By Eoghan Cormican
You have to admire the newly crowned Sigerson champions. Our hearts can go out to a NUI Maynooth side that were clearly out of their depth, but we must take our hats off to a DCU outfit that possess an extraordinary ability to churn out big performances.
UUJ had the North Dublin University in all sorts of bother in Friday’s semi-final, but DCU didn’t panic like less experienced teams might.
It’s the sign of a good team that you can succeed even when playing below your best. DCU had enough class in the final quarter through, with experienced heads like Paul Flynn, David Kelly, Colm Begley and Michael Murphy, to run out comfortable winners.
Encapsulating DCU’s dominance in this year’s competition was their twelve point winning average over the final three rounds. It’s an extraordinary statistic when you think about it. You might scalp them now and again in the league, maybe trouble them on an off-day in the earlier rounds of the championship, but once there’s a whiff of a Sigerson title they are relentless.
And relentless they were in so ruthlessly destroying a Maynooth side that sprung the upset of the weekend when ending the run of the 2011 champions UUC.
That said, the weekend was all about the new kingpins of modern day Sigerson football. Throw in last Wednesday’s All Ireland Fresher B championship victory in Carrickcruppen, Armagh and these are heady times indeed for all involved in the college’s GAA set-up
Reflecting on a sensational fortnight, joint-chairman of DCU GAA Aaron Clogher attributed the college’s success to the outstanding dedication of the players, but believes the gap between DCU and their rivals is not as big as many media commentators suggest.
“Last Friday week, we had a dramatic victory over Kildare in the final of the Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup in Portlaoise. The lads put that behind them very quickly and prepared themselves very well, as they have all year, for the Sigerson weekend.
“There has been a lot of talk in the national media about how far ahead DCU are of the rest of the colleges in the Sigerson Cup, I actually don’t believe that the gap is as big as some of the score-lines would suggest, but would say that the performances over the Sigerson Cup weekend were more to do with the attitude, dedication and work-rate that we have got from our players this year. Those lads put a lot of time and work into their football, preparing themselves to optimise their performance and it’s really great when it all comes together as well as it did last weekend.”
Following on from the success of the Freshers B side, Clogher said the production line coming up through the ranks is extremely strong. “Three Fresher A and two Fresher B All Ireland’s over the past five year’s will hopefully help us to continue to get to the latter stages of competitions like the Sigerson and O’Byrne Cups.”
It’s becoming a familiar sight these days, the navy and gold engulfing victory plinths up and down the country. For this, most certainly, is the age of DCU.