IT Blanchardstown: 0
Trinity Women’s Soccer triumphed over IT Blanchardstown in a lopsided contest in College Park for their Round 2 match of the Intervarsities Kelly Cup. Right-forward Deirdre Byrne scored all of the home side’s goals, scoring a brace in either half on a cold and damp afternoon.The students now advance to Round 3 match of the Intervarsities Kelly Cup on the back of securing a spot in the College and Universities Football League (CUFL) promotion quarter-finals.
A slick pitch greeted both teams due to the downpour from earlier that morning, and the skies opened to shower the players throughout most of the first half. Trinity and the visitors initially struggled in trying to time their passes due to the conditions with several passes going astray due to the rainfall.
Trinity managed to show the most promise in the early stages, choosing to line-out in a 3-4-3 formation, Byrne and Clare Nolan each flanked striker Aoife Robinson, each causing problems for IT Blanchardstown in their attack. Showcasing her poaching ability, Nolan intercepted an ill-advised pass and broke through the Blanchardstown defence before a final heavy touch saw her knock the ball wide.
It was Robinson’s turn to threaten next and she had a clean strike hit the post and then forced a save from the Blanchardstown keeper. IT Blanchardstown struggled to contain the three-pronged attack of Byrne, Robinson, and Nolan and Byrne opened the scoring with a well-placed strike from the far corner of the Blanchardstown box, earning the home side a deserved lead with 20 minutes gone.
Trinity smelled blood in the water and Robinson forced a double save just 2 minutes later. The red and black were winning all of the individual battles especially in the air, centre-midfielder Niamh Kane was impassable whenever Blanchardstown threatened to attack. If the visitors opted to go short from kick-outs either Kane or defensive stalwart Clíodhna Ní Shé outmuscled their players off of the ball and Kane’s height advantage extinguished and hopes of an aerial contest.
Kane won a clean break and passed the ball wide into space for Nolan who passed across to Byrne for her second on 30 minutes. The tactic of having Kane drop back into space along with the strong defensive showing from Ní Shé allowed both fullbacks, Tini Schelling and Maddie Cassy to consistently attack from deep and further add to the pressure felt by the visitors’ defenders. As the referee blew for the interval, the home side was clearly in their comfort zone and had dictated the pace of the contest.
Team captain Áine Tucker replaced Schelling at half time, but there was no change in Trinity’s tactics. Blanchardstown was struggling to not only keep up with the fast pace of the game but also its physicality as several players were beginning to cramp up. Even when Nolan was replaced by Ali Flaherty 12 minutes into the second half, the onslaught from the Trinity attack continued.
Ní Shé won a physical challenge and raced out of her own half to put Byrne through. Byrne passed across the Blanchardstown box to Robinson whose effort was impressively saved by the keeper. This only seemed to delay the inevitable as not a minute later Byrne secured her hat-trick on 62 minutes. To effectively put the result beyond doubt, Byrne scored a fourth with a simple tap-in from close range after Robinson’s shot was initially saved. The remainder of the contest saw Trinity hold possession and didn’t allow Blanchardstown any opportunity to grab a consolation goal.
Speaking to Trinity News, Áine Tucker attributed the performance to team members’ commitment to both practices and matches this season “We expected today to be a tough match because of our history with Blanchardstown. Last year we met them twice and lost both times by a goal so there is a rivalry there. I think our style of play, physicality, and fitness over Blanch is a testament to the great commitment we’ve had from players to every practice and match this year.”