After years of toil and too many almosts to remember, Trinity’s men’s football team won the Trench cup in 2011, and thus secured passage to the GAA’s premier intervarsity football competition, the Sigerson Cup. The Sigerson Cup is a competition held in such esteem that Joe Brolly described playing in it during his time in Trinity as “character forming”. Alas, Trinity GAA’s romance with the cup has wilted over time and after a wretched two seasons in which the men’s football team registered only a single win, which was in a relegation playoff, the footballers have decided to step away from the Sigerson and return to their first love, the Trench Cup.
While the win rate may not suggest it, this football team have gone through significant growth over the past two years with the introduction of Paddy Christie as first-team coach. Speaking about this change in an email statement to The University Times, the captain of the footballers, Keelan Beirne, said: “The team has been developing really well under the guidance of Paddy Christie and Conor Laverty over the last two years and we’ve become a really tight group, playing well as a team and enjoying our football.”
They have embraced an attractive style of attacking football, quickly breaking out from the back to supply ball into forwards such as Cavan’s Bryan McGee and Down’s James Guinness. Trinity’s commitment to attack-minded football, however, has at times led to the rear-guard being exposed by the calibre of team in the Sigerson. While this swashbuckling style of play is to be applauded the defeats have proven soul-sapping for both players and management.
The Trench Cup offers a chance for a team packed with ambition to finally accomplish their full potential. The Trench Cup offers them the opportunity stay true to the attacking ethos implemented by management, to finally offer players who have given so much to the club a viable chance of cup victory, and to recapture former glories. Beirne is keen to highlight the belief in the squad coming into the next season. “We have a great chance of winning Trench, there’s a real belief in the squad at the minute. A lot of this squad won a Fresher All Ireland, there’s a lot of talent and experience in the team.”
The first task facing Trinity will be to climb back into the upper echelons of Division 1 football. After staving off relegation for the past three years the team, struggling with injuries, finally succumbed to the pressures of the top division. Similar to the drop down to the Trench Cup, this may act as a blessing in disguise for the team. While winning the division must be the focus, you get the sense that blooding new players and perfecting their counter-attacking football would satisfy.
Da Vinci once wrote: “As you cannot do what you want, want what you can do.” This is the spirit of renaissance that Trinity must embrace for the forthcoming year to truly succeed. Instead of viewing relegation and the descent to Trench as a death, instead it should be viewed as a rebirth. Once again, they are in competitions they can win and thrive in, and that is reason enough to get excited again.