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Trinity Make It Two Wins From Two

Trinity Make It Two Wins From Two

Dublin University came through a bruising battle with hosts Dungannon on Saturday as tries from Brian du Toit, Niyi Adeolukan and Paddy Lavelle helped the students earn a second successive win in Division 1B.

Dungannon looked on course for victory in their first home game of the league campaign, but leaked tries to Niyi Adeolukan and Paddy Lavelle at a crucial stage and were left fighting for a losing bonus point late on.

The Tyrone men started in spirited fashion, but the concession of four penalties in the opening nine minutes allowed Cathal Marsh to give Trinity a 3-0 lead.

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Ireland Under-20 international Marsh came in for his long-awaited first start in white, replacing the injured David Joyce at out-half. Other knocks saw winger Adeolukan, hooker Warren Larkin and number 8 Alan MacDonald come into the starting line-up.

The home side then put the shaky start behind them and following some fine attacking play, Jaryd Bennett launched a perfect diagonal kick for the onrushing Chris Cochrane to gather and score in the left hand corner.

Cochrane's back-three colleague Peter Nelson was unlucky to see his conversion rebound from a post, leaving Dungannon with a 5-3 lead.

Five minutes later, the same player missed a penalty chance yet 'Gannon – using plenty of grunt up front – kept the momentum going. It came as no surprise when Cochrane was again sent clear on the left for his second try midway through the half.

At 10-3, Dungannon were now looking good but a setback occurred in the 25th minutes when the sin-binning of scrum half Gareth McGonigle left the hosts with 14 men.

Undeterred, Paddy Johns' charges pressed forward before a penalty decision halted a good run from James McMahon. Nelson found the target with a 35th minute penalty but it was the students who finished the half on top.

After pounding the Dungannon line for all of two minutes, flanker Brian du Toit squeezed in on the left. Marsh converted to reduce the arrears to 13-10 at the break.

When the second half got underway, a penalty award put Dublin University into an attacking position and they began to use their back-line to good effect.

They retained possession at a regular rate and dictated field position, setting a high tempo against the large home pack.

On 50 minutes, Lavelle broke through in the centre – set up by captain Michael McLoughlin – with Marsh's conversion putting the students back in front at 17-13.

The visitors held ground from the restart and five minutes later it was flyer Adoelukan who crossed in the corner. The initial damage was done by full-back Dave Fanagan who beat a couple of defenders with his neat footwork.

Now 22-13 down, it was beginning to look ominous for Johns' team as a little frustration crept into their game.

Dungannon did conjure up a few attacking moves but they were foiled by penalty awards, while Trinity's search for their fourth try never really took off.

The home side did not give up though and when a blatant knock on paved the way for a penalty, replacement John McGuckin split the uprights to ensure a precious bonus point.

Indeed, Dungannon may well have snatched a late victory as another player sprung from the bench, Mark O'Shea, almost broke clear in injury-time.

Referee: Paul Haycock (IRFU)