First-half goals from Enda Smith and Niall Murphy gave Niall Moyna’s side an unassailable lead and Smith bagged his second goal deep into injury-time to put the finishing touches on a win which puts DCU through to the quarter-finals.
UU boasted a very strong line-up but they were disjointed and played as individuals with a lack of support play. Paddy McBrearty and Kieran Hughes led the fight for the home side, but the visitors had a better understanding and greater team-work, as their manager Moyna alluded to afterwards.
“UU were heavy favourites and sometimes when the expectation is on you it is difficult to perform because the game is not played on paper,” he said. “We know what that has felt like in the past and been on the receiving end of it. We may not have had household names today but we have a good team and we felt confident our defence could contain their marquee forwards.”
Moyna hailed Jack Smith’s shackling of Mayo star Cillian O’Connor as an example, predicting the former Dublin U21 All-Ireland winner will break into the senior team this year.
UU hit five wides in the opening 12 minutes and, once DCU settled, they banged in two goals in the 23 and 28th minutes. Murphy’s tidy finish to the far corner gave them a 2-5 to 0-2 lead before points from Killian Clarke and Ronan O’Neill narrowed UU’s deficit to 2-5 to 0-4 at the interval. UU outscored their opponents by six points to three in the third quarter but too many of their inter-county stars failed to fire and Smith banged in his second goal in the third minute of stoppage time for DCU.
Scorers for UU: P McBrearty 0-2 (2f), R Donnelly 0-2, K Clarke, S Sheridan, R O’Neill, C Mooney, D Savage 0-1 each, C O’Connor 0-1 (f).
Scorers for DCU: E Smith 2-0, N Murphy 1-1, C McHugh 0-5 (4f), D Smith 0-2, R Connor, C Daly 0-1 each
UU: R Beggan (Monaghan); K Brady (Cavan), R Johnston (Antrim), M Johnston (Antrim); K Clarke (Cavan), M Donnelly (Tyrone), S Sheridan (Armagh); M Argue (Cavan), C Mooney (Down); K Hughes (Monaghan), R O’Neill (Tyrone), R Donnelly (Tyrone); P McBrearty (Donegal), C O’Boyle (Derry), C O’Connor (Mayo)
Subs: B Sankey (Cavan) for Argue (29), D Savage (Down) for Sankey (BC, 35), L Gervin (Tyrone) for O’Neill (40), F Burns (Tyrone) for O’Boyle (44)
DCU: T Lowe (Roscommon); J Smith (Dublin), C Boyle (Monaghan), C Daly (Roscommon); D Ward (Monaghan), C Moynagh (Cavan), C Begley (Laois); T Flynn (Galway), S O’Brien (Tipperary); D O’Connor (Mayo), C Meredith (Laois), D Byrne (Dublin); E Smith (Roscommon), N Murphy (Sligo), C McHugh (Dublin)
Subs: R Connor (Longford) for Meredith (39), D Smith (Roscommon) for Murphy (45), C McGreanor (Wicklow) for O’Connor (46), E O’Connor (Louth) for Byrne (52), S Carey (Monaghan) for Moynagh (55), D Wrynn (Leitrim) for McHugh (58)
Referee: Padraig Hughes (Armagh).