herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Imposing DCU keep the double dream alive with clinical dismissal of DIT

DCU remain on course to a repeat a double only previously achieved by themselves back in 2010 when they won both the O'Byrne and Sigerson Cups.

The Northside college go into tomorrow night's rescheduled O'Byrne Cup final with Kildare in Portlaoise in the knowledge that they have qualified for the Sigerson Cup weekend in Galway on February 24/25 after comfortably disposing of DIT yesterday at the DCU Sportsgrounds.

Their 1-14 to 0-7 dismissal set up a Sigerson semi-final clash with UUJ on Saturday, February 24 and they now take on Kieran McGeeney's Division 2 strugglers in O'Moore Park tomorrow night for the first of two possible trophies on offer.

And judging by yesterday's performance, they should have more than a decent chance of landing both titles.

True, they are some frontline players and the sight of both David Kelly and Michael Murphy standing injured on the sidelines would be enough to force any inter-county manager shy a bit of attacking talent to wince.

Throw into the mix the absences of Gary Sweeney, Martin McElhinney and John Coughlan, amongst others, and factor in the ease with which they dispatched DIT -- and you get a fair idea of their strength in numbers.

Yesterday, Antóin McFadden -- younger brother of Donegal forward Colm -- made the most of Sweeney's absence from the starting XV to bag 1-1

Nuisance

Eoghan O'Gara relocated his scoring touch after an imposing display of ball-winning to score off either foot and, as ever, make a general nuisance of himself on the edge of the square.

DCU's real strength lies further back, though, in the 'middle third', where their power and pace will be tough to match. Fiontain Ó Currain and Colm Begley generated plenty of energy from deep while Paul Flynn and David Keenan buzzed along the wings but in James McCarthy, Johnny Cooper and Neil Collins, they possess a most composed and effective half-back line as is likely to be seen at this level.

And then there's Philly McMahon -- the model sweeper. McMahon's passing range is excellent, as is his ability to score long-distance points from play.

Yesterday, he combined the two excellently to produce both a pristine defensive performance and influence DCU's attacking game to telling effect.

Dean Rock, meanwhile, is showing the sort of form which earned him a Dublin senior call up after the All-Ireland under-21 victory of 2010.

Backed by a strong gale, DCU still took their time to spring to life and in Aidan O'Shea and Gearóid McKiernan, met a midfield as big and as bold as that which they possess themselves.

They also had a penalty excellently saved by DIT 'keeper Alan O'Meara from Rock but Michael Boyle repeated the trick in the second half when he denied Alan Freeman from the spot.

Once McFadden finished off a move involving O'Gara and Jack Brady 26 minutes in, though, the result was never in doubt. DCU led by 1-8 to 0-2 at the break and DIT never created the same quality of chances.

SCORERS -- DCU: D Rock 0-5 (5f); A McFadden 1-1; E O'Gara, P McMahon 0-2 each; J Brady, C Begley, J Cooper, F O'Shea 0-1 each. DIT: A Freeman 0-4 (4f), H Dawson, G McKiernan, P Sharry (1f) 0-1 each.

DCU: M Boyle; E Culligan, K Gavin, P McMahon; N Collins, J Cooper, J McCarthy; F ó Curraoin, C Begley; P Flynn, D Rock, D Keenan; J Brady, E O'Gara, A McFadden. Subs: F O'Shea for O'Gara (52), C Cafferkey for Cooper (57), L Bree for Gavin (58), P Dooney for Flynn (58), C Cregg for Keenan (59).

DIT: A O'Mara; P Cunningham, A McLoughlin, D Nelson; E Reilly, B Menton, D Hughes; A O'Shea, G McKiernan; P Sharry, T Parsons, H Dawson; B Allen, A Freeman, J McGrath. Subs: P Maguire for McGrath (25), M Reilly for P Maguire (45), D Shatwell for Nelson (52), N Devereux for Hughes (60), R Hazley for Dawson (60).

REF: G McCormack (Nh Barróg, Dublin).

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