A heavy defeat at the hands of University of Ulster Jordanstown (UUJ) ended Trinity’s hopes of silverware in the Division Two hurling final, which took place in Dundalk IT on Thursday night. Even with a significant number of players out injured or tied up with club commitments, the Trinity team will still be bitterly disappointed to have been on the receiving end of a 5-14 to 0-9 defeat.
After a convincing win over Tralee IT in the semi-final, Trinity were looking forward to their first ever appearance in the league final and the chance of a historic victory. As momentous first outings go, it was an education. An electric performance from UUJ lit up the Dundalk IT stadium and on the day they proved too much for a stretched Trinity panel to handle.
UUJ had a dream start, taking a commanding lead within ten minutes courtesy of a goal from play and another from a well taken penalty. Trinity were missing their captain and stalwart centre back, Conor McDonnell, through injury, which left the defence having to reorganise on the fly. As a result they came under relentless pressure, but Cillian Heaney stepped to the mark with some strong tackles, allowing the forwards to get on the ball and earn back some much needed Trinity points.
However, UUJ’s had already taken a commanding lead and, in truth, never looked like surrendering it. Their front six had started very brightly and grew in confidence as the first half developed, running powerfully with the ball, breaking tackles and finding goal with unerring accuracy. Despite the best efforts of Eoin Skelly between the sticks, Trinity went in at the break trailing 4-8 to 0-4.
Trinity struggled to find their stride up front, shaken by the absence of full-forward Conor O’Carroll, also out with an injury. In the second half, UUJ changed the emphasis of their game, content to reign in their marauding forward line and limit Trinity’s threat through Fionn O’Riann Brinn’s long range frees. With the wind at their backs and the scoreline in their favour UUJ were playing with a swagger. Cian O Dulaing worked notably hard in midfield to prevent Trinity from being overrun. Instead, the two sides traded points until the team from Ulster, who had been deadly in front of goal all evening, sealed the victory with their fifth and final goal. Unphased by the scoreline, Trinity made the most of the occasion and battled valiantly until the final whistle.
The cup run was exciting for the entire club and there’s no doubt the Trinity hurlers, having had a taste of the atmosphere, will work hard to be back to try claim the league next year. For now, they must focus on the lessons they’ve learned for the rest of the season.