Despite some notable improvements from their first outing of the season last weekend against St Mary’s, Dublin University Football Club (DUFC) were ultimately left wanting once more after their loss at College Park against Terenure yesterday.
It was a sloppy start to the game from both sides, with DUFC earning an early penalty from kickoff, which was calmly converted by Micheál O’Kennedy. This perfect start was short-lived however, with an accurate kick-off from Terenure leading to immediate pressure on DUFC’s defence, and earning them a penalty in front of the posts, tying the game at 3-3 after 4 minutes.
Terenure continued to mount pressure early in the first half, with a vital side-line tackle from Liam McMahon saving a further points deficit in the opening minutes for DUFC.
Soon after, DUFC grabbed the first try of the game: a well-executed grubber from O’Kennedy slipped through the hands of the Terenure back and was gathered and finished in the corner by McMahon.
DUFC grew into the game as the first half progressed, displaying particular dominance in the scrum. However, errors in the lineout by both teams displayed clear room for improvement on the training ground.
As it happens, it was from a Terenure lineout on the DUFC 5 metre line that led to the Trinity team’s second try. Managing to physically counter the Terenure maul from the lineout, a smart steal on the try line from Giuseppe Coyne led to a blistering counter-attack which was well finished at the opposite end by Aran Egan.
With both tries being finished in the corner, O’Kennedy was unable to add the extras for either. Despite conceding a penalty on the stroke of half time, DUFC found themselves in a strong position, leading 13-6 to the start of the second half.
Terenure came out of the blocks much quicker than their counterparts, with DUFC facing immediate pressure from kickoff. A great piece of wing play from Terenure’s Craig Adams and a well-taken conversion by James Thornton saw Trinity’s first-half lead disappear with only a minute played in the second half, the scores tied up at 13-13.
The DUFC side struggled to gain much flow in attack as the second half progressed and, despite earning some penalties in good positions, some disappointing kicking meant DUFC failed to take advantage of the few opportunities they had to gain points in the second half.
These same errors were not mirrored in Terenure’s kicks, however, with the visiting side converting three penalties by the 75th minute to increase their lead to 22-13.
A late penalty converted in front of the posts by substitute Harry Colbert was enough to give the home team some hope in the closing stages of the match. However, despite a strong attacking finish by Trinity, Terenure’s defence stood firm, earning them a penalty in the ruck to close off the game.
Speaking to The University Times after the match, DUFC head coach Tony Smeeth gave the following thoughts on the home defeat: “The first half I thought was good and then we became inaccurate. Rugby is all about when the ball goes forward and we weren’t winning the ball and we weren’t going forward then. Then we were just defending and that’s just the way the game is”.
“At the end of the day they kicked the penalties and we didn’t. I thought they deserved it.”
A strong defensive performance in the closing minutes left DUFC with some positives to build on for their next match, however consistency with ball in hand will need to improve if they are to pick up their first result of the season against Lansdowne.