Semi-final heartbreak for DCU in home Crowley Cup

It was yet another disappointing finish to an intervarsity soccer tournament for DCU as they crashed out at the semi-final stage of the Crowley Cup after a 3-1 loss to UCC Academicals.

With the competition on DCU’s home turf in St Clare’s the Glasnevin side went into the tournament confident of achieving success and that confidence was certainly given a boost after a 4-0 rout of University of Ulster Coleraine in the opening quarter final.

Goals from Kevin Hughes, William Dunne, Sean Ryan and Festus Ejike were enough to see off the Ulster university who were looking to make it a hat-trick of Crowley Cup titles.

DCU were 1-0 up after only eight minutes of play as a William Dunne effort from fifteen yards could only be palmed away by UUC goalkeeper Jamie McAtarsney into the path of midfielder Kevin Hughes who rebounded the ball into the back of the net to establish an early lead.

After withstanding a spell of pressure from the visitors DCU pounced just before the break to kill of UUC’s hopes.

Despite the compact nature of the game and the lack of space the tight pitch afforded, DCU midfielder Tolu Asemota was able to carve chances for forwards William Dunne and Abdulgzes Mahamoud Giumaa.

The two striker’s combined effectively throughout the game with Giumaa acting as a fulcrum to Dunne’s runs, with the two exchanging passes excellently. Dunne finally got his break before the interval as a Killian Ward corner was knocked on in the direction of the UUC goalkeeper before being flicked into the goal neatly by Dunne – the game now effectively over as a contest.

In the second half a Sean Ryan strike from outside the UUC penalty area rifled into the back of the net to put the game to bed.

A fourth and final goal was added in the final minutes for DCU as left-back Festus Ejike latched onto a Ciaran Faherty pass before dribbling past two UUC defenders and dispatching the ball accurately past the visiting goalkeeper.

Saturday’s semi-final was a more disappointing affair for the hosts as crashed out of the competition at the hands of Queen’s University Belfast.

Patrick Stuart gave the Belfast side a 1-0 interval lead when he scored direct from a corner on 27 minutes.

DCU had plenty of the play in the early part of the second half but then paid the price for sloppy defending when Jason McDermott grabbed a second Queens goal after a mix up in the home defence.

A Kevin Hughes cross-cum-shot, that Queens ‘keeper Sam Jones misjudged, pulled a goal back for DCU on 79 minutes but shortly after QUB defender Eoghan Maguire sealed the win and a place in the final with a third goal.

Ruaidhrí Croke and Aaron Gallagher

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