They beat a more than competent St. Mary’s, Belfast with little fuss, and it was apparent that they had another couple of gears to call upon if they’d needed them.
After just five minutes you knew the Ulster men were going to be bailing water all day.
By then DCU’s David Kelly and Michael Lyng had knocked over two fine points, and there was just an impressive snap and crackle about everything the defending champions were doing.
St. Mary’s did narrow the gap to one point at 0-3 to 0-2, but that’s the closest they’d get all day.
A well taken goal from DCU and Laois wing-back, Colm Begley after 15 minutes was a watershed moment. It put the home team 1-4 to 0-2 ahead, and you knew there would be no way back for the Ulster men.
Four unanswered points before the break, three of them converted frees from Donegal star Michael Murphy, gave DCU a half-time lead of 1-8 to 0-3, and now it was just a question of how much they’d win by.
There’d been friction on the sideline between both management teams all day, and it made its way onto the field in the second-half, too, as DCU’s David O’Gara and St. Mary’s’ Ruairi Keenan were red-carded in quick succession.
O’Gara was sent to the line for a high tackle on Ciaran Campbell, and Keenan was given his marching orders for an off the ball incident.
The reduction in numbers only made DCU’s dominance more prominent, and with Dublin’s Paul Flynn in particular showing up well they eased further away from St. Mary’s as the half went by.
Points from three Dubliners – Flynn, James McCarthy and Paddy Andrews — put them 1-11 to 0-4 ahead, and then whatever small ember of hope St Mary’s had of turning the match around was extinguished when David Kelly scrambled home a goal.
St. Mary’s did make the score-line look a little bit more respectable when substitute Darren Canavan pointed and then Peter Harte followed up shortly afterwards with a converted penalty, but it was only cosmetic.
There was no disguising DCU’s superiority, and with Roscommon’s Donie Shine yet to return it’s clear they’re going to take some stopping again this year.
Scorers for DCU: D Kelly 1-2; C Begley 1-0; M Murphy 0-3 (0-3f); M McElhinney, P Flynn 0-2 each; S Ormsby, J McCarthy, D O’Gara, M Lyng, P Andrews 0-1 each.
Scorers for St. Mary’s: P Harte 1-1 (1-0 pen); K Mossey 0-2 (0-1f); D Canavan, B Herron (0-1f) 0-1 each.
DCU: R Hennelly (Mayo); K Nolan (Dublin), K Gavin (Westmeath), S Ormsby (Roscommon); J McCarthy (Dublin), B Cullen (Dublin), C Begley (Laois); M McElhinney (Donegal), N McAdam (Monaghan); D O’Gara (Roscommon), M Lyng (Cavan), P Flynn (Dublin); P Andrews (Dublin), M Murphy (Donegal), D Kelly (Sligo).
Subs: N Collins (Roscommon) for Cullen (38), C McGuinness (Monaghan) for Andrews (47), C Rafferty (Louth) for Murphy (51), C Cregg (Roscommon) for Lyng (55), D Keenan (Roscommon) for McCarthy (57).
ST MARY’S: T Harney (Tyrone); M Slane (Tyrone), P Martin (Monaghan), E McArdle (Armagh); C Campbell (Tyrone), B Canavan (Tyrone), S O’Neill (Tyrone); C Doyle (Derry), M McKenna (Cavan); B Herron (Derry), K Mossey (Tyrone), Peter Harte (Tyrone); J Gilmore (Tyrone), K Connolly (Fermanagh), R Keenan (Tyrone).
Subs: O MacOmlair (Sligo) for Gilmore (47), S McKenna (Tyrone) for Herron (43), D Canavan (Tyrone) for Connolly (55).
Referee: Pat Fox (Westmeath)