Dublin University didn’t look particularly well organized or threatening when they turned up to play Seapoint in the third match of this league campaign. However, the students were well able to play exciting running rugby and never gave up for the full 80 minutes. In the end a try by James Newman in the last play of the game was required before the outcome was fully decided.
Seapoint started brightly, stronger up front and better organized. After several strong carries by the Seapoint pack, Trinity eventually conceded a penalty on the 22 which Brindley converted for the first score of the game. The remainder of the first half proved frustrating for Seapoint supporters and coaching staff. Whilst better organized, physically dominant upfront and with scrummaging superiority, Seapoint had plenty of opportunity but through consistent handling errors, and concession of penalties they failed to put points on the board. The Trinity players lived off turnovers, were well capable of playing attacking rugby and created better try scoring opportunities. Finally, in the last play of the first half Seapoint made a breakthrough. Cronin put Cassidy through to make a superb linebreak straight up the middle. He then found Alex Lee. Lee did incredibly well, having a full 20 metres and two defenders to beat before ultimately scoring in the corner. Brindley missed the difficult conversion but the score at half time of 8 points to no score was somewhat comforting for the Seapoint supporters.
That didn’t last long however as Trinty scored first after the break, dotting down under the posts after some sharp passing and incisive running. They converted the try to leave the score at 8 points to 7 with only minutes gone in the second half. The next 10 minutes was an arm wrestle as both teams struggled for superiority. Then Trinity had a spell of dominance in the Seapoint 22 which to their credit Seapoint defended resolutely. Ten minutes of defending their own line and some close calls ultimately sparked Seapoint into life. Cronin turned the ball over and when Lawlor got the ball inside his own 22, he booted the ball the length of the pitch. In the next few phases Seapoint exerted significant pressure and Trinity conceded a penalty which Brindley converted. The next 5 minutes was all Seapoint. Better accuracy in passing and the mistakes disappeared. Massive pressure resulted in two yellow cards reducing Trinity to 13 players, and Brindley had two penalty opportunities, he missed the first but converted the second – a score of 14-7. Finally, the Seapoint faithful could relax.
Think again. This Seapoint team never do things the easy way. Failing to clear their lines after the restart Seapoint conceded a penalty in their own 22, and from the ensuing scrum Trinity scored, the Trinity outhalf nailing a difficult conversion to level the match at 14 points apiece.
From the restart a superb follow up by Newman put his opposite number under pressure. From the resulting ruck, Trinity conceded a penalty which Brindley converted to create up a three-point lead. After the restart Trinity pressed hard. Dogged defense and good discipline by Seapoint kept Trinity at bay. In the last-minute Campbell broke free in his own 22 and ball in hand surged up the pitch. A neat offload to Newman created the scoring opportunity in the corner. Brindley kicked a touchline conversion to make the final score 24 14 to Seapoint and earn them their second victory of the campaign.
It wasn’t the best performance this season by any means. Handling errors, poor decision making and ill-discipline by Seapoint kept Trinity in the game and to be fair to the University side they took every chance and never stopped trying. Ultimately when Seapoint finally found their rhythm in the closing quarter they were much the better side. Sean Cronin wins the man of the match performance. His first game back after a long break from injury, his attacking nous and his consistent defense kept Seapoint ahead when things weren’t going to plan. A welcome addition back into the side and the midfield selection over the coming weeks should prove challenging for the coaching staff – always a sign of a good team.