Jack Bryant and Lorcan O’Dell struck second-half goals as DCU advanced to the last-four of the Sigerson Cup with a comfortable victory at home to MTU Cork.
Despite the absence of Galway attacker Robert Finnerty through an ankle injury, Paddy Christie’s Dublin-based outfit were a step ahead of their Leeside counterparts.
Meath duo Matthew Costello and Shane Walsh registered a combined tally of 0-9 for the triumphant DCU and Clyda Rovers club man Conor Corbett was also a notable presence in their attack.
In defeat, Ryan O’Donovan and David Buckley did their utmost to stem the tide and MTU had found themselves well into contention until DCU eventually turned on the style in the second half to place the final outcome beyond doubt.
Indeed, it was the elusive inside forward O’Donovan who broke the deadlock - the Barryroe star getting on the end of a patient move for a third-minute point. Nevertheless, DCU started to settle into the contest as it began to develop.
Fresh from his impressive league display against Cork on Sunday, Shane Walsh got the 2020 champions up and running moments after Donegal native Shane O’Donnell had fired a shot against the post.
Walsh’s Royal County colleague Costello lined up alongside Bill Carroll in midfield and he knocked over three frees to help the hosts establish a firm foothold.
Although Buckley kicked a fine point for the MTU during this juncture, Costello and Alex Beirne also split the uprights as DCU started to move through the gears. O’Donovan and Costello proceeded to trade scores, before a flourish at the end of the first half gave MTU a fighting chance of success.
Shooting from a left-hand angle, Buckley’s free sailed safely between the uprights for his third point of the tie. O’Donovan also capped off a productive opening 30 minutes with a routine place-ball strike of his own to leave MTU just two adrift (0-7 to 0-5) at the interval.
Yet DCU remained in control of their own destiny and significant daylight was created on the scoreboard just two minutes after the resumption when Bryant fired an unstoppable shot beyond the reach of Kieran Twomey.
Aaron O’Shea and Buckley did their best to keep the Cork side in touch, but Costello, Walsh, Kevin Quinn and the raiding PJ Masterson kept the scoreboard ticking over for DCU.
The aforementioned O’Dell was held in reserve having missed out on Dublin’s NFL Division Two opener against Kildare last weekend. However, the Templeogue Synge Street forward was introduced off the bench and his stunning finish with eight minutes remaining eliminated the prospect of a dramatic late fightback from MTU.
Walsh’s third point of the evening moved DCU all of 11 points clear, though their Cork opponents did round off the scoring with successive points from Buckley and David O’Connor. Marauding defender Sean Andrews was close to grabbing a consolation goal in the dying moments of the play, but Dublin netminder David O’Hanlon was equal to his close-range drive.
M Costello (0-6, 5f), J Bryant, L O’Dell (1-0 each), S Walsh (0-3, 2f), A Beirne, PJ Masterson, K Quinn (0-1 each).
D Buckley (0-4, 2f), R O’Donovan (0-3, 2f), A O’Shea, D O’Connor (0-1 each).
D O’Hanlon (Dublin); T Crean (Roscommon), P Hughes (Wexford), J Grant (Donegal); A Beirne (Kildare), PJ Masterson (Longford), M Cully (Kildare); B Carroll (Offaly), M Costello (Meath); K McGann (Longford), S Walsh (Meath), S O’Donnell (Donegal); J Bryant (Offaly), C Corbett (Cork), S Jones (Monaghan).
E Smith (Sligo) for Jones (11), K Quinn (Wicklow) for Costello (35), L O’Dell (Dublin) for McGann (41), S Fitzgerald (Galway) for Cully (54), R O Mearlaigh (Donegal) for Walsh (57).
K Twomey; S Andrews, S Meehan, T Walsh; J Cooper, P Ring, R Maguire; C O’Shea, L Smith (Kerry); A O’Shea (Kerry), J Cahalane, D Buckley; A Walsh, E O’Hanlon, R O’Donovan.
S Dore for O’Hanlon (45), K O’Driscoll for Cooper (50), D O’Connor for O’Shea (54), J Kelleher (Kerry) for Meehan (57).
B Cawley (Kildare).