Dublin University have guaranteed top spot for themselves in Division 2A of the Ulster Bank League, following last Saturday’s 71-14 thrashing of Clonakilty.
The Trinity students secured their 12th win of the league campaign, thus earning promotion to Division 1B for next season with two rounds of games still to be played. Malone, their closest challengers, are 12 points behind them.
Last Saturday afternoon’s match against Clonakilty always had ‘banana skin’ written all over it. Trinity had never won at Shannonvale Cross, added to this Clonakilty are staring the stark reality of relegation very much straight in the face and were motivated by that fact.
But the game, played in beautiful sunny weather, was over as a contest after just four minutes. By this stage Trinity had two tries on the scoreboard with full-back James O’Donoghue and flanker Johnny Iliff both scoring.
The visitors’ forwards followed this up with a well rehearsed lineout play to score again. After 22 minutes, winger Neil Hanratty finished off some impressive continuity to clinch the very important bonus point for four tries.
Clonakilty came back with some fine rugby of their own and they scored by the posts after some sustained pressure on the Trinity try-line, making it 26-7 after only 30 minutes.
Trinity managed to score three more tries through winger Niyi Adeolokun, who showed his amazing speed to score, and replacement centre Rob Creuss Callaghan also displayed some nice pace and footwork to score two of his own before half-time.
45-7 ahead at the break, it was just question of how many points Tony Smeeth’s side would score with the home team possibly eyeing a losing bonus point if the game got even looser.
The first try of the second half was probably the most impressive try of the lot. Off a lineout, scrum half Mick McLoughlin took the ball running and passed to Hanratty who broke the line.
He looked to be clear only to be tap tackled, but he then rolled and popped the ball up to the supporting Iliff who raced over for his second try.
The students kept up their try-scoring exploits with more tries from centre Ariel Robles who used bewildering footwork to dot down.
Out-half Dave Joyce scored after an outrageous dummy scissors, his half-back partner McLoughlin raced in from 40 metres out and the ever dangerous Adeolokun, arguably the fastest man in Irish club rugby, grabbed the last try right on the final whistle.
At the end of the game the Trinity players embraced each other in delight and celebrated with their large group of supporters who had travelled in anticipation of the team winning the league.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: James O’Donoghue; Neil Hanratty, Ciaran Wade, Ariel Robles, Niyi Adeolokun; Dave Joyce, Mick McLoughlin; Ian Hirst, Tim O’Mahony, Paul McFeely, Colin McDonnell, Jack Kelly, Johnny Iliff, Eamon Guinan, Jack Dilger.
Replacements used: Rob Creuss Callaghan for O’Donoghoe (20 mins), Warren Larkin for O’Mahony (30), Brian du Toit for Guinan (45), Billy Glynn for McLoughlin (48), Tom Collis for Hirst (55).
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