Competition favourites UUJ crashed out of the Sigerson Cup today following a defeat to an impressive DCU side, with the score line finishing 3-10 to 0-10 at Jordanstown.
Despite the side’s stellar forward line including Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor, Donegal’s Paddy McBrearty, Tyrone’s Mattie Donnelly and Down’s Caolan Mooney, the Antrim based university failed to deny DCU from advancing to a quarter final against St Marys, Belfast.
UUJ started off strong with a point from Richard Donnelly in the opening minutes of the game; however that was to be their last score for another 20 minutes. With a succession of wides including two from Paddy McBrearty, DCU put on the pressure by adding on two goals to the scoreboard from Roscommon’s Enda Smith and full-forward Niall Murphy.
There were scoring opportunities for UUJ after the goals; however a disappointing wide from Ronan O’Neill straight after Murphy’s goal in the 27th minute left the side with a lot of work to do before the closing minutes of the first half.
Sloppy fouling from Jordanstown’s defence created a few handy frees for Dublin’s Conor McHugh, which he slotted over with ease.
Points from O’Neill and Killian Clarke narrowed the deficit before half-time, leaving the score at 2-5 to 0-04 at the break.
McHugh opened up the second half with another free from the 21-yard line to give DCU a confident push to continue their dominant play from the first half.
Jordanstown battled on bravely with McBrearty and the younger of the Donnelly brothers, Richard, leading the charge. In the space of 15 minutes UUJ outscored DCU six points to three and with the replacement of Liam Gervin for O’Neill, Jordanstown were looking more comfortable.
That soon changed when Brian Sankey was awarded a black card for a blatant body check on Smith only six minutes after he was brought on.
Both teams were making great runs up along the wings however DCU’s hunger and sheer determination appeared to be the difference between scoring a point and getting dispossessed. Mooney and Mattie Donnelly made numerous attempts to break the Dublin side’s defence, but with impressive performances from Laois’ Colm Begley, Cavan’s Conor Moynagh and Monaghan’s Conor Boyle their efforts were futile.
DCU made some important changes with the introduction of Donie Smith and Conor McGraynor in the forward line. Although McGraynor had a few scoring opportunities from frees and failed to convert them, he was still a strong presence around the middle of the field.
Apart from a minor scuffle between a DCU substitute and UUJ player along the side of the line, it was a very clean game with a total of three yellow cards for DCU along with Jordanstown’s black card.
DCU finished off the game in style with a second goal from Enda Smith deep into injury-time, followed arguably by the best point of the day from older brother Donie in what was to be the last kick of the game.
DCU: Tadgh Lowe, Jack Smith, Conor Boyle, Conor Daly, Dessie Ward, Conor Moynagh, Colm Begley, Tom Flynn, Steven O’Brien, Diarmuid O’Connor, Conor Meredith, Davy Byrne, Enda Smith, Niall Muprhy, Conor McHugh
Subs: Rory Connor for Meredith (39), Donie Smith for Murphy (45), Conor McGraynor for O’Connor (46), Eoin O’Connor for Byrne (52), Shane Carey for Moynagh (55), Donal Wrynn for McHugh (58)
Scorers: Enda Smith 2-0, Conor McHugh 0-5 (0-4f), Niall Murphy 1-1, Donie Smith 0-2, Rory Connor, Conor Daly 0-1 each
UUJ: Rory Beggan, Killian Brady, Ricky Johnston, Marty Johnston, Killian Clarke, Mattie Donnelly, Stephen Sheridan, Michael Argue, Caolan Mooney, Kieran Hughes, Ronan O’Neill, Richard Donnelly, Patrick McBrearty, Caolan O’Boyle, Cillian O’Connor
Subs: Brian Sankey for Argue (29), Danny Savage for Sankey (BC, 35), Liam Gervin for O’Neill (40), Frank Burns for O’Boyle (44)
Scorers: Patrick McBrearty (0-2f), Richard Donnelly 0-2, Killian Clarke, Stephen Sheridan, Ronan O’Neill, Caolan Mooney, Danny Savage, Cillian O’Connor (0-1f) 0-1 each.
Image Credit: Sportsfile