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U20 stars can't stop Trinity battling from 10 down to take Colours honours

UCD had Harry Byrne and Tommy O’Brien in their ranks after a Six Nations campaign, but the hosts in College Park took a narrow win.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

ULSTER BANK LEAGUE: DIVISION 1A:

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY 11

UCD 10

CAPTAIN MICHAEL COURTNEY was Dublin University’s try-scoring hero as they regained the Colours Cup with a gripping 11-10 victory over UCD in College Park last night.

It may have been short on tries but the college rivals served up another entertaining edition of this prestigious annual fixture.

The 66th Colours match saw last year’s winners UCD burst into an early 10-0 lead thanks to Patrick Patterson’s converted try, however Tony Smeeth’s Trinity side scored eight second half points without reply, including centre Courtney’s crucial touchdown, to win the Colours title for the second time in three years.

The result also had huge significance for Trinity’s Ulster Bank League Division 1A status as it ensures their top flight place for next season. UCD, who are seventh in the table on the same tally of 32 points, are also safe heading into next week’s final round, leaving second-from-bottom St. Mary’s College to compete in the relegation/promotion play-offs with Division 1B opposition.

Tommy O’Brien is tackled by Kyle Dixon Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

With Ireland U20 captain Tommy O’Brien among the international contingent in the UCD line-up, the visitors were quickest out of the blocks. Good hands released pacy scrum half Patterson to go over unopposed. His half-back partner and fellow Ireland U20 international Harry Byrne converted and added a penalty to open up a 10-point lead.

It was tit-for-tat stuff as the first half progressed, Trinity denying College from a five-metre lineout opportunity, and UCD returning the favour by holding up a maul. After Byrne missed a penalty, fullback Jack McDermott was able to open Trinity’s account to make it 10-3 for half-time.

Trinity’s front row were now making more of an impact, Martin Kelly winning a scrum penalty and lively hooker Paddy Finlay showing his pace on an early second half break. UCD soon lost their tighthead Liam Hyland to the sin-bin, and a second McDermott penalty cut the gap to four points.

Keelan McKenna claims a line out Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Crucially, UCD’s discipline let them down again when loosehead Jeremy Loughman saw yellow for not retreating the required 10 metres for a Trinity penalty. The pressure was building and it paid off when Courtney held onto Tommy Whittle’s flicked pass and brushed off Patterson’s challenge to crash over for a terrific try in the left corner.

McDermott was off target with the conversion and Byrne suffered his second penalty miss of the night, as Trinity determinedly held onto their one-point advantage. They dug deep to hold UCD’s much-vaunted attack at bay, while the 22-year-old Finlay, who recently played for the Ireland Club International team, starred as the man-of-the-match, catching the eye with another barnstorming run in the closing stages.

Scorers:

Dublin University: Try: Michael Courtney; Pens: Jack McDermott 2

UCD: Try: Patrick Patterson; Con: Harry Byrne; Pen: Harry Byrne.

Trinity celebrate after the game Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

DUBLIN UNIVERSITY: Jack McDermott; Jack Kelly, Michael Courtney (capt), Kyle Dixon, Evan Dixon; Tommy Whittle, Angus Lloyd; James Bollard, Paddy Finlay, Martin Kelly, Jack Burke, Alex McDonald, Sam Pim, David St Leger, Tom Ryan.

Replacements: Darragh Higgins, Dan Sheehan, Joe Byrne, Jack Dunne, Niall O’Riordan, Rowan Osborne, Phil Murphy.

UCD: Conall Doherty; Steve Kilgallen, Jamie Glynn (capt), Tommy O’Brien, Tom Fletcher; Harry Byrne, Patrick Patterson; Jeremy Loughman, Sean McNulty, Liam Hyland, Brian Cawley, Keelan McKenna, Ronan Foley, Alex Penny, Stephen McVeigh.

Replacements: Gordon Frayne, Rory Mulvihill, Emmet McMahon, Tom Tracy, Matthew Gilsenan, Colm Mulcahy, Jack Ringrose.

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