DCU’s hopes of winning the Ryan Cup came to an end against local rivals UCD by virtue of a 0-12 to 0-09 scoreline in a very windy Belfield Park recently. DCU, who had the wind advantage in the opening half, would be very disappointed that they only went four points ahead at the break.
It was an opening half in which both sides found the going hard. It was UCD who opened the scoring with a fine point from talented Westmeath man John Heslin, who converted a free in the ninth minute. DCU finally got back on terms with a Conor McHugh free on 11 minutes.
McHugh put his side ahead minutes later for the first time in the match after great work by full forward Brian Donnelly.
The turning point of the match came in the 15th minute of play when Donnelly was pulled down. McHugh stepped up to take the penalty, but unluckily for the DCU men, his shot was saved by the UCD net minder.
DCU, who were now well on top throughout the pitch, added to their tally with a fine score from Donnelly as he put two points between the sides. McHugh then added a further two points for DCU.
McHugh added his fifth point of the match on the 26th minute of play to put five between the sides approaching the half-time whistle, but DCU conceded a point just before the break to leave the score at 0-6 to 0-2 in favour of the visitors.
DCU were playing against the elements for the second half, and it seemed that the conditions had got worse just before the restart. With a lead of only four points, and with UCD now assisted by the wind, it was going to be a tough 35 minutes for the visitors.
But DCU opened the scoring through talented Wicklow footballer Conor McGraynor, who kicked over a free to put his side five in front at the start of the second half.
UCD came back, however. Heslin was causing problems for the DCU defence and was fouled before kicking over his own free.
DCU replied with a 34th minute free from McGraynor, an outstanding point that was probably the pick of the scores in this match.
UCD were now starting to get on top and reduced the deficit thanks to Paul Kingston and Heslin with just 10 minutes remaining. Matters then got worse for the DCU men as Craig Dunleavy was shown his second yellow, which meant that the visitors were forced to play the remainder of the half with 14 men.
McGraynor kicked over his third free of the half to put two between the sides with eight minutes remaining, but DCU, being a man down, found the going very hard for the remainder of the half.
Indeed, they would concede five points in the final eight minutes with Heslin putting three over the bar, which helped his tally to eight points on the evening. DCU couldn’t muster the scores needed in the closing minutes and crashed out of this year’s league campaign.
In other results, DCU freshers ‘A’ and ‘B’ sides both lost out in their semi-finals to IT Tralee and IT Sligo respectively.
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