Trinity’s hurlers bowed out of the Fitzgibbon Cup last night after a humbling 4-25 to 1-11 defeat at the hands of Dublin City University (DCU) in Santry.
A relentless opening 10 minutes saw the visitors rack up 1-6 with Trinity unable to muster a response. The flurry of attacks put daylight between the sides early on, and the home side never seemed to recover.
DCU’s Conor Hearne opened the scoring on a mild night in Dublin 9, before Damien Reck and Daire Grey salvaged a point apiece to set the tempo.
Despite the best efforts of Trinity’s Sean O’Connor, DCU were mopping up any hint of a Trinity threat early on. Grey added another score from the sideline as the DCU romp continued.
Trinity’s woes continued to pile up, and a clash in midfield resulted in key danger man Tom Ahern being forced off with a nasty arm injury.
The match had its first goal after superb work from DCU’s Sean Currie. The corner-forward collected a loose ball before spinning clear of Trinity’s defensive advances. Clear of the backline, he slapped the sliotar into the back of the Trinity net.
Trinity had to wait until the ninth minute before they could register their first score, with Cian O’Sullivan slotting over a routine free after an infringement to leave the scoreline reading 1-6 to 0-1. O’Sullivan’s deftness from the dead ball would prove crucial in the limited resistance Trinity put up to the visitors.
O’Sullivan’s score spurred his team on. Donnacha Butler, playing his last match for Trinity after several years of service, shrugged off the challenges of the DCU defence before slotting over a fine individual score from play. James Kenny launched another attack for the home side after the puck out, but the threat was negated by alert defending from John Curran.
DCU ensured that normal service resumed after Trinity’s brief resurgence, with several scores from half-forward Rory O’Connor powering their onslaught.
Trinity did enjoy some possession in the first half, but a frustrating lack of conviction in their passing game hampered their progress. Limp balls into the forward line made it difficult for the Trinity attackers to capitalise.
The visitors, on the other hand, were consistently measured and assured on the sliotar, and Currie had his second goal of the match on the 20-minute mark. Despite being surrounded by Trinity defenders, the number 15 ducked out of a goalmouth scramble to puck home.
Both sides exchanged points as the clock ticked towards half-time. DCU, however, were eager to finish the tie early, and looked to push even further ahead. On 28 minutes, Jim Ryan had the sliotar in the Trinity net for a third time after collecting a puck in from Kilkenny man Ed Delaney. The half-time whistle blew soon after, leaving the score at 3-16 to 0-6.
If the match hadn’t already been decided before the break, James Bergin quickly brought things to a head by providing DCU’s fourth goal of the match. Bergin’s finish was accurate and precise, arrowing into the top corner of the net, and there was by now a definite sense of exasperation among the Trinity contingent as he wheeled away in celebration.
The second half trundled on, with both sides exchanging scores from set pieces, interrupted by isolated individual flourishes.
Trinity restored some pride as their exit from this year’s championship loomed closer: Butler closed out his tenure in the Trinity full-forward line with a well-taken goal, after O’Sullivan’s stinging shot was blocked by goalkeeper Oisín Foley, but it wasn’t to be and the referee signalled the end of the clash a couple of scores later.
After coming so close to clinching a result in their first Fitzgibbon Cup tie two weeks ago to Maynooth, Trinity’s hurlers will have been humbled in the last week by their heavy defeats against DCU and the University of Limerick. This, however, is the standard required to compete at the highest level of intervarsity hurling. The hurlers must wait until next January before they can hope to recreate the heroics of their first Fitzgibbon win last year against Garda College.