Dublin Colleges toast of capital

Dublin Colleges 1-11 St Flannan’s, Ennis 0-11
DUBLIN COLLEGES created history by winning the Croke Cup (All-Ireland Colleges SHC) at the first attempt at Dr Cullen Park, Carlow, yesterday, to cap a great weekend for hurling in the capital.

Playing a superb brand of hurling, they chased and harassed the defending champions at every opportunity and Cian McBride’s goal in the 42nd minute proved the decisive score.

A jubilant Dublin coach Vincent Teehan said such a victory was a long time coming but well worth the wait. “No words of mine can describe the feeling of winning our first All-Ireland colleges hurling title,” he said.

“At the beginning of the year we knew we had a very good crop of players all very keen to establish themselves. This victory was well deserved. The four point half-time deficit wasn’t that bad and we knew that if we kept our heads we were in with a great chance in the second half.

“Our goal came at the right time and our ‘keeper made a number of crucial saves which kept us in the hunt but overall it was a team performance. I’m delighted for the players and Dublin hurling which needs this boost.”

Dublin GAA secretary John Costello said the win was a huge fillip for the game in the capital. “The county board had been putting a lot of resources into the game. We are encouraging kids of 13-14 years to opt for one code. It’s the only way forward for us. Hopefully this victory will encourage them to concentrate on hurling as they grow older,” he said.

St Flannan’s coach James O’Connor said his side looked a tired outfit having played a lot of hurling in recent weeks at club and county level.

“I’m not making any excuses, we couldn’t match their hunger and that was the principle difference between the teams.”

Despite playing into the wind, the physically stronger Dublin Colleges side wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard when Paul Ryan pointed after 30 seconds.

A clearly fired up Dublin side showed little regard for the reputation of their opponents, powering forward at every opportunity, but the Flannan’s defence was rock solid with Seamus Hickey and Ciaran O’Doherty giving nothing away.

At the other end, the Munster champions’ forwards created a lot of space and a succession of points had them 0-3 to 0-1 in front after 10 minutes.

The game lacked any real sparkle which was surprising given what was at stake, but Dublin Colleges were doing well, particularly around the middle where Dermot Connolly and Shane O’Rourke were on top, and with Flannan’s wasting chances, the Leinster side were happy to be a point behind after 25 minutes (0-5 to 0-4).

St Flannan’s finished the half with three further points, to lead 0-8 to 0-4 at half-time, but it didn’t look to be enough given the strength of the wind.

Flannan’s continued to chalk up the wides on the changeover but it was Dublin Colleges playing most of the hurling and they were finally rewarded when McBride made up for an earlier miss, shooting home from close range despite the best efforts of Flannan’s ‘keeper Donal Tuohy to keep it out.

That goal raised the standard of the game a couple of notches and Dublin Colleges, with Paul Ryan sparkling in attack, hit the front for the first time when he pointed in the 45th minute. They were never subsequently led.

However, the Dublin side were grateful for two brilliant saves by their ‘keeper Simon Lambert as Flannan’s threw everything at them in the closing minutes.

Points by Paul Ryan and Johnny Cooper put three between the sides and the clock began to wind down, but it took another tremendous save by Lambert from Conor Tierney to prevent the game going into extra time.

Scorers for Dublin Colleges: P. Ryan 0-6 (0-4 frees); C. McBride 1-0; J. Maher 0-2; D. Connolly, R. O’Carroll, J. Cooper 0-1 each.

St Flannan’s: C. Tierney 0-4 (Frees); C. Nealon, C. O’Doherty (frees) 0-2 each; J. Conlon, C. Madden, D. Stack 0-1 each.

ST FLANNAN’S: D. Touhy; C. O’Doherty, C. Cooney, S. O’Regan; E. Glynn, S. Hickey, D. Ryan; E. Barrett, D. Stack; B. Coffey, C. Madden, R. Horan; J. Conlon, C. Tierney, C. Nealon.

Subs: M. Earley for Coffey; C. O’Connell for Horan.

DUBLIN COLLEGES: S. Lambert; S. Murphy, P. O’Callaghan, M. Brannigan; J. Sheanon, C. Connolly, B. Treacy; S. O’Rourke, D. Connolly; C. McBride, R. O’Carroll, J. Maher; P. Ryan, J. Cooper, D. Kelly.

Subs: B. Traynor for Kelly; P. Buckeridge for O’Callaghan.

Referee: D. Murphy (Wexford).


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