DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 23 UCD 23, College Park
Scorers: Dublin University: Tries: Colm Hogan, Bart Vermeulen; Cons: James Fennelly 2; Pens: James Fennelly 3
UCD: Tries: Tom Treacy, Ronan Foley; Cons: Cillian Burke 2; Pens: Cillian Burke 3
HT: Dublin University 13 UCD 10
Full-back Cillian Burke’s injury-time penalty earned UCD a share of the spoils in a 23-all draw with arch rivals Dublin University at a rain-soaked College Park.
Trinity’s new-look team, who impressed many by running Garryowen very close last week, were on the cusp of victory having built up a 23-13 lead after 69 minutes. However, UCD stormed back with a levelling 10 points and were hugely relieved when Burke’s opposite number Robert Russell missed a huge penalty effort right at the death.
The heavy downpour ensured it was an attritional contest, although the hosts admirably sought to bring wingers Hugh Twomey and Colm Hogan into play as much as possible. Twomey was squeezed out on the right before out-half James Fennelly kicked Trinity in front with a seventh-minute penalty. He soon added a second successful kick from a tight angle.
Despite struggling early on for possession, UCD grew into the first half and grabbed the game’s first try in the 28th minute. Following a series of drives, lock Tom Treacy dotted down for a Burke-converted score, but Trinity responded just past the half hour mark when captain Hogan chased down his own kick and gathered it on the hoof, beating the cover to run in an excellent solo try which Fennelly converted.
Burke’s first penalty of the afternoon closed the gap to 13-0 for half-time, only for Trinity to steal a march on the resumption with a 55th minute try from powerful prop Bart Vermeulen, who crossed to the left of the posts following a Russell break from deep. Vermeulen saw yellow 15 minutes from the end, and although Burke nailed the resulting penalty, Fennelly replied soon after to increase his haul to 13 points.
Crucially, UCD made their numerical advantage count with a second try from the forwards, a spell of relentless pressure ending with Leinster ‘A’ number 8 Ronan Foley touching down for the second week running.
Burke converted and landed the second of two penalty attempts – Trinity were pinged for failing to release the ball in their 22 – to bring the Belfield side level. That is how it stayed despite Russell’s booming strike which fell just short of the posts.
DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Robert Russell; Hugh Twomey, James Hickey, Philip Murphy, Colm Hogan (capt); James Fennelly, Rowan Osborne; Bart Vermeulen, Joe Horan, Dylan Doyle, Alex MacDonald, Arthur Greene, Paddy Nulty, Max Kearney, Niall O’Riordan.
Replacements: Dan Sheahan, Thomas Clarkson, Cian O’Dwyer, Tomas Killeen, James Moriarty, Giuseppe Coyne, Conor Dunne.
UCD: Cillian Burke; Tim Carroll, Andy Marks, Paul Kiernan, Rob Keenan; Matthew Gilsenan, Nick Peters, Sam Griffin, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland, Brian Cawley, Tom Treacy, Stephen McVeigh, Alex Penny (capt), Ronan Foley.
Replacements: Richie Bergin, Evin Coyle, Jonny Guy, Tom Foley, Ian O’Kelly.