DCU produced a ruthless attacking display against Queen’s University at St Clare’s on Sunday to storm into the Sigerson Cup semis.
First-quarter goals from Thomas Edward Donohoe, Brian Stack, and Kevin Flynn saw Paddy Christie’s men lay a powerful early platform in this last-eight encounter. David Garland, Micheal Bannigan (two), and Stephen Smith netted on the resumption as the four-time winners safely progressed to a penultimate round meeting with UCD on Wednesday night.
Thanks to a late scoring blitz by the aforementioned Bannigan, DCU squeezed past the stubborn challenge of Garda College at the same venue seven days earlier. Queen’s overcame TU Dublin City on home soil last Saturday week and were seeking to bridge a 13-year gap to their last success at this grade.
Yet with Flynn, Declan Monaghan, and Bannigan all finding the target early on, DCU were making the greater inroads during the opening exchanges. Darragh McGurn pointed off an advanced mark at the opposite end to get Queen’s up and running, but the hosts then took charge with that stunning scoring blitz.
In the space of just seven minutes, they struck for three goals - Stack’s clinical strike in the 13th-minute proving to be the pick of the bunch. Queen’s briefly halted their momentum when Donal McKeever pointed on the run, but it only served as a temporary respite.
Although Daniel McGuinness also raised a white flag after Eamon Fyfe had been denied by Evan Comerford, the trio of Donohoe, Bannigan and Garland ensured DCU brought an unassailable 3-9 to 0-3 buffer into the interval.
Despite their impressive advantage they maintained their stranglehold on the proceedings. David Garland’s 1-1 salvo stretched them further in front and while Tiarnan Bogue picked off a nice score for Queen’s, a fifth DCU goal inevitably arrived.
Not wanting to be outdone by his Monaghan compatriot Garland, the outstanding Bannigan palmed beyond the reach of Queen’s Eoghan Mulholland on 37 minutes. McGurn and Odhran Eastwood did their utmost to keep Queens in the game - the latter finding the range either side of a Smith point for DCU.
Nevertheless, with three Sigerson crowns accumulated in the last decade alone, DCU are hell-bent on the beginning the new era on a positive note. Sky Blues native Smith is pushing hard for a starting place in their side and did his chances no harm with a smooth finish just shy of the third-quarter mark.
Dublin senior panellist Paddy Small became the ninth DCU scorer on the stroke of 50 minutes, while Bannigan brought his final haul to 2-4 inside the closing stages. The hard-working McGurn added a brace of points late on as Queen’s persevered in the face of extreme adversity, but it was DCU who marched on in utterly convincing fashion.
Scorers for DCU: M Bannigan (2-4, 1f), D Garland (1f, 1 mark), B Stack (1-2 each), K Flynn, TE Donohoe, S Smith (1-1 each), D Monaghan, S Bugler, P Small (0-1 each).
Scorers for Queen’s University: D McGurn (0-4 (1f, 1 mark), O Eastwood (0-2, 2f), D Guinness, D McKeever, T Bogue (0-1 each).
DCU: E Comerford (Dublin); C Morrison (Donegal), B McCole (Donegal), D Corcoran (Louth); K Flynn (Kildare), S MacMahon (Dublin), D Monaghan (Dublin); J Morrissey (Carlow), S Carthy (Dublin); S Bugler (Dublin), M Bannigan (Monaghan), B Stack (Roscommon); TE Donohoe (Cavan), P Small (Dublin), D Garland (Monaghan).
Subs: S Smith (Dublin) for Donohoe, T Fox (Dublin) for Bugler (both 35), S Akram (Mayo) for Flynn (42), M Barry (Laois) for Carthy, S Tierney (Offaly) for Garland (both 45).
QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY: E Mulholland (Armagh); O Lappin (Armagh), A Lynch, P Fegan; D Guinness (all Down), C O’Neill (Armagh), A McAvoy (Down); D McKeever (Down), C Higgins (Armagh); R Campbell (Down), C Gorman (Down), T Bogue (Fermanagh); E Fyfe (Antrim), D McGurn (Fermanagh), O Eastwood (Antrim).
Subs: B Gallen (Down) for Campbell (18), B Haveron (Armagh) for O’Neill, C Cox (Down) for Gorman (both 42), A Fullerton (Tyrone) for Eastwood (45), E Deane (Derry) for Higgins (53).
Referee: B Cawley (Kildare).