O’Byrne Cup Group A
January 10th, 2016.
DCU’s senior Gaelic football team fell just short against reigning All-Ireland Champions Dublin at Parnell Park on Sunday, January 10th despite a spirited performance against a young Dubs side in the penultimate game of Group A of the 2016 O’Byrne Cup.
Dublin were pushed all the way in what was at times an intense affair, which saw Shane Carey and Enda Smith kick 1–10 between them in the full forward line. A first half goal from Con O’Callaghan meant Dublin retained a lead for most of the game to eliminate the students from the O’Byrne Cup with Dublin now facing a trip to Longford in the Semi Final next Sunday.
The teams exchanged points for most of the first half with Shane Carey scoring both from placed balls and from play while Dublin enjoyed success up front with Dean Rock accurate from frees as well as contributing from play. Kevin Feely was dominant in defence, keeping on-form Paddy Andrews relatively quiet.
The goal came after 18 minutes when Shane Carthy’s hand pass put through an advancing Con O’Callaghan, and the rising star finished emphatically past Philip O’Donnell with a fine left-footed strike into the right-hand corner of the DCU net. DCU had squandered a goal chance just minutes before when Rory Connor beat three defenders before his shot was saved by Michael Savage.
DCU responded well with Carey again catching a long ball and kicking over a good score from 30 yards out before Enda Smith played a one-two with Conor McHugh who scored a mammoth point off his left to reduce the deficit caused by O’Callaghan’s goal. Dublin hit back however when Cormac Costello cut inside and scored a neat point on his left foot. Moments later, Paddy Andrews was first to James McCarthy’s long ball, turning his marker and sticking it over to register his first point. Rock added another to make it 1–7 to 0–6 in Dublin’s favour at half time.
Dublin, although rusty, were performing well with Philip McMahon, James McCarthy and Con O’Callaghan having solid games. DCU’s Conor McHugh was replaced by Armagh’s Simon McCoy at the interval after a disappointing performance while David Mannix was also introduced for Cian Breheny. Dublin too brought on Ballymun’s Jason Whelan for Tomás Brady after a poor first half.
Michael Quinn got DCU’s second half off to a flyer with a well worked point just moments after the restart. The game opened up in the early exchanges and Dublin took advantage, Shane Carthy scoring a point before Dean Rock added another as Jim Gavin’s side looked to pull ahead.
DCU again fought back with a free from Shane Carey and an ambitious attempt from wing back David Byrne kept Niall Moyna’s side in the game. Costello again proved troublesome, dodging three tackles before slotting over from 21 yards out. Points from Andrews and O’Callaghan were matched by a rampant Carey to make it 1–12 to 0–11 with just over 10 minutes to be played. DCU were still within striking distance.
A fisted point from Rock and another from Costello put 6 between them and the game looked to be slipping away from the students less than 5 minutes remaining. Moyna’s side were given a lifeline with 2 minutes to go when McCoy’s counter attack from midfield put Enda Smith behind the Dublin defence, the full forward finished past Michael Savage with a low shot to the right corner.
A lapse in discipline saw DCU concede a free which Rock capitalised on to put four between them. A 70th minute Carey point topped off an excellent personal display but it was not to be for DCU as Jason Whelan was teed up by Dean Rock for the final score of the game. Dublin advance on a scoreline of 1–16 to 1–12.
Niall Moyna’s team’s cause was not helped by the loss of key players such as Conor McGraynor. “I felt our lads roughed away well, we’re missing some of our key players around the middle including Stephen O’Brien, Colm Begley and Duairmuid O’Connor,” Moyna said after the game.
“We’re very happy, that’s as good as five training sessions for us. You find out a lot about players and that’s what the conditions in the Sigerson Cup are going to be like,” he added.
Looking ahead to the Sigerson Cup, DCU host Athlone IT in the first round on Thursday, January 28th. Their victories over Wexford and IT Carlow will only aid their progress as they look to retain the Sigerson Cup in 2016 and their performance today certainly proved they’re contenders.
Dublin: Michael Savage; Johnny Cooper (Eoin Culligan 59’), Jarleth Curley, Conor Mullally (Darren Daly 48’); Niall Scully, Philip McMahon, John Small; James McCarthy (Stephen Cunningham 58’), Denis Bastick (Ciaran Reddin 42’); Tomás Brady (Jason Whelan 35’), Dean Rock, Shane Carthy; Cormac Costello, Paddy Andrews (Michael Deegan 52’), Con O’Callaghan.
Dublin Scorers: Dean Rock 0–6 (0–3f), Con O’Callaghan 1–2, Cormac Costello 0–3, Shane Carthy, Paddy Andrews 0–2 each, Jason Whelan 0–1
DCU: Philip O’Donnell; Eoin Smith (Paudie McKenna 45’), Kevin Feely (Nathan Gavigan 43’), Steven Attride; Cian Mulligan (Dessie Ward 31’), Conor Moynagh, David Byrne; Caolan McGonagle, Shane Carthy; Rory Connor, Michael Quinn, Cian Brehany (David Mannix 35’); Conor McHugh (Simon McCoy 35’), Enda Smith, Shane Carey.
DCU Scorers: Shane Carey 0–7 (0–3f), Enda Smith 1–3, Michael Quinn, David Byrne (0–1 each).
Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)
Image Credit: Sportsfile