A patchy performance with occasional displays of brilliance was the undoing of DULFC in a blistering contest in College Park. A fine, clear Wednesday afternoon proved to provide the perfect conditions for a day of breakneck attacking rugby with both sides delighting the spectators in an end-to-end match. But while the scoreline certainly flattered their opponents, Trinity will need to improve in a number of areas to break their 4 game losing record.
DCU were much faster out of the gates and within 5 minutes they were under the posts for their first try of the match. Great link up play between Meabh Donohue and Kate Cullen outwitted the Trinity back line for an easy try under the posts.
This was followed up 5 minutes later with Donohue touching down with a superb sweeping pass from Cullen. The only saving grace for Trinity was the fact that they missed both conversions, leaving the score at 10 – 0 with it all to play for.
Gradually though, DULFC began to build up a head of steam as they enjoyed a 15 minute spell inside their opponent’s territory. Some excellent play in the breakdown allowed Trinity to force turnovers, something which set them up with great field position. Excellent darting runs from captain Niamh Byrne, who was injured in the second half, and their wingers created plenty of scoring opportunities.
The turnovers went both ways however as Trinity had a number of unforced errors, exasperating their coaches. On one such occasion a knock on from a scrum 15 yards from the line, which were uncontested due to Trinity missing a prop, brought a brilliant passage of play to a halt.
Fortunately for Trinity, 5 minutes later they crossed the line with an incisive pass from their full-back to make the score 10-7 after they added the conversion. The scoreline seemed a fair reflection of play, but there was a sense that DULFC should have put more points up on the board during this period, something which would come back to haunt them.
The score remained the same for the rest of the half with both sides frequently knocking the ball on, undoing some excellent attacking play. From the restart, the DCU fly-half executed a perfectly weighted grubber kick and even though the Trinity full back pounced on the ball and booted it out of touch, DCU had a line-out 10 metres out from the try-line.
Once again, the Trinity defense held firm and with 20 minutes to go their backline offloaded well to force DCU back into their own half with a piercing run from Alex Lynch. Another frustrating knock-on cost DULFC dearly however and it seemed like they had come up short at a crucial point in the contest.
This turnover would in fact prove pivotal as DCU began to force their way up the field, dodging tackles from an evidently tired Trinity back-line. Their scrum-half, Niamh Griffin, darted under the posts and this time there was no mistake with the conversion. Five minutes later, Kate Cullen burst down the cricket pitch flank and put the game out of reach.
Meabh Donohue added her second try 2 minutes from the end to put the final score at 27-7. A comprehensive victory in the end, but for large periods of the match Trinity were much the better side, displaying greater creativity in their attacks as well as subduing the DCU backs with some punishing tackles.
Trinity were let down by their handling errors and some slow passing, with players not positioned properly to test the DCU backline. However, the most frustrating thing for DULFC was their inconsistency. A Jekyll and Hyde type performance such as this shows that they can, at times, play brilliant rugby – but lack the concentration to sustain this level of play for 80 minutes.