DCU crashed out of the Fitzgibbon Cup at St. Clare’s on Wednesday afternoon, as city rivals DIT beat the home side by 0-11 to 0-07. DCU went in to the game needing to win by three points to secure qualification for the next stage of the Fitzgibbon Cup, but this margin of victory never looked on the cards.
DIT raced into a three point lead early in the first half, taking advantage of the strong wind that favoured them early on. Sean McGrath hit two early frees before St.Vincent’s man Thomas Connolly added a point from the right flank.
DIT looked completely dominant and it took 20 minutes for DCU to notch their first as Kilkenny native Mark Aylward found a yard of space and fired over. DCU finally kicked into gear and looked competitive after scoring their first, with star man Richie Hogan becoming more of an influence in the middle of the park as the half wore on. Hogan got his first from a free late in the half but DIT were finding scores much easier to come by and led at the break by 0-06 to 0-03.
Whatever chance the Ballymun Road men had of building early momentum in the second half was scuppered by snow and a swirling wind, conditions that made scoring very difficult for both sides. The presence of 2013 all-star Liam Rushe in the DIT back line made this task even harder.
Centre-forward Ciaran Bergin stretched DIT’s lead to four and DCU’s chances of progression looked slim with 20 minutes remaining. Hogan knew this well and when DCU won a close range free, it was obvious that the 2011 all-star would go for goal. Hogan struck an Anthony Nash-style effort at the top corner but it was deflected away from danger by the DIT defenders on the line.
The sides traded points again before Connolly struck the point of the game. The classy forward pretended to shoot but instead cushioned the sliotar with his hurley, before striking over unchallenged. DCU now needed an eight point turnaround with time quickly running out.
The home team did show some fight as the harsh weather eased off. Cathal Curran, Padraig Breheny and Richie Hogan hit three quick points to make it 0-09 to 0-07. Hogan was moved to full forward in the hope that he would score the crucial goal, but twice he was cynically hauled down by defenders as he went in on goal.
DIT struck the last two points, giving them a four point victory in a match that they never looked like losing.
Image Credit: Emma Duffy