UL manager DJ Collins paid tribute to his squad’s strength in depth as they made it back-to-back titles in the Irish Examiner O’Connor Cup at Cork IT on Saturday.
The champions enjoyed a 3-16 to 0-9 win over DCU in the final. Collins admitted that he hadn’t expected such a large margin of victory, but he did point to the fact that his side had had an 18-point semi-final win over NUI Galway while DCU had a tougher game against UCC.
“We were expecting DCU to come at us hammer and tongs but I know they had a tougher semi-final against UCC, that probably came against them in the end,” he said.
“Our squad this year, the whole squad, is exceptionally strong. We were in the nice position that we could rotate players and try to keep them fresh. We were able to put Lorraine Scanlon in midfield today and none of the subs we brought on weakened the team.
“It is a nice feeling that you can bring on subs who can make your team stronger.”
UL benefited from having 13 of the successful 2014 team. They led by 1-9 to 0-6 at half-time, the goal coming from a Roisín Leonard penalty, and Collins was pleased that there was no complacency shown.
“We weren’t going to take the foot off the pedal after what happened last year. We know anything is possible in this competition and you can’t afford to slip up.
“They never let up, they knew if they slipped at all and gave DCU any chance, they would come back at us.”
A pair of goals from Áine Tight in the 36th and 41st minutes ensured that UL remained in control. While Sarah Rowe continued to send over points for DCU, the victors had a greater spread of scorers, with player of the game Niamh O’Dea, Aileen Wall and Clare O’Sullivan all on target in the final quarter.
Earlier on Saturday, Trinity College beat Athlone IT by 1-16 to 1-9 in the second-tier Giles Cup while there was some consolation for DCU as they overcame DIT on a 2-13 to 1-10 scoreline in the Lynch Cup. St Patrick’s College were the Donaghy Cup champions, beating Liverpool Hope University by 5-10 to 0-1.
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