Ross Munnelly’s DCU team finally started their league campaign away against UCD on Wednesday evening, with an exciting encounter culminating in a draw. This was a repeat of last year’s finals where UCD won the league while DCU came out on top in the championship final.
DCU started off the brighter of the two sides and raced into a four-point lead, with a brace from Sligo man Cian Breheny as he fired the ball over the bar on the run, while points from Rory Conor from Longford and Desmond Ward ensured the visitors took an early advantage in Belfield.
UCD replied with a point of their own, but DCU came back with the score of the match when centre-back Cian Burke from Mayo took the ball and turned his man not just once, but twice before kicking the ball over the bar.
UCD replied in good fashion as they scored 1-2 without reply to tie up the scores for the first time in the match. The Southsiders, who now had their tails up, really started to show that they were used to playing together as a side, as this was their third game in the league.
For DCU, it was their first game in this year’s competition. UCD were well on top in midfield and showed their dominance on the scoreboard, with further points putting them in front for the first time in the match, with an advantage of two points.
However, DCU cut the gap just before the interval as Ward ensured there would only be one point between the sides at the break.
UCD seemed to continue where they left off and got the opening two scores of the second half to increase the gap to three points.
DCU decided to make a couple of changes at the start of the second half, including the introduction of Mayo minor Conor Loftus. He made an impact straight away as he was involved in an Adam Gallagher point before he himself got on the scoreboard to reduce the gap to just one point, as it had been at half-time.
UCD then got on top once again as they kicked two points without reply. Three points was the difference once again, but this seemed to give DCU a boost as they started to play their best passage of the match.
Domination throughout the pitch led to a goal from Evan Keane as well as two points without reply to put DCU in front. UCD replied with a point, but scores from Killian O’Gara and Conor Doran had put four points between the sides with three minutes remaining.
However, it was not to be for the DCU men, as a goal and a point from the home side in the dying minutes ensured a share of the spoils for the Dublin universities.