It might be a game more common to swimming pools in the far reaches of Eastern Europe but you don’t have to wander all the way down the Danube to catch sight of some water polo action. In fact, most Saturday afternoons you’ll actually find it being played just north of the Liffey, in the National Aquatics Centre.
Last weekend saw Trinity Ladies make the short trip to the location, where they took on Division One opponents the Donegal Diamonds, whose players, it must be said, had to navigate a slightly longer route to the destination than their Trinity counterparts. While travel fatigue may have played a small role in the outcome of this game, it certainly wasn’t the decisive factor, with Trinity delivering a stellar performance to earn a comprehensive victory, 15–2.
Given that a standard water polo match consists of four quarters each spanning eight minutes, time is of the essence, making a quick start essential for any team. The Trinity ladies were well aware of this and took just 15 seconds to deliver their first goal, Hannah McMenamin rifling the ball into the net after a rapid attack from the throw-in. Her score would trigger the start of an onslaught by the university side, which notched up seven superbly worked goals in the opening quarter. Sally McCarthy and Christine Farrelly would both strike in quick succession to make it 3–0, before McMenamin added a second. It was then the turn of Nicola Colterjohn to join in on proceedings and she did so in style, netting a hat-trick to leave Trinity 7–0 at the end of the first quarter.
Having regained their composure after the seven goal massacre, Donegal’s players started the second quarter much better, Aoife Ní Dhochartaigh opening her side’s account not long after the whistle. Any prospect of Donegal mounting a challenge, however, was soon shot down by Johanno Pinto Lee, who contributed a brace of goals before McCarthy netted her second to leave an eight-goal deficit between the two teams at the end of the second, making the result almost inevitable.
Farrelly would increase her overall tally to three in the third, scoring twice at the beginning of that quarter before allowing Pinto Lee to again take charge of the scoring duties, notching up her third and fourth in a matter of moments. McCarthy then capped off a fine performance by completing her hat-trick for the last of Trinity’s scores.
The fourth quarter would see Donegal grab a consolation goal, courtesy again of Ní Dhochartaigh, who remained impressive throughout. Regardless of how influential Ní Dhochartaigh was, her team stood little chance against a strong Trinity side. It was ideal preparation for the students ahead of this week’s Leinster Cup final against St Vincent’s. Trinity’s players can prepare for that game with high aspirations, their confidence boosted by an impressive performance that illustrated the extent of the talent within their ranks. The game will take place on Saturday, December 16th in the National Aquatics Centre.