Durkan the Star as camogie side spring league upset

DCU 5-5

N.U.I.G 1-12

Eoghan Cormican

At St. Clare’s

DCU were made to fight all the way by NUIG before securing passage to a first ever Division 1 camogie league final.

Those who pay any heed to the murmurings of camogie talk around campus would have heard the name Orlaith Durkan touted as an exciting prospect for the forthcoming year. It turned out to be much more than idle talk however, as Durkan hit 2-3 in powering DCU to a famous win over their illustrious western opponents.

Of course, the goal scoring exploits of Durkan and full forward Caitriona Regan were crucial in carving out victory, but credit must be afforded to the winner’s defence which was magnificent against the backdrop of a Galway attack looking extremely dangerous throughout – ultimately though their inability to penetrate the DCU rearguard for the required majors would prove their downfall.

DCU’s defensive resistance was captured most poignantly in the display of right half back Mairead Power, hungry for possession right across the half back line, but she received the most resolute of support from Niamh Kelly, Stacey Quirke and Laura Twomey.

Further back, ‘keeper Aisleen Sheehan had a flawless hour between the sticks pulling off a number of fine saves, especially in the second period when NUIG threatened to gain parity.

The Ashbourne contenders travelled to the Capital without inter-county stars Chloe Morey and Aisling Dunphy, but they still had the strength in depth to call upon Offaly senior Captain Michaela Morkan and prolific Galway attacker Noreen Coen to lead their charge.

That said, DCU began with greater energy and had 1-3 on the board by the 8th minute with Miriam Twomey and Orlaith Durkan (0-2) supplementing Catriona Regan’s goal strike.

NUIG responded through Niamh McGrath, but Durkan extended the home side’s advantage with a second goal in the 24th minute after good work by Regan in creating the chance. Scarcely another minute had elapsed when Durkan struck again this time converting a ‘run of the mill’ free.

But their most vital score came in the dying minutes of the first half when ahead by six; Catriona Regan struck for a fortuitous goal to push DCU out into a nine point lead.

On resumption, any hope of a western revival were quickly arrested when Orlaith Durkin finished a sweeping move involving Hannah McInerney and  Caitriona Regan for DCU’s fourth goal just 26 seconds in.

Credit to NUIG however, revived, they rattled off six unanswered points in a ten minute burst to half to the deficit. The Galway University would actually win the second half 1-8 to 2-1, yet the bulk of their scores were coming from placed balls such was DCU’s defensive unity.

Niamh McGrath and Noreen Coen continued to cut into DCU’s lead with a string of fine points, but were left frustrated by opposing ‘keeper Sheehan who denied Coen on three occasions as well as turning away McGrath’s ‘21 yard strike.

Laura Twomey steadied the ship with DCU’s first score in over a quarter of an hour and when Sheehan saved a second McGrath free, the sliotar was worked from end of the field to another as DCU grabbed a fifth goal to effectively rubberstamp the win.

It was to be their last score of the contest as NUIG laid siege to the DCU goal for the remainder of the tie, eventually finding the net in the game’s dying embers through McGrath, but it proved a case of too little too late.

DCU’s final opponents are as of yet unknown, but for morale boosting purposes ahead of the Purcell Cup Niall William’s troops couldn’t have asked for a better result.

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