DUFC women’s beat a resilient Arklow side 24-19 to bounce back after last week’s defeat to league leaders, Balbriggan. The game was played under the floodlights in College Park on Friday night.
Niamh O’Kelly Lynch was the hero for Trinity as she scored all four tries on the night, which were enough to see off Arklow despite a late surge by the visitors in bitterly cold conditions.
Charlotte Bowen began the game by kicking off in an unfamiliar white kit to distinguish from the red and black of Arklow. Arklow conceded an early penalty and Trinity kicked for the corner; penalties were a theme of the early exchanges of the game as 6 were given within the first 7 or 8 minutes, divided equally between both sides.
Neither side, however, could take their opportunities as they advanced into the oppositions 22 metre line. The conditions were a huge part to play in the deadlock remaining unbroken as both teams made poor handling errors at crucial times. Arklow’s pack dominated in the scrum and Trinity found it difficult to contain the Arklow number 8 as she broke from the scrum and consistently broke the gain line.
It did seem as though Arklow would be first on the scoreboard after a sustained period of pressure following a great solo run by the Arklow full back. She was taken down only metres before the try line. The visitors used their physical superiority to attack the Trinity defense. Captain Molly Boyne led her team heroically to ensure the game remained at 0-0.
The opening try came somewhat against the run of play as Trinity played around with the ball at the halfway line. A clever loop around by Bowen with centre Ciara Grogan opened up the space on the left wing and O’Kelly Lynch used her pace to skip past the full back and break the deadlock.
O’Kelly Lynch added another try soon after and despite two missed conversions, Trinity had a strong foothold in the game at 10-0 and momentum had turned completely in their favour.
O’Kelly Lynch didn’t rest on her laurels and before half time got the ball in her own half and set out once again on a great solo run. Using her terrific pace, she went over the line with Arklow players trailing behind her. A wonderful first half hat trick by the full back and the third conversion left Trinity leading by 17-0 and firmly in the dominant position.
O’Kelly Lynch used her Midas touch once again to start the second half as she finished the first. Running under the posts she scored her fourth try of the game and Boyne converted the kick to make it 24-0 and it seemed as though DUFC would continue to run riot.
However, Arklow didn’t give up and used their pack to their advantage to claw their way back into the game. After scoring their first try, Arklow continued attacking the Trinity line. A glorious offload by Arklow’s second row on the 5 metre line put their prop through to smash over the try line.
After scoring the conversion, Arklow were firmly back in the game at 22-12. Nerves began to set in for Trinity as they tried to overcome Arklow’s onslaught.
Arklow added a third try after attacking the right wing and making their way towards the try line following some great back play. At 24-19 and only minutes remaining, the momentum had completely swung in the opposite direction.
It did seem as though Trinity’s first half work would be undone as they defended on their own line in the dying moments of the game. Fortunately, Trinity were gifted a penalty which allowed them to clear their lines. The final whistle was blown shortly after and a huge sense of relief descended upon College Park.
DUFC women’s coach, Cameron McCrum, speaking to Trinity News after the game stated how their first half play was “some of the best rugby we’ve played all year”.
Speaking about the second half Arklow resurgence, McCrum said “we were a bit shaky in the second half in terms of defense, we leaked a few tries but it’s great to get the win in the end”.
McCrum perfectly summed up the feeling he and many of the spectators shared in the final minutes as Trinity defended their line by saying “I nearly had a heart attack at the end”.
A great win for DUFC women’s and basis to work from for Joe Horan’s side. A phenomenal individual performance by Niamh O’Kelly Lynch on Friday night shows the potential this team has. A very encouraging performance from DUFC women’s going into their game on Wednesday night against UCD.