Eoghan Cormican &
Given recent results, it may come as no surprise that the hurlers of DCU are locked in a relegation fight, but the fact that their football counterparts are in similarly dire straits is in many respects astounding.
Having encountered defeat in their first two league forays, DCU travelled to Carlow knowing a win by a margin of four points or more would steer them safely clear of relegation waters. Success by thirteen points, meanwhile, would guarantee the Sigerson side a quarter final berth. Alas, victory was not forthcoming.
While the weather conditions were by no means conducive to sharp, fluid football, DCU, with the aid of the elements in the opening half were off the mark through Pete Dooney after excellent play by Martin McElhinney and David Keenan to engineer the chance.
Carlow, showing plenty of early intent, posted an immediate response through Dennis Hurley, before the Cork man edged the home side in front.
DCU’s Gary Sweeney squandered a decent opportunity to level proceedings, but it wasn’t long before Niall Moyna’s men were back on equal footing as David Kelly dissected the posts in the 8th minute.
DCU’s midfield dominance provided the platform for a Cormac Diamond effort and when Diamond and Roscommon’s Colin Compton both found the range subsequently, the visitors moved three clear.
That said, Carlow would dominate the remainder of the half as they firstly reduced the gap with a well taken point and then came arguably, the key moment of the match. A probing delivery into the DCU danger area was finished to the net in the 26th minute for the game’s only goal.
David Kelly ensured the sides were deadlocked at the interval, but crucially, DCU had failed make use of the strong breeze that favoured them for the opening thirty and they were to pay dearly for it.
Unperturbed, DCU started the second half in positive fashion with Cormac Diamond landing his third minor of the afternoon. Thereafter however, Carlow began to edge out tussles all over the field and with the wind at their backs kicked three rousing scores.
Ben Brosnan sniped a pair of free’s as Carlow opened up a two point lead. By now, the home side were relentlessly sweeping forward with DCU largely tied down in their own half.
In a rare second half attack the ever impressive Diamond reduced arrears to the minimum, but DCU were still someway short of their four point winning target to avoid a relegation battle.
That target was put out of reach in the final quarter as Carlow kicked a further three points to consign DCU to a third defeat.
And so to a fight for survival where the footballers, buoyed by the return of talisman Michael Murphy, will play UL today, Wednesday (time and venue TBC).
UL’s league fortunes thus far have been a carbon copy of their Dublin opponents and despite earning a draw with IT Tralee in the final round of games, previous results meant the Limerick University finished bottom of Group 1B. For the losers of today’s duel a relegation final beckons against either DIT or NUIG.
The hurler’s, only in their second season as a Fitzgibbon side, play their relegation fixture tomorrow, Thursday, in the Carlow IT GAA grounds against a Waterford IT side that were Fitzgibbon finalists only two years ago. The losers of this tie will play GMIT in the relegation final.
Centre-back Brian Flaherty was a notable absence against St. Pats and no doubt manager Paul O’Brien will be anxious to have the services of the All Ireland minor winning Galway man for this tie.
In a difficult group containing UCC and CIT, Waterford managed a draw with the latter, but in failing to overcome the challenge of Carlow IT in their final outing were bound for the relegation scrap.
Both the senior hurling and football team’s will play in this year’s Fitzgibbon and Sigerson Cup irrespective of how they fare in the league, but if either side were condemned to relegation, it would mean Division 2 status for the 2012/2013 season.
In GAA elsewhere, DCU’s fresher and intermediate footballer team’s are in quarter final action this week. Ross Munnelly’s fresher side face UCD today, Wednesday at St. Clare’s (throw-in 2:30pm), while the Intermediate’s meet DIT in their last eight clash tomorrow, Thursday. That game is also fixed for St. Clare’s (throw-in 2pm).
The fresher hurling side meanwhile, exited the league at the hands of Waterford IT on Tuesday last, losing out on a final scoreline of 2-18 to 2-11.