Blackrock College 6pts – Trinity U20s 30pts; March 13th
Trinity U20s won the JP Fanagan, Leinster Championships for the first time in the 20+ year history of the prestigious competition. In that time, Trinity has played in five All Ireland U20s Finals (winning twice) and playing in five McCorry Cup finals (winning twice) but never won this competition.
Trinity looked very nervous in the first half and committed more errors than they had in the last six games combined! They dominated possession and territory but were unable to convert opportunities due to poor decision-making and heroic Blackrock defence.
Trinity scored a good try after 20 minutes. Captain Dan Joyce attacked off a ruck and fed *8 Dave St Ledger ….who connected with centre Kyle Dixon…. who cut through and gave the ball back to his captain Joyce ….who passed to Michael Courtney ….who put Bryan Mollen in for a well taken try.
Blackrock came back and on a rare sortie into the Trinity half kicked a penalty.
5-3 up at half time must have worried the students after almost total dominance.
The home team struggled to get the ball as they were steam-rollered in the scrums and struggled to win line out against the students’ well-organized defensive line.
In the second half Trinity settled down and set about building a lead, Out half Tommy Whittle changed tack and put his team deep into Blackrock territory with long raking kicks. The students still kept attacking in wave after wave as they bullied the home team in the collisions. After some nice interplay between backs and forwards, replacement centre James O’Donovan ghosted over by the posts.
Trinity continued to attack and were awarded another penalty, which was kicked to the corner. The forwards now took over; they drove from the line out and the outstanding second row Conor Gleeson came up with the score.
The next score was probably the best of the five tries Trinity scored on the day. *8 Dave St Ledger broke free, after a half break by Michael Courtney, and combined with wing Bryan Mollen who sprinted in from 30 metres for a well taken try.
The last try summed up the power of the forwards. When Blackrock had a scrum feed on their own line, the Trinity pack heaved them back and drove them in for another score.
This was a hugely significant win for the Trinity squad, who for the most part have been together for two seasons. Last season they were unfortunate to lose the All Ireland U20s final 16-15, so this was bitter sweet for the hard working student squad. They did not play well in Stradbrook yesterday, but showed they are a powerful squad and delivered to their long suffering supporters a Leinster U20s championship.
They will now play in the McCorry Cup 1st round V Navan next Sunday. Due to the age group change, Trinity will not be fielding a team in the All Ireland U20s Championship this season.
15 Colm Hogan, 14 Bryan Mollen, 13 Michael Courtney, 12 Kyle Dixon (James O’Donovan 20), 11 James Toal, 10 Tommy Whittle (Jack Balbernie 65), 9 Dan Joyce (Oisin Brady 68), 1 Eoin Corcoran, 2 Joe Horan (Geoff Moylan 68), 3 Darragh Higgins (Fintan Murphy 40), 4 Conor Gleeson, 5 Cian O’Dwyer, 6 Sam Pim (Cormac Blake 65), 7 Toby Boyd (Roghan McMahon 60), 8 Dave St Ledger