team’s strong play throughout the season has rightfully earned them a home semi final, home-field advantage thankfully playing into Trinity’s hands accordingly.
Garryowen are not a team that will rollover, though. They come into tomorrow’s match having just won the Munster U20s playoffs, previously taking third in their league. Sitting on top of that pressure is the fact that seven of the regular U20s side will suit up for the first team match against St. Mary’s.
Smeeth asserted his belief in the team, though, saying, “We are under no illusions that this will be an extremely tough game for our boys against a physically very big team. The U20s have played some superb rugby this season against all comers…and we hope we can impose our game plan on the visitors.”
The position of all three sides across the varying levels of the Trinity Rugby program highlights the strong season DUFC has been enjoying and hopes to build off of going into the future. The performance of the non-first sides underscores the importance of every level of the club and each team’s contribution to the progressive development of Trinity players throughout their time here at university.
“We always say that playing for Trinity is a four or five year project,” explained Smeeth once again. “We always need a strong 2nd XV, as it is those guys who push the 1st XV players for their places. We would have had 45 players at training just for two teams tonight, its incredibly competitive to make the 2nd XV for this Sunday.”
Smeeth also took the opportunity to look back at Trinity’s match against Oxford just over a week ago, a match that was so filled with non-first side players “. “Trinity only played three 1st XV players V Oxford last week. The fringe players stepped up to the task to win comfortably against good opposition. It has to be good for the culture of the club that the boys can just step in like that.”
So, 2.30pm Saturday, 12pm Sunday and 2.30pm Sunday….Make sure to come out, be loud, and support the lads!
As always, C’MON Trinity!