DUAFC fail to click in frustrating home defeat

The students were outmuscled in College Park against a physical Maynooth side

Maynooth University 1

DUAFC will rue their missed chances, as they stumbled to a 1-0 defeat at home to Maynooth University on Tuesday. The college team were unable to find their rhythm for most of the game, while Maynooth’s physicality was their strength in an otherwise unremarkable game at College Park. It is Trinity’s second defeat in this year’s College and Universities Football League, after last week’s 7-0 whitewash at UCD.

In the early stages, both sides tested the waters and looked to string some moves together, but neither could get a foothold in the game. Trinity attempted to drill some long balls into striker Ronan Hanaphy, but there were no clear-cut chances for the in-form striker. The home side’s defence were shaky however, and Maynooth managed to sneak past the back four and test goalkeeper Devin Connolly.

As the hosts struggled up front, Maynooth seized the opportunity and applied pressure on the Trinity goal, leaving Connolly with plenty to do between the posts; his brave performance was the only thing stopping Maynooth from opening the scoring. Maynooth struggled at the set-piece, as corner after corner failed to pose any real threat to the home side.

However, on 31 minutes the deadlock was broken. After a promising attack, the Maynooth midfield tapped it out to Cian Hughes, whose close-range effort swirled past Connolly to give the visitors the lead. Trinity’s energy dropped significantly, and never looked like offering a response before half-time. Maynooth easily contained the home side and held onto their lead at the break.

With the second half underway, Trinity pushed for an equaliser by upping the tempo of their attack. However, their new sense of urgency undid their forward momentum. Midfielder Rory Nairn in particular was guilty of taking too heavy a touch before being dispossessed, and the home side’s frustration grew as time ran out. Maynooth on the other hand came close to doubling their lead, with Connolly having to do far more than his defence should have allowed.

However, manager Richie Maguire brought on some fresh players and Trinity came to life in the final quarter. As Maynooth attempted to slow down the pace of the game, the re-energised hosts began to pose a serious threat to the visitor’s goal. Substitutes Ivan McConville and Niall Barr looked particularly dangerous, and the students’ play was suddenly infused with an enjoyable flow. Clever moments of interplay between right-back Evan McCroary and playmaker Chris Straesle created precious opportunities, with Straesle coming very close to scoring late on.

Maynooth found it difficult to cope with the shift in momentum and their discipline began to crumble. Fouls started to creep into the game, and the visitors were shown three yellow cards for their excessive physicality in the match’s final throes. Trinity were even awarded a free kick just outside the box with ten minutes to go, but Brian Foley’s effort scraped past the post. In the end, Maynooth clung on to come away from College Park with all 3 points.

Reflecting on a disappointing result, Hanaphy admitted that the college team, different from the club side, will take some time to get to know each other: “It’s only the second time we’ve played together; we need more time to gel and get used to the way we play.

“We didn’t get the chances up front; I thought we set up well, and it worked for the most part. It was a good goal – you can’t really argue with that, they caught us on the break. We just couldn’t finish today.”

Trinity continue their CUFL campaign away to DIT on Wednesday October 24.

Cameron Hill

Cameron Hill was the Sports Editor of Trinity News for Michaelmas 2018. He is a Senior Fresh English Literature and French student.