It was a day of celebration for the Freshers Football team on Tuesday last after they defeated DIT by 11 points to advance to the final of the Division One Championship.
Though the final scoreline of 1-16 to 0-8 suggests DCU had it all their own way, this was by no means a stroll in the park for Ross Munnelly’s charges.
Last year’s beaten finalists struggled in the opening stages as DIT surged into a three-point lead. DCU persevered however and overturned the deficit, continuing to stretch their lead as they progressed.
Munnelly told The College View that he was happy with how his team dug deep to get themselves back in the game after going behind.
“Obviously DIT were excellent in the first half and they really came out of the traps quick and got three quick scores. But, after that, our lads settled and found a bit of rhythm. We had to work very hard for the scores that we got.”
That hard work in the first half certainly paid dividends for DCU as they headed for the dressing room with a two-point interval lead. Munnelly, however, felt that they were lucky to be in front at that juncture.
“We were probably fortunate to be two points ahead going in at half-time. DIT missed two goal chances; one of them hit the crossbar and another one blasted over. So, after being three points down in the first couple of minutes, if we were told that we would go in two up at half-time, we would have taken it.”
One of the main points to come out of Tuesday’s game was the nose injury sustained by DCU’s Paudie McKenna. Although it was first feared that he may have broken his nose, Munnelly was quick to point out that nothing has been confirmed yet: “He’s getting it assessed so we won’t know until after that.”
In the second semi-final UCD defeated St. Mary’s by 1-20 to 1-5 meaning they now face DCU in the decider. Munnelly is all too aware of the challenge that UCD will pose.
“They’re a solid team; they have some really good players. The way they move the ball is very good, they were excellent in the league final. It’s going to be a challenge; we’re after playing a lot of tough games this year. It’s something that the lads will just prepare for as we would any normal game and hope that we get the best out of ourselves on the day.”
Overall it has been a good year for the freshers side but the aspect that has most pleased Munnelly is the way the players have balanced their college work with playing gaelic football.
“The challenge with the Championship every year is getting the balance right between study and training in January because the most important thing about your first year in college is passing your exams.”