Celtic versus Rangers, Manchester United versus Liverpool, River Plate versus Boca Juniors, Real Madrid versus Barcelona, and so on. These are the answers that toll off the tongue of any football fan when asked what the biggest and most hotly anticipated derby in world football is.
However, in an Irish university located between Ballymun, Santry, Glasnevin and Whitehall there is a rivalry that goes above and beyond any of the previously mentioned.
A rivalry so great that it is played in honour of one of Ireland’s most revered broadcasters, despite the fact that he barely knows of its existence.
The match in question is, of course, the annual Bill O’Herlihy Cup between DCUfm and The College View.
A five-a-side match played in early April each year, 2015 saw the sixth instalment of the famous contest as The College View donned their traditional red to take on the green of DCUfm.
Played out in the bubbling cauldron of emotion that is AstroTurf pitch number five at the back of the DCU Sports Centre, this year’s contest had everything that makes a derby just that – tough tackles, spectacular goals, heated emotions and a tense finish.
The action didn’t quite reach the dramatic levels of last year when, on a beautifully sunny day, DCUfm won out in the most dramatic fashion as Cian Roche (also deputy sports editor of this newspaper) slotted home the winning penalty to ensure the cup remained in the DCUfm studio for another year.
This year Roche would again don the green of DCUfm despite the fact that his other employer – The College View – was severely outnumbered and therefore underdogs from the start.
While DCUfm had encountered a wave of interest in the match that saw them arrive at the pitch with 27 players, The College View had to make do with just nine men, one or two of whom were considered questionable in terms of their contribution to the newspaper this year.
The opening few minutes saw a tight affair unfolding as neither team could grab the initiative. However, that changed midway through the first period as DCUfm broke the deadlock before streaking into a 3-0 lead.
The College View managed to pull one back through Ruaidhrí Croke shortly before half-time, but they would go into the break 5-1 down.
Things needed to change for the print folk and change they did as they stormed out of the blocks in the second half to reign DCUfm back in and level the scores at 5-5, to the delight of the large crowd that had gathered.
DCUfm still looked in control however as the abundance of fresh legs introduced began to take its toll on the waning College View side.
Harry Sunderland and Mark Kelly were particularly impressive at the back for the defending champions while Garrett Lavin put on an inspired display in goal, saving shot after shot.
Despite The College View’s best efforts they could never quite catch DCUfm and eventually the victory was sealed as Croke felled Sunderland in the box, giving away a penalty and suffering the wrath of referee Aidan Geraghty’s yellow card at the same time. Sunderland duly stepped up to slot home the penalty and give the radio station a deserved 10-8 victory.
It was DCUfm’s third O’Herlihy Cup win in a row, a feat never achieved before in the competition’s history. It leaves them on a total of four trophies while The College View remain on just two. With almost all of The College View team finishing up at DCU this year the pressure is well and truly on those coming up through the ranks to claw back that deficit when next year’s contest comes along.
Image Credit: Cáit Ní Cheallacháin