Sunday the 15th March saw a 3 year plan come into it’s final phase,as Trinity College made it’s full debut in the IAFL. The previous year, TCD had dominated the DV-8’s format, and many speculated as to how they would perform in the IAFL. Their opponents, DCU Saints, have been a regular visitor to the playoffs in recent years .If the collegiate rivalry wasnt enough to build the hype, the fact that Trinity Head Coach Darrin O’Toole (A former coach at DCU) and DCU Head Coach Dave Rothwell were both former teammates as part of the famous Rebels team who dominated the first half of the decade meant all eyes were fixed on this as the game to watch on this sunny opening weekend.
The game started badly for the debutants, with bad field position resulting from the opening kickoff. TCD went 3 and out and a bad punt had DCU sniffing blood on their first possession.After a short drive, RB Dave McMahon kicked one to the endzone to bring the score to 7-0 DCU.
Trinity came out on their second drive firing, and 2 plays into it RB Rob McDowell exploded for a 50 yard TD.A missed PAT left the game close at 6-7.
After trading blows on ensuing drives TCD took the game by the neck,on the back of an INT by LB Steve Fallon in the 2nd quarter. An excellent catch by WR David Corcoran saw QB Spottiswoode bring TCD into touching distance of DCU’s endzone.Niall Clarke made a crucial 2nd down catch to bring the ball to the 2 yard line,and on 3rd down FB Connor Logue ran untouched behind C Matt McGrath,LG David “Sugar” Kane and LT Justin Stover into the endzone. All round specialist James Marron kicked the PAT to give TCD a 13-7 lead going into the half.
The 3rd Quarter saw a refreshed Saints team come out firing on all cylinders. TE Flood made some big catches to drive down the field, and Dave McMahon continued to cause problems for the rookie defense.Holding firm on defense, TCD got the ball back thanks to a Lorcan Smullen interception. A few plays later RB McDowell blasted through the Saints to score a stunning 40 yard TD,bringing the score to 20-7 to the new boys.
DCU rallied well,completing some nice passes and moving the chains.RB McMahon broke out to the sideline and took another score to bring the 3rd quarter to an end,with it all to play for,20-15 Trinity.
In the fourth quarter DCU tried to air the ball out with limited success.TCD’s Defensive Line caused huge pressure, with Wahab,Logue and OLB Carton getting sacks. Trading blows, Trinity DB Sam Whelan came up with a huge sack to prevent DCU scoring in the Red Zone. On DCU’s next possession Connor Logue sacked QB Ecklof and took the ball away. A play later, RB McDowell broke again through the heart of DCU’s defense to make the game 26-15. Trinity went for 2 pts and FB Logue powered the ball home for a convincing Trinity win.
Trinity finished the game with zero sacks allowed and zero interceptions,2 interceptions on defense and 7 sacks.DCU play the Rebels April 11th,Trinity face the Rebels in their next game March 28th.