DUAFC began their Colleges and Universities League campaign with a game against DCU in College Park last Wednesday afternoon. This season Trinity have been placed in the Premier Division East A, in a group consisting of DCU, DIT and Colaiste Ide.
The two top placed teams in this group will then playoff against the top two from the Premier Division East B for the chance to play in the quarter finals. Judging on their performance in their opening game, Trinity’s footballers will be confident they can progress to the business end of the competition.
Trinity signaled their intent from the outset with midfielder Chris Allen picking up the ball from the tip off and running straight at the DCU defence. This set the tone for a first half that would see DCU pinned back in their own half for large periods.
It wasn’t long until Trinity found the breakthrough they were looking for. Chris Allen, on ten minutes, won a free kick on the left side of the box. As the DCU defence attempted to organize themselves Allen himself curled in a pinpoint cross which Evin O’Reilly headed superbly into the top right hand corner of the net.
Trinity then had to reshuffle their back line midway into the half as centre back John Lavelle went down with a hamstring strain. He was replaced by Colin Hyland, himself just back from injury.
Hyland had to get up to the quick tempo of the game straight away as DCU focused their search for an equalizer through their pacy striker, Oliver Zamardi. However it wasn’t too long before DU doubled their advantage. DCU scrambled clear a corner and the ball broke to Trinity’s full back Michael Storan, 35 yards out from goal. He quickly steadied himself and fired a speculative cross cum shot back into the area.
To his delight the ball curled over stranded goalkeeper Ronan McGann and into the top left hand corner for his first goal of the season. The DCU midfield were finding it difficult to contain their Trinity counterparts, with the midfield diamond of O’Reilly, Allen, Guerin and Ryan bossing the centre of the park.
On the half hour mark the home side were three to the good. Another slick passing move ended in Evin O’Reilly playing in Niall Walsh with a clever through ball. The Trinity striker beat his man with a quick turn of pace before coolly slotting the ball under the legs of the onrushing goalkeeper. Walsh should have put the game to bed moments later, missing a gilt edged chance from five yards after a sublime piece of skill and cross by Lawlor on the right wing. Trinity were almost made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal just before the half time whistle as DCU swept up the pitch and a perfectly weighted cross was delivered into the Trinity box. The crowd breathed a sigh of relief when Zamardi completely scuffed his header when he should have at the very least hit the target.
After the break DCU came out with all guns blazing, intent to show that Trinity weren’t the only team in this game. Trinity weathered this early onslaught however, with centrebacks Conor Molloy and Hyland determined to keep a clean sheet. Goalkeeper Niall O’Carroll was rarely tested but routinely managed to give his team breathing space with some massive clearances.
Manager Jimmy Cumiskey soon introduced some fresh legs in the form of striker Vinny O’Mahoney and midfielder Joe Kennedy and it was not too long before Trinity put together the move of the game to kill the tie off.
Left full Johnny Cummins picked the ball up in his own half, delivered a ball up the wing and after a Cormac Ryan dummy Allen found himself one on one with the keeper. The diminutive midfielder kept his head and selflessly centered the ball for Ryan to slot home into an empty net.
Trinity could have gone on to score two or three more, with substitute O’Mahony in particular terrifying the tired DCU defence with his electric pace. In the end, though, the college can be delighted with their start to this year’s campaign. Manager Cumiskey called it the best performance he had seen from a Dublin University team for “years” and long may their current vein of good form continue.
DUAFC followed this win with a 1-1 draw away to Colaiste Ide. The final game of the group will take place on November 5th, with Trinity facing off against DIT. They will need to maintain their unbeaten record in the competition to be sure of qualification – kick-off in College Park is at 2pm.