In a season that seemed to come full circle on a bitter evening in DCU Sportsgrounds, Trinity’s GAA’s intermediate footballers faced the same opponents that they began their season against, only this time Dublin City University (DCU) came out on top after a draw in the sides’ previous encounter.
A well-taken goal in the second half by Niall Devitt could not revive his side’s scoring efforts, resulting in his side’s exit from the Junior Championship after the quarter-final stage on a scoreline of 4-10 to 1-5.
Trinity started off the brighter of the teams, winning a throw-in and working the ball between the half-back and half-forwards, only to see an early effort drift wide of the post. A good passage of play between the forwards saw Trinity open the scoring through Devitt. Another score came shortly after, when Patrick Kirk was dragged down near the 14 yard line. Andrew Butler converted the free awarded.
DCU, though, hit back immediately, with Trinity goalkeeper Sean Doolin left standing after a strong drive. Momentum then began to build for the hosts, with clever cross-field play and off-the-ball movement helping them convert a few scores.
The second 15 minutes of the first half saw the ball simply go from one end of the field to the other, with the scoreboard barren. Substitute Tadhg Browne caused DCU to fumble the ball over the line after immense pressure. Aaron Gallagher, in a good position, sliced wide.
Cards were shown to both teams in the first half, with Mason Napier and Gallagher shown yellow for foul play. DCU showed their dominance on the ball, kicking scores for fun in the last few minutes of the half, with Trinity finding it hard to maintain possession at times. Finding themselves caught ball-watching and unable to inject tempo into their game, better support was needed in the second half to come back into the game.
With the second half following a similar course to the first, DCU’s players came out on top of many tackles, capitalising on any scoring chances that came their way. Things began to heat up on the sideline when Tomás Flanigan was awarded a yellow card for an apparent shoulder to chest tackle on an incoming DCU attacker.
Pressure mounted on Trinity then to push on and get another score on the board, but Devitt’s effort drifted wide after a good pass from Kirk. Devitt redeemed himself later on, rattling the ball into the back of the net and making the scoreline look more respectable. Manager PJ McGrane made a number of substitutions, with Diarmaid McGowan imposing plenty of pressure on his marker in the full-back line.
Trinity held possession better as the half progressed, but failed to dominate in the final quarter of the pitch when it was needed most. A lifeline was thrown Trinity’s way after a kick out by Doolin was collected by Heffernan, whose strong run was rewarded when the referee gave a penalty. However, Devitt didn’t get enough power behind the ball and the goalie easily saved his effort just in time for the final whistle.
It was a disappointing night overall for Trinity, as the fresher footballers also suffered a narrow defeat in their opening championship encounter and the ladies footballers fell to Mary Immaculate in the Giles Cup. With many of the teams finished for the short but sweet college season, all eyes turn to the freshers’ hurlers and the ladies footballers’ second team, the last teams standing in the club.
Correction: 17:01, February 17th, 2018
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Trinity GAA’s freshers’ hurlers are the only Trinity side with competitive fixtures remaining. In fact, the seconds of Trinity ladies football also still have games left.