First XV lose final game of cup campaign

By Michael Gaskin

Senior League Cup, Trinity sought to get their early season back on track with a win against arch rivals UCD following back-to-back losses to Old Belvedere and Clontarf. Those heavy defeats against, admittedly tough, opposition meant that going into the UCD game they could not progress from the pool. However it was a chance to shine in a very tough physical match for players looking to break into the first team ahead of their AIL Division 2 opener against Queen’s University on 2 October.

Trinity began positively with early pressure being applied to UCD in the ruck, but ill-discipline then cost the away side as they gave away two easy penalties. With the wind blowing across the pitch UCD failed to capitalise on either, their fly-half firing wide with both attempts. In a game that was littered with knock-ons and poor line-outs, turnover of the ball was extremely high with very little in the way of good phase play on display.

It was Trinity who eventually put the first points on the board. After a scrum on the UCD 22 the ball was worked wide to the Trinity wing where UCD eventually gave away a penalty for coming in at the side of the ruck. Trinity’s inside centre struck the ensuing kick sweetly to put his team 3-0 up after ten minutes.

Almost immediately after the restart Trinity had a chance to stretch their lead even further, however, after some impressive defence from the entire UCD side Trinity’s scrum-half was hauled down just short of the line, after looking certain to score in the corner. UCD came away with the ball and after slowly but surely working their way up field, they earned themselves a penalty which, at the third time of asking, was duly converted. Shortly after the restart UCD went down to 14 men after their lock was yellow carded for dangerous play in the ruck. During the next ten minutes UCD held tight while under increasing pressure from Trinity who sought to gain from their numerical advantage.

On the return, to their full compliment, UCD got what was ultimately the match deciding score by running in a well worked try that put them 8-3 up after 33 minutes. With scores very hard to come by due to the slippery conditions, Trinity could feel that they were still in touch with an increasingly dominant UCD side after they missed the conversion.

This hope was all but diminished minutes later when, with two minutes left until half time, Trinity went down to 14 men and further behind when UCD converted a penalty that resulted from Trinity forwards coming in at the side.

Midway through the second half Trinity pulled back three points, and most supporters in attendance felt that Trinity were still in with a chance. However this was the best it was to get for Trinity as UCD started to ring the changes and shut up shop for the rest of the game. They did have a chance to tie the game late on with a try, but showed it was not only UCD who left their handling skills at home by knocking the ball on just as they were beginning to stretch the UCD defence.

The match then petered out into a pattern of turnovers between the 22s that really summed up the match as a whole, the weather preventing neither team from playing any sort of expansive rugby. It finished 6-11; next up is the Dudley Cup on 25 September.