DCU 1-20 St Pat’s-Mater Dei 0-11
Previous defeats meant progression was out of reach for both teams but Fitzgibbon Cup pride was at least salvaged by DCU last night.
A dozen points from Waterford’s Donie Breathnach proved decisive as the north-Dublin outfit edged their near neighbours into bottom spot in Group A.
It was tempting to label this game a dead rubber with Cork IT and UCD sure of filling the top two positions before the day had even begun. But the derby aspect lent plenty of bite.
DCU took a one-point lead into the interval and, just like Cork IT in Round 2, found St Pat’s a tricky outfit.
But when play resumed for the second half, there was surprisingly only one team in it, with DCU completely overpowering their opponents and outscoring them by 1-11 to 0-3.
Dublin defender Niall Corcoran was part of the DCU management team and was impressed with what he saw.
A fellow Galway native, Padraig Brehony, shot four nice points from play and will hope to carry that form into the Allianz League at the weekend.
Likewise, rising Dublin star Cian Boland was a ball of industry throughout and will hope to feature prominently in the league opener against Tipperary.
In truth, DCU should have won by more. They had a couple of decent goal chances including a penalty that was saved before sneaking one to the net late on.
The game was long up by that stage when wing-back Gavin Bailey drilled a long ball downfield that somehow evaded the keeper’s grasp and reached the net.
It was a sorry ending for Pat’s who followed up a heavy opening day defeat to UCD with losses to Cork IT and now their closest rivals.
It began well for them with Wexford man Peter Sutton booming over two points from placed balls. When Colm Morris added a third they were eyeing a rare victory.
Sutton shot two more from frees to put them 0-6 to 0-2 at the quarter hour and he added a beauty from play soon after.
But a strong finish to the half from DCU that yielded four points without reply, three from Breathnach, turned the game decisively.
Breathnach’s last point of the half put DCU ahead for the first time and sent them into the interval with a 0-9 to 0-8 lead.
They would restart with five points on the trot to put daylight between the sides.
Pat’s went 25 minutes without a point before Sutton nailed another free in the 43rd minute. But the respite was only brief and another six points in a row from DCU put them well clear.
Boland and Breheny were excellent in attack while their defence was rarely troubled in the second half.
Kilkenny duo Conor Joyce and Willie Murphy picked off two late points for Pat’s. But they were cancelled out by Bailey’s bizarre goal when his huge puck from defence came down on top of the keeper and sneaked through his grasp to the net.
DCU scorers: D Breathnach (0-12, seven frees, three 65s), P Brehony (0-4), G Bailey (1-0), C Boland, T French, P Burke and N O’Connor (0-1 each).
St Pat’s-Mater Dei scorers: P Sutton (0-6, five frees), C Morris (0-2), C Breathnach, C Joyce and W Murphy (0-1 each).
DCU: C Ryan (Dublin); G Bennett (Carlow), P O’Carroll (Kilkenny), D Staunton (Wexford); G Bailey (Wexford), K Fitzgerald (Waterford), S Murphy (Wexford); M Daly (Westmeath), T French (Wexford); P Brehony (Galway), K O’Flynn (Dublin), C Boland (Dublin); D Breathnach (Waterford), P Burke (Galway), C Curran (Waterford).
Subs: K Egan (Roscommon) for Boland (48), S McMahon (Clare) for Daly (48), P Bolger (Wexford) for Curran (53), N O’Connor (Dublin) for Burke (53).
ST PAT’S-MATER DEI: J Higgins (Dublin); D Egan (Kilkenny), P Donnelly (Dublin), S Parsons (Kilkenny); K Crean (Wexford), D Tubrid (Wexford), R O’Hanrahan (Kilkenny); D Flaherty (Dublin), N Maguire (Dublin); C Breathnach (Waterford), P Sutton (Wexford), J McGrath (Kilkenny); E McIntyre (Tipperary), C Joyce (Kilkenny), C Morris (Waterford).
Subs: A Cox (Westmeath) for Parsons (44), J Bruton (Kilkenny) Maguire (54), W Murphy (Kilkenny) for Morris (55).
Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).
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