It came at a stage when the home side were under enormous pressure as UCD, with the wind to their backs, came forward in waves, looking for the win. A breakdown in a passing movement on the Garda 45 metre line saw the ball passed to Fenton who took off on solo run.
Fenton who had only just come on for the injured Padraig Mullarkey, couldn’t believe his luck as the UCD defence backed off and allowed him to race through before the Kerry man unleashed a powerful shot to the net to set up a quarter-final clash with DCU.
The victory which was well merited, came at a price however. Padraig Mullarkey who was having fine game went off with a suspected broken arm, and if that is confirmed, he’ll be an enormous loss to his college and county Kildare.
This was played at a frantic pace and only once did it threaten to boil over but wiser counsel prevailed.
Garda, playing with the strong wind in the opening half needed a good half time lead if they were to survive, and things weren’t looking too good when the visitors lead with a Craig Rogers point after three minutes.
With Laois’s Billy Sheehan leading the UCD attack in style and Austin O’Malley causing endless problems for the Garda defence, the Dublin students made the early running.
Garda weathered the early UCD onslaught well. Mervyn Lee, Tommy Brosnan and team captain Pat Kelly took compete control in defence and with Padraig Mullarkey giving them a grip on midfield, the scores finally began to flow for the home side.
Nemo’s James Masters kicked three points, Cormac Bane who is a senior with Galway added two more and by the end of the opening quarter Garda had stormed into a 0-7 to 0-2 lead.
However Austin O’Malley was a constant thorn in Garda’s side and after he kicked over a point, UCD’s first for 12 minutes, he created a goal chance for Shane Lennon who managed to get his fist to the ball to force it over the line and Garda’s half time lead of 0-9 to 1-4 didn’t look good enough.
Unfortunately for UCD, the strength of the wind dropped considerably at half-time and it was the home side who continued to play the better football. By the end of the third quarter Garda had forged 0-13 to 1-5 ahead, the impressive Cormac Bane scoring two of the four points that were added.
UCD threw caution to the wind and using the long ball to great effect, pinned Garda in their own half for most of the last quarter.
It took some great defending by goalkeeper Joe Hayes and team captain Pat Kelly to deny the students and when David Fenton goaled late in the game, the UCD challenge was finally broken.
: Garda: C. Bane, J. Masters (0-2 frees) 0-4 each; D. Fenton 1-0; P. Mullarkey, A. O’Connor, P. Kelly, B. Coen, D. Marshall (free) 0-1 each. UCD: A. O’Malley 0-5 (0-4 frees); S. Lennon 1-0; C. Rogers 0-1.
: J. Hayes; J. Lambe, M., Lee, T. Brosnan; B. Moriarty, D. Hickey, P. Kelly; P. Mullarkey, A. O’Connor; J. Masters, V. Hurley, M. O’Shea; D. Marshall, C. Bane, B. Coen.
: P. Casey for Coen; D. Fenton for Mullarkey.
: D. McInerney; D. Geraghty, P. Navan, J. McCarthy; S. Brady, P. Ogle, M. Duffy; K. Doherty, M. Ward; J. Sherry, B. Sheehan, S. Lennon; P. Earls, C. Rogers, A. O’Malley;
: N. Lydon for Sherry; B. Teehan for Ogle; E. McGrath for Lennon.
: E. Whelan (Laois).