Sport
Aug 2, 2017

No Rest for the Wicket: The Trinity Students Who Keep Playing During Summer

From cricket to rowing, some of Trinity's athletes take the summer as an opportunity to keep playing and training.

Cormac WatsonDeputy Sports Editor
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Eavan McLoughlin for The University Times

Most clubs and societies go dormant after exams but, for a handful of students, summer time is abuzz with activity. Walking through campus, Trinity may seem eerily quiet with no students bustling about but behind the scenes is a committed group of sports men and women still battling away in their respective sports. Some clubs play all-year round but for a lot of clubs, summer is when most of their season takes place. The cricketers, for example, like to play when the sun is shining so spring and summer is when Dublin University Cricket Club really comes alive. If the rain comes, the players are sent running to the Pav for cover.

Cricket is central to the character of the campus. College park is the home of cricket and it’s where Trinity students lounge around in the sun playing frisbee, chatting or absentmindedly watching the cricket match being played.

Relatively few people play the game in Trinity, but the club is ever present in student life and has been since it was set up, 182 years ago. Seven hundred and eighty five cricketers have played for Trinity since the club’s inception. Among these players are famous cricketers such as Ed Joyce and George Dockerall, as well as cultural icon Samuel Beckett, who played for the club in the 1920s.

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Dublin University Boat Club rows late into the summer. With less wind and the sun glistening off the surface of the water, summer is ideal for rowing. It certainly beats the women’s team and their winter training camps on the lakes in Blessington, which can only go ahead if the ice isn’t too thick.

The rowers get a month off and then jump back into training. This training regime seems intense but there are rarely any complaints. Speaking to The University Times by email, club captain Megan Jungmann put it this way: “You’re spending your summer with like minded individuals who in a way become like a second family after living in each other’s pockets over the season.” The rowing season officially ended when three of the graduating rowers for the women’s team symbolically closed the doors of the bay together for the final time.

You’re spending your summer with like minded individuals who in a way become like a second family after living in each other’s pockets over the season

Even during the summer months, Trinity’s gym is overflowing with people trying to stay in shape or get that ever-elusive beach body. Trinity’s gym has been particularly full in recent months as the sports centre gets a makeover and floor space is reduced to accommodate the changes. There will be no gym available to students in the sports centre between August 14th to 20th as they put the finishing touches on Trinity’s new and improved gym. Until then people will have to make do with the swimming pool, studios and classes. The official opening day for the new gym is Monday August 21st and the reconfiguration, Trinity says, will bring a 33 per cent expansion of the free weights area and a new reception area. In addition to this, new space will be added to the first floor for personal and group training to cater for more classes. It should, all going to plan, be a major boost for those students less inclined towards team sports but who still want to get fit.

One of most committed clubs in Trinity is the American football team. Their season can go on for 10 or 11 months with matches still being played deep into the summer months. With this major commitment comes close friendships and a will to play and win. Speaking to The University Times about playing during summer, Conor O’Dwyer, the captain of Dublin University American Football Club, said: “It’s great to have something going on that keeps you in contact with college friends during summer.” The players get a month off and then they’re back into training for the end of their summer. This year the team made it to the quarter final of the Shamrock Bowl competition – the top division in Ireland – losing narrowly to their rivals, the Belfast Trojans.

For a lot of Trinity students summer can be a blessing and a curse. It marks the end of exams but also means saying goodbye to all your friends who you might not see until September

American football is a niche sport in Ireland so only those with a real passion for the sport play it. This also means that rescheduling matches and finding new referees because of waterlogged pitches is an ordeal. To combat this most of the games are played just prior to and after exams. Unfortunately for the footballers a lot of their players leave Dublin for the summer meaning they are spread thin for matches. This contributed to the string of defeats they have suffered in recent months. Regardless, in a few weeks the Trinity American footballers will be back training up their new recruits and getting ready for the next Shamrock Bowl.

Members of the Dublin University Harriers and Athletics Club (DUHAC) don’t compete under the Trinity banner during summer, competing instead for their clubs. Regardless, there is still a communal atmosphere among the members. They meet up at athletics events throughout Ireland, supporting each other and often competing against each other.

Aside from competing, DUHAC is also involved in fundraising activities during the summer months, often stewarding races. DUHAC athletes are made of tough stuff. Wind, rain or shine, they’ll be running, throwing and jumping. Training regimes aren’t easy either. Long-distance runners will train on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays doing a mixture of speed work, long runs and circuits.

There are plenty of reasons to play sport during summer. For a lot of Trinity students summer can be a blessing and a curse. It marks the end of exams but also means saying goodbye to all your friends who you might not see until September. For the members of the “summer societies”, these tearful goodbyes are unnecessary. On top of that those committed souls who keep playing throughout summer get to enjoy competing in the sunshine (or at least in less rain than usual). And for gym goers, they get to start the new term as the fittest people on campus. Not a bad deal.

Correction: 22:33, August 2nd, 2017
Due to a mistake on Trinity’s website, an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Conor O’Dwyer is the Secretary of Dublin University American Football Club. In fact, O’Dwyer is the captain.

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