DCU seal Fitzgibbon quarter-final spot in fractious affair

DCU Dóchas Éireann qualified for the Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-finals after they overcome the stubborn resistance of their Maynooth University hosts on Sunday.

DCU seal Fitzgibbon quarter-final spot in fractious affair

DCU Dóchas Éireann 1-20 Maynooth University 1-12

DCU Dóchas Éireann qualified for the Fitzgibbon Cup quarter-finals after they overcome the stubborn resistance of their Maynooth University hosts on Sunday.

The fixture was postponed by an hour to allow the pitch to defrost. Rising temperatures were matched by rising tensions from the first whistle of a fractious affair which was dominated by the free-taking skills of DCU's Rory O’Connor and Maynooth's Conor Drennan.

Despite the final scoreline, DCU needed patience to overturn a Maynooth side, who now travel to UL for a midweek must-win game.

Level at 0-3 apiece after 13 minutes, James Burke and O'Connor gave DCU a brief two-point lead before Andrew Gaffney and Drennan hauled them back. O’Connor’s fourth first-half free gave DCU a 0-8 to 0-3 lead by the 23rd minute as the Eoin Roche trained side hit five unanswered points.

Struggling to score from the 13th minute, Maynooth over-complicated things at the back leading to turnovers in tough conditions.

But when Drennan pounced for a late first-half goal - created by Conor Browne’s work-rate and ingenuity - Maynooth began to believe an upset was on as they trailed 0-10 to 1-3 at half-time.

However, sensing danger, DCU stormed out on the restart with substitute Sean Currie netting in the 33rd minute.

But Drennan kept closing the gap from placed balls and had the margin down to four points separating the teams in the 59th minute.

DCU again upped the gears down the final stretch with Brian Ryan and Burke landing the pick of their final six points.

Scorers for DCU Dóchas Éireann: R O’Connor (0-7f); J Burke (0-4); D Burke (1-0); B Ryan (0-3); J Roberts (0-2); C Burke, F Whitely, C Hearne and J Ryan (0-1 each).

Scorers for Maynooth University: C Drennan (1-8 (5f, 1 ’65); A Gaffney (f), E Molloy, E Aherne and C Stakelum 0-1 each.

DCU Dóchas Éireann: D Perry; L Gannon, P Smyth, C Firman; B Ryan, C Burke, D Gray; D Reck, R McBride; F Whitely, R O'Connor, C Prendeville; C Hearne, J Ryan, J Burke.

Subs: S Currie for Prendeville (h/t); R Boran for Whitely (49); J Roberts for Hearne (50); C Dowling for McBride (60); K Burke for Burke (63).

MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY: S Buggy; DD Kehoe, C Byrne, D Comerford, J Cullen, E Molloy, C Maloney; R Buckley, E Aherne; C Stakelum, C Browne, A Gaffney; C Drennan, S Clerkin, J O'Dwyer.

Subs: F Hynes for Kehoe (20 mins); M Dwyer for O'Dwyer (h/t); D Conway for Aherne (46); L Hogan for Clerkin (50).

Referee: G McGrath (Wexford)

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