DCU have the answers to Maynooth test

DCU 1-12 Maynooth 1-6
THEY produced a display full of valour but ultimately NUI Maynooth were unable to produce another giant-killing act in yesterday’s Sigerson Cup semi-final in Maynooth.

Well supported on their home ground, NUI Maynooth battled valiantly again as they aimed to follow up their shock quarter-final success against UUJ. However, when the game entered its critical phase in the second-half and searching questions were being asked, it was DCU who produced the telling answers.

In the process, the Niall Moyna coached team illustrated why they held the tag of favourites entering this game.

The huge physicality in their team enabled them to dominate as the second-half progressed, the strong reserves of talent in their panel was demonstrated by the effect their substitutes had late on and in Sligo corner-forward David Kelly, they had a clinical sharpshooter who came up with the decisive scores.

DCU badly needed Kelly’s input as they were left reeling by a strong showing from NUI Maynooth after the interval. Leading 0-6 to 0-4 at the break, DCU tacked on another point soon after from a Brian Sheridan free but then NUI Maynooth pounced in the 33rd minute. Wing-back Paul Cashin found David Quinn with a brilliant pass and the Na Fianna player kept his cool to slot past Michael Boyle in the DCU goal. A point immediately after that from Mark Hanratty nudged them into a 1-5 to 0-7 lead and their hopes were rising.

But then Kelly got to work. He arced over a great point in the 37th minute and followed it up 60 seconds later by smashing the ball over the bar for another. Then came the standout from Kelly’s highlights reel in the 43rd minute. A fine angled pass by substitute Ronan Flanagan sent the Sligo player scampering clear from the NUI Maynooth backline, and his finish to the back of the net via the upright was sublime.

Suddenly DCU were 1-9 to 1-5 ahead and flying. It was a hugely significant cameo from Kelly in the overall context of the game, putting DCU into an ultimately unassailable lead.

They needed that intervention as hitherto NUI Maynooth had steadfastly refused to bow out of the hunt. It was notable from the opening stages of the game that this would operate at a fast tempo and there was huge intensity in the display from both teams.

NUI Maynooth had bright performances in the opening-half from Paul Cashin, Ger Brennan and Nigel Dunne, while their shining light was centre-back Niall Coyne. The Galway senior drove his side on superbly, breaking up DCU attacks and delivering beautiful passes to his forwards. After an excellent opening quarter of play, NUI Maynooth had edged 0-4 to 0-3 in front with Cashin and Dunne registering great points.

But DCU’s mental composure was impressive and they started to boss the action in the second quarter. The improved performances of their defensive spine of Kieran Gavin and Brian Cullen made a big difference, and helped keep NUI Maynooth scoreless for the rest of the half. DCU were sourcing their points easier as well although NUI Maynooth were hampered by referee Patrick Fox missing some blatant pick-ups and fouls by DCU.

Points by Paddy Andrews, Cathal Cregg and Kelly restored DCU’s advantage at 0-6 to 0-4. But they spurned a great chance to extend that lead on the cusp of half-time, when Brian Sheridan drilled a penalty wide after Andrews was fouled by Kieran Lynch.

NUI Maynooth seized on that let-off to start the second-half brightly. But then Kelly stepped up for DCU and in the final quarter they had key contributors in Andrews and substitute Donal Shine to ensure they were never going to be caught.

“I’m very happy”, reflected DCU coach Niall Moyna after the final whistle.

“We knew we’d have a very tough game as any time beat Jordanstown is really going to throw down the gauntlet. The tenacity and the enthusiasm of the Maynooth boys was brilliant. David Kelly’s goal was crucial and it was a lovely finish. We’ll look forward to facing UCC now.”

Scorers for DCU: D Kelly 1-3, B Sheridan 0-3 (0-3f), P Andrews 0-2, M Lyng, D Sheridan, C Cregg, D Shine (0-1 ‘45) 0-1 each

DCU: M Boyle (Donegal); P McMahon (Dublin), K Gavin (Westmeath), K Nolan (Dublin); J Cooper (Dublin), B Cullen (Dublin), D Mooney (Monaghan); D Sheridan (Cavan), H McGrillen (Kildare); P Flynn (Dublin), M Lyng (Cavan), C Cregg (Roscommon); P Andrews (Dublin), B Sheridan (Meath), D Kelly (Sligo).

Subs: H Gill (Dublin) for Mooney (28), R Flanagan (Cavan) for Cregg (39), D Shine (Roscommon) for Lyng (41), R Cullivan (Cavan) for Flynn (50), S Roche (Wexford) for Sheridan (55).

NUI MAYNOOTH: S Connolly (Kildare); K Lynch (Meath), B Kinahan (Kildare), C Freeman (Dublin); P Cashin (Carlow), N Coyne (Galway), T Johnson (Meath); G McArdle (Monaghan), C Mullins (Dublin); D Quinn (Lucan Sarsfields, Dublin), M Hanratty (Monaghan), G Brennan (Dublin); D Quinn (Na Fianna, Dublin), M Newman (Meath), N Dunne (Offaly).

Subs: A Walsh (Kerry) for Hanratty (42), T Gallagher (Longford) for Freeman (44), J Califf (Louth) for McArdle (53), F Barry (Kildare) for Mullins (57).

Referee: Patrick Fox (Westmeath)


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