Mickey Quinn and Donie Smith exerted significant influence when introduced at half-time, the latter drawing matters level deep in the second period of extra-time. Sprung from the bench on 58 minutes, Simon McCoy was another too impress – the Armagh Harps footballer a key figure in resisting several UCC extra-time raids.
“One of the big things this year was that we thought we had a really good bench. We had a starting team and a finishing team and that worked very well,” said the DCU manager.
“Mickey Quinn got injured in a national league game two weeks ago for Longford, otherwise we would have started him.
“What gives DCU great satisfaction tonight is that only two of the 36 fellas togged didn’t play fresher for the college. That’s the reason the last 10 minutes went the way it did. These lads have lived, eaten, slept and drank together the last four years. When you do that, there’s a tightness and that probably is the thing which carried us over the line this year.
“Great teams find ways to win, particularly tight games. We had 13 games this year and 11 of them were played away from home. That builds character, going into the lion’s den.
“I wouldn’t want to be in a dressing room with a better set of human beings and characters, and they showed that in spades today.”
Saturday represented DCU’s fourth Sigerson Cup final appearance — they’ve yet to lose on February’s third Saturday. Moyna said the victory over UCC differed from the 2006, ’10 and ’12 final wins as nothing was expected of this current crop.
“There was no expectation at the start of the year. We won the league and we got a bit of momentum. Every Sigerson is special. It was a big blow to lose our vice-captain and captain. Against UCD we missed Tom Flynn and Davy Byrne. They are our leaders on the pitch. When you don’t have leaders on the pitch, it can be difficult.”
UCC selector John Corcoran lamented their missed opportunities at key stages.
“At the end of the day, we had our chances and we didn’t take them. DCU had theirs and they took them,” he noted. “It would be unfair after 80 minutes of play to totally focus in on one incident. You have to look at the game in its entirety. I wouldn’t be apportioning blame to any one of our players.
“Both teams kicked a lot of wides when on top.”
He continued: “We are extremely disappointed, not only at the loss, but for the players who put in a massive effort.
“There were several occasions when DCU looked like approaching the finish line unimpeded, but our lads fought to the death. With time up and a point up… DCU got dubious decisions today in my opinion. Fair play to their goalkeeper, he came up and delivered a great kick.
“In extra-time, David Culhane kicked a great goal. But we couldn’t shake them off. They were like leeches, they eked out a win. I have been told subsequently that one of their points was wide. I was told by people down at that end of the goal that the last point they got was wide. I couldn’t judge it myself, I was too far away.”