Sigerson Cup Round One
Athlone IT: 1-7
January 27th, 2016
DCU began the defence of their Sigerson Cup title with a dominant 6-14 to 1-7 victory over Athlone Institute of Technology in Round 1 of this year’s competition – a result that now sets up a quarter-final fixture with Institute of Technology, Carlow.
An individual tally of 3-6 for Monaghan forward Shane Carey put the Midlanders to the sword as even a spirited first half fight from the visitors could do nothing to bridge the gap in quality that was displayed in a one-sided second half at the DCU Sports Grounds.
Reigning Sigerson champions DCU began brightly, if not entirely dominant, with opening scores coming from Michael Quinn and a double from Man of the Match Carey. Athlone’s Kieran Martin provided a spark of inspiration for his side throughout, as he pulled the scoreline back to 0-3 to 0-1 with a tidy free kick from close range early on.
A neat one-two exchange featuring Dessie Ward and Caolán McGonagle saw the former score a point following a stamina-induced race toward goal. Quinn’s second score of the game was an absolute beauty following a mighty Conor McGraynor leap and catch combination (above) that saw the ball bobble its way to be gathered by Quinn and duly tapped over.
A period of wasteful frustration enclosed DCU as clumsy passes were met by poor shot-taking, all before the killer blows were paid on the stroke of half time. Athlone goalkeeper Darren O’Connell’s well-kept clean sheet was stained horridly at the hands of Wicklow’s McGraynor.
The centre forward initially played the role of assisting the first of what would come to be Shane Carey’s hat-trick, when a long punted ball into the danger zone was caught rapidly with magnetic force to again be spilled in the direction of a hungry DCU forward – this time Carey snatching the opportunity to side-foot into an empty goal.
McGraynor got one of his own when he caught another ball into the box to force his shot into the back of the net via an array of Athlone bodies deflecting the ball slightly past O’Connell to end the half 2-6 to 0-2 ahead.
In a similar fate to DCU’s meeting with IT Carlow in late October, the Dublin college simply blew their opponents away in a dominant second half showing that saw them rack up a total of 4-8 to Athlone’s 1-5 tally after the break.
Carey got his second goal following a string of passes initiated by the Monaghan man involving fellow forwards McGraynor and Conor McNally, ending with Carey slamming home past O’Connell. Kieran Martin pulled back another set of points for Athlone to bring the scoreline to 3-6 to 0-4 – the Westmeath forward ending the game with an admirable total of 1-5.
Goals were forthcoming in abundance as the game receded into its final 20 minutes. A revival of spirits was undertaken by Athlone when forward Martin got the luck of a rebound following Killian Rudden’s effort on goal saved expertly by DCU goalkeeper Brendan Flynn to be fired into the back of the net by the Westmeath forward at the second asking.
This hope was extinguished in the blink of an eye however, as Shane Carthy worked the ball ferociously up the pitch from the resulting kick out to feed substitute Ultan Harney – the Roscommon corner forward rifling the ball past O’Connell for the game’s fifth goal.
Carthy completed his hat-trick late on, sprinkled with an additional 3 points to add to Diarmuid O’Connor’s fisted goal following another breakneck counter attack from DCU.
Athlone completed the final exchanges with defeated exhaustion having fought the good fight in their opening hour – the college forced to play the role of spectator to their own downfall as DCU met every tired mistake and mistimed pass with another point on the scoreboard – substitute David Mannix and O’Connor both arrowing points over the bar to end the night 6-14 to 1-7 victors.
DCU: Brendan Flynn; Jack Smith, Dessie Ward, Paudie McKenna; Davy Byrne, Conor Moynagh, Stephen Attride; Shane Carthy, Caolán McGonagle; Michael Quinn, Diarmuid O’Connor, Mark Plunkett; Conor McNally, Conor McGraynor, Shane Carey.
Athlone IT: Darren O’Connell; Daniel Monagle, Aidan Claffey, Michael Kearney; Dan Wharton, Stephen Flynn, Anthony Byrne; Éamon Quigley, Mark Daly; Dylan McDermott, Kieran Martin, Alan Fitzpatrick; Cein McMonagle, Theo Watts, Alan Coffey.
Image Credit: Sportsfile