Mahony hat-trick powers slick UCC

UCC issued a powerful statement of intent in their opening Fitzgibbon Cup Group D clash in freezing conditions at the Mardyke last night as they crushed the challenge of DCU.

The scoreline reflects the complete control that UCC exerted and the home side were full value for the staggering 29 point winning margin.

The result places UCC in an extremely good position in this group ahead of their trip to Galway to face GMIT next week in their final round-robin clash and at this juncture they look in pole position to claim the coveted home advantage for the quarter-finals. On a night where they largely played flawless hurling, the only downside to their victory was the thumb injury incurred by midfielder Daniel Kearney which forced him off in the 11th minute while wing-forward Seamus Harnedy was another to go off with an injury before half-time.

UCC, Fitzgibbon Cup semi-finalists last year and league champions before Christmas, do look to have greatly enhanced their attacking options this season on the evidence of last night’s game. Pauric Mahony, who made a brilliant impact for the Waterford seniors last summer, was hugely influential at wing-forward as the Ballygunner man fired 3-3 during UCC’s scoring spree. Willie Griffin, a member of last year’s Limerick U21 Munster winning squad, was another to sparkle here as he weighed in with 2-5. Shane Bourke and Stephen Moylan, survivors of the UCC Fitzgibbon Cup winning side in 2009, showed their experience in posting scores and DCU’s overwhelmed rearguard had no answer to the incessant pressure they were placed under.

DCU were totally out of their depth and only goalkeeper Bill McCormack, a former Tipperary minor and U21, Willie Eviston and JJ Lennon in defence, midfielder Emmett Kent (who was razor-sharp from placed balls) and centre-forward Wesley O’Brien, a native of Carrigaline in Cork can look back on this one with any degree of satisfaction.

However ultimately this was a severely lopsided encounter. DCU emerged fired up for the encounter in the early stages and only trailed 0-3 to 0-2 by the close of the opening quarter. However then UCC cut loose with Bourke, Griffin and Mahony all on target as UCC pulled 0-8 to 0-2 clear. In the 25th minute they raised their first green flag when Mahony rammed a 20-yard free to the net and by the interval they were ahead by 1-12 to 0-5.

In the second-half UCC maintained their levels of dominance with John O’Callaghan, Darragh Fives and William Egan all on top. The flurry of goals was kick-started in the 38th minute when Moylan fired home after great approach work by Griffin. Four minutes later Griffin found the net before Mahony and Griffin again blasted shots past McCormack. Brosnan, who made a fine contribution when introduced from the bench as did Brian Hartnett, got in on the goal-scoring act in the 50th minute and Mahony rounded off the night when he completed his hat-trick on 56 minutes.

Scorers for UCC: P Mahony 3-3 (1-0f), W Griffin 2-5 (0-3f), D Brosnan 1-2, S Moylan 1-1, S Bourke 0-4, B Hartnett 0-2, M Grace 0-1.

Scorers for DCU: E Kent 0-6 (0-5f, 0-1 65), W O’Brien 0-2, S McGrath, J Cullen 0-1 each.

UCC: D McCarthy (Cork); S Maher (Tipperary), J O’Callaghan (Cork), K Murphy(Cork); J Barry (Tipperary), D Fives (Waterford), W Egan(Cork); D Kearney (Cork), B Murray (Cork); S Harnedy (Cork), M Grace (Kilkenny), P Mahony (Waterford); S Bourke (Tipperary), S Moylan (Cork), W Griffin (Limerick).

Subs: S Corry (Cork) for Kearney (11, inj), D Brosnan (Cork) for Harnedy (27, inj), B Hartnett (Cork) for Grace (45), P O’Mahony (Cork) for O’Callaghan (51), J Nagle (Cork) for O’Callaghan (51).

DCU: B McCormack (Tipperary); S Kelly (Carlow), W Eviston (Tipperary), J Whelan (Wexford); J Ging (Laois), JJ Lennon (Kilkenny), A Cash (Wexford); E Kent (Wexford), Q Lynch (Galway); O Ó Maoileidigh (Dublin), W O’Brien (Cork), S McGrath (Dublin); D Reidy (Clare), C Foley (Dublin), J Cullen (Wexford).

Subs: S Griffith (Wexford) for Lynch (inj) (21), J Murphy (Wexford) for Kelly (48), G Muldoon (Galway) for Reidy (53).

Referee: P Casey (Waterford).

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