Dublin University Association Football Club (DUAFC) yesterday defeated Collinstown FC 4-2 in their clash at the Iveagh Grounds in the Leinster Senior Sunday Division 1A.
In an often explosive game, Trinity managed to hold on to an early lead for most of the match, despite captain Jason Boateng and manager Richie Maguire both getting sent off in the latter stages of the tie.
The start of the game could not have gone worse for the home-side – a curling shot from Collinstown’s Dan Carpenter found the net inside the opening five minutes. Seconds before the goal, a frantic dispute among the Trinity players over who should be in the wall may have distracted DUAFC’s goalkeeper Daniel Grace.
The momentum now with the visitors, Collinstown had Trinity’s defence up against the wall, dominating the final third. Well rehearsed set pieces from the away side piled on the pressure.
Seeking to gain a foothold in the match after a frantic start, Trinity searched for an opening. They were rewarded for their patience when winger Rory Nairn pounced on a mistake from the Collinstown defence and darted into the box. The goal at his mercy, Nairn selflessly squared the ball to captain Jason Boateng, who calmly placed it past Collinstown keeper Greg Murray.
After a fiery start to the match, the game slowed down and both sides regrouped. In some ways, the lull in play worked to Trinity’s advantage, who looked calmer on the ball.
Capitalising on their new-found composure in possession, DUAFC took the lead for the first time: Niall Barr managed to get the slightest of flicks on a Nairn free kick, guiding it into the far right-hand corner.
Shots came flying from left, right and centre in the aftermath of Barr’s goal – both Nairn and James Wood testing Murray from long distance.
Collinstown rallied and had their own flurry of chances. A wayward cross found Collinstown’s Ian MacNeil in behind Trinity’s defence, but Grace brilliantly kept his strike out. His stop was duly followed by a last-gasp clearance off the line by Trinity’s Killian Doyle to keep Trinity in the lead heading into half-time.
The start of the second half was more subdued than the first. The most dramatic event came on the hour mark, when Rory Nairn had to be substituted after a suspected hamstring injury. Trinity’s main goal-threat may be looking at six to eight weeks on the side-line.
Nairn’s replacement, James Kelly, was pivotal in DUAFC’s third goal. Kelly found himself free on the left, drilling the ball low into the box. Evan McCorry stopped the ball dead, before laying it off to McGee, who buried it into the bottom right-hand corner.
Collinstown responded immediately, winning yet another free-kick within scoring range. Carpenter scored his second free kick of the match – more confusion among the Trinity defence over the set-up of the wall again proved to be costly.
For the most part, Trinity’s second half display was a lot more defensively sound. However, Keeper Grace did come to the rescue on more than one occasion. Collinstown’s Kista Riccard sharp run around the back-line and well-driven shot was denied by Grace, diving low to make the save.
In a dramatic turn of events, the referee sent off both captain Jason Boateng and DUAFC’s manager Richie Maguire, heading into the final stages of the tie.
Boateng was given two yellow cards in quick succession, and when Boateng left the field, the linesman heard Maguire and the captain having an agitated conversation about the sending off – so agitated that the linesman recommended to the referee that Maguire should also be given his marching orders. Maguire had already been warned by the linesman for his conduct in the first-half.
After all this commotion, the ensuing free-kick was blocked and cleared with ease.
The heated exchanges in the dug-outs were ultimately diffused when Trinity regained their two-goal cushion in the dying minutes. McGee chased a ball sent over the top, before skipping past Collinstown keeper and slotting it home with ease. The match ended 4-2 in Trinity’s favour.
Back to winning ways in the league following their defeat away to Willow Park FC, this result will do DUAFC a world of good. Despite the hiccups in the game, Trinity’s men prevailed in finding their extra gear and secured a much needed three points.
One point of concern for DUAFC is Nairn’s injury in the second half. Nairn has been a standout performer for DUAFC in the opening stages of the season, and to lose him so early on may be critical. Maguire will have to find alternatives to compensate for his loss and hope that the winger can make a speedy recovery.