Match Report – Sigerson Cup: UCD 2-11 – Trinity College 1-5

UCD 2-11
Trinity College 1-5

UCD fought hard to secure a win in the first round of the 2013 Sigerson Cup against Trinity College, in spite of miserable conditions. Trinity were outclassed in the second half and eventually collapsed under the pressure of the UCD onslaught, yet they never completely gave up, making this game a great watch and a great start to the Sigerson Cup.

UCD came into Tuesday night’s Sigerson Cup opener as the outright favourites. Despite the this tag, it was clear that UCD could not simply breeze to victory in the face of a determined Trinity team and bitter, stormy conditions.

To say the weather was not ideal for a first match, and Trinity’s first match in the Sigerson Cup in eight years, is a massive understatement. The teams did not only have to compete with each other, but gale force winds and a waterlogged pitch.

Trinity tried their best to overcome the odds and get an unlikely victory away from home, but they were ultimately thwarted by a superior side that were better equipped to adapt to the stormy conditions that plagued the game from start to finish.

It is of no surprise that the team attacking with the wind was the team that was generally on top. Although, it was not just the wind that influenced the play; as a number of promising attacks quickly lost all momentum following a slip by a player on a particularly damaged part of the waterlogged pitch during a run.

Trinity were greatly aided by the wind in the first half, making it difficult for UCD to counter attack as any long passes were essentially useless. The home side were left to rely on short hand passes in order to counter any of Trinity’s attacks.

Realistically, the Trinity players just had to move the ball past the half way line in order to have an opportunity to kick a point, and yet the visiting midfield had trouble taking advantage of this, as they only scored one point out of at least four attempts from these positions in the first half.

After a trinity of misses by the away team, UCD mounted a counter attack that resulted in the first point of the game for UCD. Mayo’s Kevin McLoughlin performed well in midfield throughout, while Niall Murray and Niall Kilroy attacked well, keeping UCD in touch in the first half, and scoring excellently in the second.

The UCD defence of Seán Murray and Dónal Keoghan must also get a mention for their valiant displays, in spite of a continued barrage of Trinity shots at goal, although they were guilty of allowing Darragh Daly to slip past them and sail the ball over the hands of the UCD goalkeeper.

This goal gave Trinity hope that they could solidify a lead by half time and have a cushion going in to the second half, in which they would have to face the wind that had favoured them so heavily in the opening half.

Some ill-discipline on the UCD side gave Trinity another goal opportunity just before the half time, but unfortunately for the visitors they again failed to capitalise and score what should have been an easy goal. Trinity were also not able to fully use the advantage given to them by the wind, and the teams went in level at the half, 0-6 to 1-3.

UCD came alive in the second half, especially after a kick by Paul Cahillane weaved through the hands of the Trinity defence, giving the home team their first goal of the game. UCD were now able to push on and assert their dominance with a multitude of points.

With the wind no longer behind them, Trinity found it difficult to get out of their half. By the 40 minute mark, UCD had established a strong lead, which was further improved when Donie Kingston blasted the ball into the back of the Trinity net.

UCD never let up the pressure right up to the end, leaving them with a comfortable victory over a less experienced Trinity team and giving them a good start to their campaign. UCD are hoping to end a dry spell of 17 years in this particular tournament. Despite being the all-time leaders in terms of Sigerson Cup wins, UCD still have a bit of work to do if they want to lift this year’s trophy.

A convincing victory, and in a Colours game too, is a good step in building the confidence necessary to win the competition. Meanwhile, for Trinity, it is back to the gym and back to the drawing board in order to try work out a way to improve the skills of their players, especially in terms of accuracy and possession retention.

It is a UCD side that is not wanting for talent, as it boasts stars such as Rory O’Connor and Kevin McLaughlin. It is easy to see that this is the best team that UCD have had in the last number of years. If they improve their discipline and ball retention, there’s no reason this UCD team can’t go all the way.

by Dónal Woods