The 1st XV travelled up to Trinity for their first ever time on Saturday last. We got a fabulous welcome from this stalwart 2nd Division club and while we have not got too many ties, the ones that we do have made an impact, none more so than their forwards coach for a couple of years Seamus Twomey. Talk about a game of two halves (maybe four quarters would be a better description).
The game kicked off ten minutes early to allow for the difference in evening light on the east coast compared to those of us more westerly (about half an hour or so, I must check that up some time to get the exact figure). Eight minutes in Bruff put the first points on the Board courtesy of winger Nigel Riordan with Captain Brian Cahill adding the extras. The students duly replied with a breakaway interception somewhat against the run of play five minutes later to level the scores on seven points apiece. The Bruff pack then seemed to take the game by the scruff of the neck and the rest of the half saw them dominate their opposition in the set pieces, strong in the scrums and stealing ball in the lineout. Back row John Shine finished off a great looping move from the back line on the outside to scamper home from the twenty two on 17 minutes and Brian Cahill again added the extras. At this stage the students looked to be out of their depth a little but despite good possession, the referees whistle kept Bruff in check, the only points scoring opportunity a missed penalty from the captain and Bruff ended up going into the break with a fourteen points to seven lead.
The second half started as the first finished, the Bruff pack completely dominating proceedings and finally things started to click. However the students weren’t lying down and taking it and clawed the lead back to four points courtesy of the boot of their high flying full back four minutes into the half. Alan Bourke charged over for a try two minutes later and Garry Leonard touched down for the bonus point three minutes later. At this stage Bruff were cruising and it looked like only a matter of closing out the game and how much they were going to win by.
Suddenly the students found their feet and what followed was a comprehensive demolition of the sixteen point lead courtesy of two converted tries in fifteen minutes and a penalty eight minutes after that to give Trinity a single point lead with seven minutes left on the clock with no reply from Bruff. At this stage Bruff still looked well capable of grinding their way back down and coming home with a win but a sin binning left the Bruff pack one man down and the students managed to work their way into the Bruff twenty two and with the extra man in the pack they spurned a couple of penalty chances and opted for the scrums instead, a good decision as it ground down the remaining time on the clock and after four scrums the Bruff pack were penalised and the referee awarded a penalty try to the students giving them an eight point lead. The losing Bonus looked doomed even for the Bruff side, but they fought back again and the last penalty kick of the game was slotted by the Captain to bring home two valuable league points from the outing. It was one of the best games of the season so far to watch if you weren’t a Bruff supporter. Fair play to the young squad from Trinity, their tenacity paid off in spades.
Final Score Trinity 34, Bruff 29.
Bruff Scorers: Tries: N. Riordan, J. Shine, A Bourke, G. Leonard. Kicks: B. Cahill (3 conv. 1 Pen).