DUFC fell to current Ulster Bank League champions Cork Constitution today in College park, failing to make it three wins on the bounce after beating Young Munster and Buccaneers in their last two league outings.
Field position proved crucial, as Cork Con — who were trying to avoid their third loss in a row — spent prolonged periods camped in DUFC territory. An early injury to DUFC Number 10 James Fennelly, an excellent touch-finder, allowed Cork Con to claw their way up the field through an, at times, dominant maul — with fewer relieving kicks from DUFC, due to Fennelly’s absence, to push them back.
Cork Con raced to a 14-0 lead after just 16 minutes as their powerful maul caused havoc. Trinity responded with their backline as winger Hugh Connors and full-back Michael Silvester fielded kicks and weaved their way up the pitch with blistering pace. In the 20th minute, DUFC had a line break and a try looked on the cards, but an interception ended the attack.
A few minutes later however DUFC were able to put some points on the board as they forced themselves inside the Cork Con 22. After winning a penalty in front of the posts DUFC decided to take a kick at goal, making the score 14-3 as Christian Byrne chipped the ball over with ease.
It only took five minutes for Cork Con to add another try to their tally however as their number 12 carried over from an attack launched once again by their powerful maul. Tomás Quinlan converted for Cork Con making it 21-3 and leaving DUFC with a mountain to climb.
DUFC refused to give in hoping to at least get within bonus point range. They defended ferociously as Cork Con attacked looking for a fourth try to secure a bonus point for themselves. A crucial turnover by DUFC lock Jack Burke set up a counter-attack but DUFC couldn’t finish leaving them with an 18 point deficit at half-time.
The second half was much more even with Trinity edging the field position as their backs took advantage of the spaces which began to open up as fatigue set in. They simply couldn’t get the ball over the line however as a stout Cork Con defence gave up a number of penalties but refused to allow a try.
While DUFC failed to add to their score tally and allowed a bonus point try in the last 10 minutes as Cork Con scored in the corner — leaving the score 28-3 at the final whistle — they matched their opponents in the second half and had they started the match with the same level of play the result could have been a lot different.
With an important fixture next Friday night against St. Mary’s College in Templeville Road, DUFC Director of Rugby Tony Smeeth, will look to build on today’s performance to get back to winning ways.