Oct 10, 2022

Dominant DUFC Dismantle UCD in Well-Earned Win

Trinity’s blistering beginning to the season continues as they overpower a plucky UCD side 38-24

Valentina MilneContributing Writer

Dublin University Football Club (DUFC) triumphed 38-24 against a determined UCD side at College Park on Saturday.

In 80 minutes of impressive battling, Trinity grew from strength to strength as the game went on.

The victory meant Trinity preserved their two-year-long victory streak against UCD. First played in 1904, the Dudley Cup has rarely disappointed over the years.


Saturday’s win was another remarkable affair for the history books. A buzzing atmosphere rippled through the ever-growing crowd that had flooded to Trinity’s distinguished College Park, set in the heart of campus.

With the radiant autumnal sun complementing a crisp Saturday afternoon, the conditions could not have been better for such an important match in the rugby calendar. 

As both teams paraded out onto the pitch, the crowds became more animated and the anticipation grew. There was particular excitement for the new arrival of Trinity’s Jack Manzo, a Master’s student from New York set to be an exciting addition to this Trinity Rugby team. 

The starting whistle cut through the raucous chants as both teams ignited the competitive fire burning between the historic rivals. UCD began with the first attack, their slick passing and communication foreshadowing the relentless fight that was to come.

Following a quick turnover from a UCD lineout, Trinity made significant headway as they advanced up the pitch. To the excitement and relief of anxious onlookers, it was not long before Trinity’s Ronan Quinn made his mark and scored the first of many tries for the home team. 

Steaming away from the UCD players, Quinn dashed up the side and over the try line just three minutes into the match as the roaring cheers echoed across the park.

The battle continued and by the sixth minute UCD were awarded a penalty kick: a chance for the opposition to redeem themselves and close the gap on the scoreboard before it’s too late. This was to come to no avail as Cosgrave’s kick pulled slightly to the left, just missing the posts as it soared into the iconic buildings that border the pitch. 

Skilful handling of the ball pulled Trinity forward once again, particularly from the likes of Paddy McCarthy, just 18 years old – an age not evident from the expertise on display.

However, UCD’s Harry Connelly made an exceptional drop kick that forced the game to the corner of their try line.  A scrum ensued and after a valiant effort, UCD secured a try in the 13th minute to equalise the scores. In the secure hands of Cosgrave, the conversion was slotted to pull UCD into the lead. 

Would the opponents pull out of reach as these tumultuous games are often known to do? Taking this into their stride with tenacity and spirit, Trinity created convincing chances, striving towards the try line.

Within minutes their efforts paid off: an expertly executed offload from Manzo guided the ball into the approaching hands of O’Reilly on the wing. This was followed by another try and successful conversion from number 10 Aran Egan as Trinity regained their dominant lead.

It seemed the visitors could not break the impermeable wall of white that Trinity so efficiently created. However, a scrum awarded just yards from the try line was all that UCD needed to show the crowds they were not leaving without a contest. 

An impressive burst of speed from Leinster player Sean O’Brien brought it back to a level playing field as five points were added to the UCD score. His effort left the contest posed at 12-12 35 minutes into an already enthralling match. 

The end-to-end nature of such a thrilling game kept the crowd on their toes with tantalising anticipation of what was to come. As emotions got heated in a slight altercation between two passionate players, one sensed that the score would not stay level for long.

Another beautiful play from Aran Egan saw him sidestep through the flustered opposition, breaking away at immense speed. As men dived at his feet he did a nice little kick and chase before dashing through for a try. The subsequent conversion brought the score to 17-12 at half time. 

Spirits were high as Trinity headed into the second half of a thrilling game, both sides showing a profound display of skill, fervour and team spirit. There was particular excitement from the Trinity supporters. One avid follower commented, “we are always very fierce and intense towards the end of the game”, promising the best was yet to come. 

The bench for UCD was weaker this week, according to a member of the club, engendering a potential for a burn out. Nevertheless, confidence remained high in the professional fitness of their players.

The power and strength of the home team was demonstrated with a try at 47 minutes, expanding the score to 24-12: a notable display of strength and determination from the likes of Paddy McCarthy and Ulster’s Max Dunne. 

Crowd sentiment sensed that the home team were starting to pull away as the gap grew to 31-12. Nevertheless, it seemed UCD had alternative ideas. With just ten minutes to go, the relentless visitors fought back and successfully secured another try. The stakes were high as a losing bonus point was attainable if UCD managed to come within seven points of Trinity.

A remarkable display of stamina triumphed as Trinity repeatedly assaulted the UCD defence to register a final try under the posts. 

The score stood at 38-19, suggesting the fight was settled. But to the surprise of the crowd, UCD impressively secured another five points, earning a well-deserved bonus point with their fourth try.

The eighty minutes were up. The ball lay stationery on the iconic turf of College Park as the deafening cheers for the home victors filled the cool air. 

Despite reading 38-24, it was evident to spectators that the score did not depict the enthralling nature of this match, both sides battling it out with incredible perseverance and grit.

Handshakes and laudatory hugs followed as the sun went down on College Park, a seasoned chill culminating a perfect Saturday afternoon.

It was a scintillating display of rugby and to come out as victors will be particularly satisfying for head coach Tony Smeeth and his team of accomplished players.


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