Prior to the match against local rivals St. Pat’s, Paul O’Brien was without trepidation. The manager of DCU’s senior hurling team had, in fact, been pleased by his side’s performance at Belfield last month, despite losing by a substantial margin. He attributed this to the tough grind that his players put in and the unremittingly determined attitude that they displayed from start to finish. It was a mind-set that would eventually yield some much needed rewards.
And it did. The hard work that pleased O’Brien against UCD bore fruit against St. Pat’s in Blanchardstown. With a relegation play-off staring the loser in the face, victory was imperative for both sides. The manager denied that losing their last two games provided a catalyst for DCU’s vital 2-14 to 0-15 win, the prospect of Division 2 hurling was clearly enough incentive for victory.
O’Brien credited his entire team for the victory rather than any individual. However, JJ Lennon of Kilkenny notched DCU’s two goals and Galway native Pádraig Breheny managed three points from play. The tireless graft of DCU’s backs, which nullified the St. Pat’s attack, also deserves recognition.
Avoiding relegation will only give this DCU squad a fleeting relief. With the commencement of Kehoe and Fitzgibbon cup matches after Christmas, O’Brien revealed that the six weeks leading up to the winter break will consist of over a month and a half of onerous training.
There are, of course, a number of players yet to return from their respective Club Championship campaigns and their arrivals should provide a further boost to the side in 2013. Having said that, Paul O’Brien is not entertaining the notion that these players will simply coast back into the starting team. Their places will have to be earned.
IMAGE CREDIT: Sportsfile