DULFC succumbed to a late penalty in a hard fought clash with SSI league Champions Carlow I.T. on Wednesday afternoon. Despite the delay in kick-off due to Carlow leaving their gear behind, the match was frenetic from the beginning.The glare of the low early spring sun was replaced by a shower of hailstones just as the first ball was kicked, and the early tempo seemed to match the weather as both teams struggled for space with tackles flying in from every angle.
It was during this period that Trinity enjoyed a spell of dominance as they set up shop inside the Carlow 22 metre line. But firm tackling and organised defending prevented DULFC getting over the line for what seemed like an inevitable 5 points.
Strong Carlow Play
After this initial siege, the balance of power shifted in Carlow’s favour. A superbly taken line-break from the Carlow put Trinity on the back foot inside their 10 metre line. Once again defense prevailed however, as winger Alex Lynch intercepted a wayward Carlow pass and the lines were cleared. Play continued at a lively place with offensive errors at crucial moments keeping the scoreboard clean.
This impressive patch of attacking rugby continued for Carlow as a darting run by their captain was halted with an excellent tackle by Trinity Fly-half and captain Niamh Byrne. Moments later, just before half-time, a golden opportunity presented itself for Carlow as their Winger steamed down the wing through oceans of space with a clear path to the try-line, however she cut back inside to her support and was brought to ground.
The physicality of the match took it’s toll however as both sides suffered a number of injuries. Trinity scrum-half Aislinn Glynn had to be substituted and the match was frequently interrupted for medical assistance to be provided. The half ended with a serious neck injury to a Carlow player, requiring an ambulance to be called.
Importance of Field Position
From the restart at halftime the match remained nip and tuck, with the only advantage being Carlow’s superior kicking skills. On a number of occasions they pinned Trinity inside their own half as they threaded the needle between the back-line. Responding kicks from DULFC couldn’t match the power or accuracy of their opponents and for most of the game Trinity had inferior field-position when starting attacks.
This would prove to be crucial as they muscled their way into Trinity territory with their excellent field position. Although, they were kept at bay with some excellent defending there was a growing sense that they wouldn’t leave Trinity’s 22 without putting some points on the board.
They got their opportunity when Trinity conceded a penalty 15 yards from the post. This was duly dispatched by the Carlow captain and with 5 minutes to go, the scoreline read 3-0 in their favour. Carlow once again attacked well after the restart and if not for some excellent tackling by Molly Boyne and a knock-on just at the line, they could have added more points.
Despite this, Trinity must have felt hard-done by to have lost a match during which they enjoyed an extended period of attacking dominance. They can take positives from their organised defense and some blistering line-breaks. While this is a third loss in a row for DULFC, a close loss to the League champions is a sign of an improving team that will be difficult to beat down the stretch.
Photos by Michael Foley