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Trinity Finish On Top In Dublin Derby

Trinity Finish On Top In Dublin Derby

Dublin University started their Division 1B campaign with an impressive bonus point win over Dublin rivals Blackrock College at College Park. It was the first match between the clubs at Ulster Bank League level in several years.

This was a particularly difficult opening league game for both clubs as they had only met in the Leinster Senior Cup three weeks ago.

Adding spice to the encounter was that two very recent Trinity graduates, Billy Glynn and Julian Mackey, were playing for Blackrock.

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Blackrock started strongly, using their massive Des Dillon and Paul Ryan-led pack to drive and smash into the students. They got a penalty early on to take a 3-0 lead with out-half David Godfrey getting them off the mark.

Trinity seemed to struggle to get their game going and unforced errors hurt them in their quest for continuity. Out-half David Joyce did get them on the board with a penalty from close range.

The teams battled back and forth for most of the first half. Blackrock, with the breeze at their backs, edged the territory and retook the lead through the boot of Godfrey.

Trinity probably created more opportunities only for their handling and decision-making to let them down.

The game dynamic changed in the 32nd minute when outside centre Ciaran Wade stepped in and intercepted a long cut-out pass from Blackrock scrum half Glynn and took off in the other direction.

With the Blackrock cover defence in hot pursuit, he kicked the ball long into the Blackrock 22. Neil Hanratty chased and put in a thumping hit on the covering Jan-Simon Byrne. The ball popped loose and that poacher of all poachers, winger Ariel Robles, gathered it to score a spectacular first try.

To add salt to the Blackrock wounds, Trinity's man-of-the-match Brian du Toit turned the ball over minutes later and passed to number 8 Jack Dilger who ran the ball in from 60 metres out to make it 15-6 for half-time.

In the first 20 minutes of the second half the students lifted the tempo of the game and totally outplayed their more experienced opponents.

They scored two more tries, the first through Pierce Dargan after sustained pressure on the 'Rock try-line and a fine inside pass from Wade.

This was followed by some more quick tempo attacking with prop Martin Kelly smashing his way over from close in to clinch the bonus point.

Things looked very bleak for Blackrock, however Trinity needlessly got on the wrong side of referee Michael Black and were suddenly down to 13 men with two sin-binnings.

'Rock, for the first time, camped out on the hosts' whitewash with their new captain Cian Culleton, who played with an injured wrist, willing them on.

After several minutes they scored against a depleted home defence, with winger Mark Scott-Lennon getting over.

Trinity, with flanker du Toit covering every blade of grass, failed to convert a couple of late chances as both teams tired.

This was a good result for Tony Smeeth's youngsters, but they will have to cut out the errors with bigger tests ahead.

Referee: Michael Black (IRFU)