Two tries from DCU’s Patrick Thornton helped the Ireland Students side to a 33-17 win over their Scottish counterparts at the University of Edinburgh on Sunday.
Thornton powered past two Scottish challenges on a cold day in Peffermill for the opening try, before notching his second in the second half to push out Ireland’s lead to eleven points.
Ty Chan also grabbed two tries as the away side raced ahead in the second half, and Thornton believes it was down to the team not having played together in a competitive game before this.
“I think it took us a while to settle into the game,” Thornton said. “Not having played together before, and the Scots having home advantage may have played a part in that.”
“As we settled in things started to come together a bit more and the tries started to come.
“Getting two tries was amazing, I don’t score very often so it was a welcome surprise,” he said.
Thornton and team-mate JJ O’Dea both represented the university on an impressive weekend for the DCU Force, as the Men’s Sevens side won the European University Sevens title in Lille, and the DCU Women’s side came through their SSI Cup semi-final to set up an All-Ireland Final date on 21st March in Athlone.
A strong foundation is bearing fruit across all sides in the university, Thornton thinks, and he commends the work of both the students and the higher-ups for the top week they’ve had, despite the stresses of their outside commitments.
“I think the organisation and level of coaching is fantastic in DCU,” the Terenure clubman commented.
“[DCU Rugby Development Officer] Aidan Kearney has done a great job on building on the already good foundations in the rugby club, along with that the participation and enthusiasm shown by the students – that leads to its success.
“The standard is right up there up with the AIL. Most of the guys involved would be playing week in week out on first or second teams with their clubs – although I feel guys don’t get to train with their college teams as much as they have club commitments.”
Ireland Students coach David O’Mahony was in agreement with Thornton, and called the game a “great showcase” for the players.
“This was a highly competitive match, with a high degree of skill and intensity demonstrated throughout,” he said, speaking after the game.
“It was a great showcase for third level rugby, and the great work being done with regards to player development in the universities and colleges of Ireland.”
Image Credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile