Dublin University Football Club (DUFC) Womens’s loss to Athlone IT, despite being a much closer-fought affair than previous games, adds to what has been a disappointing start to the season for the team. A rousing second half for Trinity, which saw two tries for the team in the last 10 minutes, could not make up for a messy first half in which Trinity barely managed to break into Athlone’s territory.

A number of fumbled passes and strong pressure applied by Athlone stunted most of their attempts at attack, but a robust Trinity defence, supported by outside-centre Eimear Ryan’s great kicking, saw off chances of heavy concessions. With only one (albeit excellent) unconverted try by Athlone going into half-time, spirits were still high, and the second half offered Trinity an opportunity to push back.

And so they did. Though Athlone’s attack remained just as strong, Trinity’s greater possession aided a noticeably stronger attack, and made for a much more hotly contested affair. Unfortunately the heightened efforts didn’t translate into points, and following a series of threatening breaks earlier in the half, Athlone inside centre Kara Collins finally broke through with a powerful run, placing the ball right under the arches and making for an easily converted try.

Still 12-0 down towards the end and with Athlone still giving the team trouble, one would have been forgiven for thinking Trinity had little chance of doing more than minimising the points difference. The darkening sky and worsening weather didn’t make for good omens. But the final 10 minutes would dispel any notion of this. Weakened by several injuries, the Athlone defence started to strain under a newfound aggression from Trinity. A series of fierce attacks and good breaks culminated in Cathy Liney’s storming of the end line, finally making Trinity’s mark on the scoreboard in the seventieth minute.

A difficult and missed conversion clearly did not dampen Trinity’s spirit. Though lines became messy, an assault led by Niamh O’Kelly Lynch continued and play was largely contained to Athlone’s half. Promising breaks through Athlone’s defence kept providing opportunities to equalise and in a dramatic 80th minute, one was finally realised with a right-hand corner try by Eimear Ryan, bringing the score to 12-10.

A draw eluded Trinity however, as another difficult conversion was missed. Shortly after the whistle blew on a narrow loss which was at least a more encouraging result than Trinity’s recent defeats.

Next up for DUFC is a tough clash with Clontarf in Division Three of the Leinster League this Saturday in Santry.