By the end of the game yesterday, DCU were toying with a formidable looking DIT team that boasted stellar inter-county players in Alan Freeman, Aidan O’Shea, Tom Parsons, Gearoid McKiernan and Bernard Allen. DCU not only boasted their own collection of big-names, but one that also play very much as a team and now advance to the finals weekend in Galway where they’ll face either UUJ or NUIG in the semi-final.
“We’re delighted to be going toGalway,” said DCU joint-manager Tony Diamond afterwards. “It was looking ominous for us after the first ten minutes when they were playing some very good football against a very strong breeze. We seemed nervous and hesitant at that time, but we have some good footballers, they turned it around.”
Early on DIT’s formidable midfield partnership of O’Shea and McKiernan were dominant and their team-mates were intelligently using the possession they supplied to make light of the strong wind they were playing into. After 10 minutes the teams were level at 0-2 apiece and DCU were struggling to play with the sort of authority you’d expect from a team boasting four of Dublin’s 2011 All-Ireland medal winners. As the half progressed though they slowly found their rhythm helped in no small part by inspirational sallies by corner-back Philly McMahon that yielded two fine points.
By the 15th minute DCU had edged 0-5 to 0-2 ahead, but then fluffed a chance to take a firm grip when Dean Rock’s penalty was saved by DIT ‘keeper, Alan O’Mara. All the momentum was with DCU now though and five minutes later they finally did make the net bulge when Antoin McFadden goaled.
Rock and Eoghan O’Gara tacked on two more points before the break, so, despite their bright start, DIT were now trailing 1-8 0-2. Any chance of early second-half momentum faded when Alan Freeman missed a penalty shortly after half-time, his well-struck shot saved by Michael Boyle.
The rest of the half was tame enough because DIT no longer believed they could claw back the deficit and DCU were content to pick them off on the break. They closed out the match in clinical fashion and the quality of subs they introduced further emphasised how difficult they’ll be to beat.
Scorers for DCU: D Rock 0-5 (all frees), A McFadden 1-1, E O’Gara, P McMahon both 0-2, J Cooper, C Begley, J Brady, F O’Shea all 0-1
DIT scorers: A Freeman 0-4 (all frees), G McKiernan, H Dawson, P Sharry (f) all 0-1.
DCU: M Boyle (Donegal); P McMahon (Dublin), K Gavin (Westmeath), E Culligan (Dublin); N Collins (Roscommon), J Cooper (Dublin), J McCarthy (Dublin); F O’Curraoin (Galway), C Belgey (Laois); P Flynn (Dublin), D Rock (Dublin), D Keenan (Roscommon); J Brady (Cavan), E O’Gara (Dublin), A McFadden (Donegal).
Subs: F O’Shea (Cork) for E O’Gara (50), C Cafferky (Roscommon) for J Cooper (55), P Dooney (Monaghan) for P Flynn (57), L Bree (Sligo) for K Gavin (57), C Cregg (Roscommon) for D Keenan (60).
DIT: A O’Mara (Dublin); P Cunningham (Wicklow), A McLoughlin (Wicklow), D Nelson (Dublin); E Reilly (Meath), B Menton (Meath), D Hughes (Monaghan); A O’Shea (Mayo), G McKiernan (Cavan); P Sharry (Westmeath), T Parsons (Mayo), H Dawson (Dublin); B Allen (Offaly), A Freeman (Mayo), J McGrath (Wicklow).
Subs: P McGuire (Dublin) for J McGrath (25), M Reilly (Cavan) for P Maguire (44), N Devereaux (Dublin) for D Hughes (58), R Hazley (Dublin) for H Dawson (60)
Referee: B McCormack (Dublin).