Trinity U20s 28pts Clontarf 26pts.
With the 1st XV resting on a bye weekend, Trinity U20s had their first game of the New Year against Clontarf. It was a case of second place Trinity against 3rd place Clontarf.
The visitors started strongly and played their best rugby in the opening 10 minutes. They ran up a 16-3 lead as they easily got field position off a very rusty looking Trinity squad. They kicked three penalties and were awarded a controversial penalty try when a Clontarf player had kicked through and one of their chasers was judged to have been taken out 30 metres from the goalline?
The momentum of the game changed in Trinity’s favour on 25 minutes when Trinity eventually found some continuity and right wing Bryan Mollen scored in the corner. From this point on a much needed energy came into the students game that up until then was badly lacking.
16-8 at half time was about right on the run of play, although Clontarf never really looked like creating anything with ball in hand, they were living off the students many mistakes.
In the second half Trinity lifted their game and from a line out close in they drove the big visiting pack over their line for a well-worked try. The forwards were also totally dominant at scrum time pushing their opponents off several of their own feeds.
Incredibly off the restart from scoring, under no pressure Trinity threw a loose pass and then compounded this by not cleaning up the error. Clontarf who must have thought it was still Christmas, swarmed on to the loose ball with their wing just picking up and putting down the ball with no defender in sight!
Trinity down 23-16 never lost heart. Outside centre Cathal Martin was next on the scoreboard when he broke several tackles to score on his debut for the U20s Premier XV to put the scores even at 23 all. But Clontarf off a fast retreating scrum gained a penalty and duly converted to go back ahead.
Trinity continued to pressure, won a line out and out half Tommy Whittle put left wing Colm Hogan through a yawning gap in the Clontarf defence. Hogan who had a busy game on the wing, ran 50 metres before passing to Full back James O’Donovan who scored in the corner. Incredibly Trinity took the lead for the first time with 7 minutes to go. They finished the game out in the Clontarf half.
This crucial bonus point win (for four tries)puts Trinity three points behind UCD in the league table, with the Belfield squad due to visit College Park on January 31st. Trinity must visit always difficult Old Belvedere in Anglesea Road next Sunday.