Micheál Bannigan kicked a late flurry of points at St Clare’s to squeeze DCU past the stubborn challenge of Garda College in the Sigerson Cup opening round.
Following the 49th-minute dismissal of Dublin senior star Paddy Small, the four-time champions looked set for an early exit. That was until Garda netminder Shaun Patton also received his marching orders on the hour mark and with Monaghan native Bannigan posting 0-3 in stoppage-time, the hosts set up a quarter-final showdown against Queen’s University, Belfast next Sunday.
At the end of a tentative opening half, the combined forces of Galway’s Paul Mannion and Paul McKeon ensured the visitors brought a 0-6 to 0-4 buffer into the interval.
Though DCU dug deep in the aftermath of Small’s sending-off, a two-point salvo from Patton had Garda within sight of a last-eight spot.
However, the Donegal custodian later saw red for a rash challenge and Bannigan duly punished the Templemore side in a tension-filled finale.
Scorers for DCU: M Bannigan (0-6, 4 frees); D Garland (f), B Stack, M Barry, TE Donohoe, T Fox (0-1 each).
Scorers for Garda College: S Patton (3 frees); P Mannion (2 frees), P McKeon (f) (0-3 each).
DCU: E Comerford; C Morrison, B McCole, D Corcoran; K Flynn, S MacMahon, D Monaghan; J Morrissey, S Bugler; B Stack, M Bannigan, M Barry; TE Donohoe, P Small, D Garland.
Subs: T Fox for Barry (29), C McKeown for Corcoran (52), S Akram for Monaghan (55).
GARDA COLLEGE: S Patton; D Dunne, S Nerney, D Petit; T Brereton, D Masterson, J Bellamy; T Clarke, C McGinley; K Doherty, R Harkin, K O’Sullivan; P Mannion, P McKeon, C O’Brien.
Subs: J Kane for O’Brien (36), A Walsh for McKeon (39), J Thackaberry for Bellamy (50), M Breathnach for Petit (61).
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).