DCU 0-1 University College Dublin AET
February 7th, 2015
Usually the pinnacle of freshers football in Ireland, the occasion of this years Harding Cup Final was somewhat spoiled by torrential rain that forced a move from Galway’s Éamon Deacy Park to Athlone, where UCD overcame rivals DCU after extra time to lift a record 19th Harding Cup.
DCU was playing in its first ever Harding Cup Final, so despite having scored the most goals in the competition and not conceded any at all, the Northsiders were labelled as huge underdogs going into the match.
There was to be no fairytale ending for Declan Roche’s side, nor a glorious victory for UCD for that matter, as the elements had a far greater influence on the match than either team with the poor conditions making it impossible to play attractive football.
The closest either team came to securing the honours within the 90 minutes was DCU captain Gavin Kearney’s effort that went just past the wrong side of the UCD net.
The deadlock was finally broken in the first half of extra time when UCD’s Dan Tobin delivered a dangerous ball from the right-hand side which was cruelly deflected past Ben Kelly in the DCU goal.
Despite the defeat, DCU manager Declan Roche is proud of his side, claiming there is nothing they could do about the goal they conceded. “There really isn’t anything we could have done better. The goal was cruel but the conditions played a huge part of it and we could have easily had that break.
“Unfortunately for us, it went against us but that’s just football. UCD are a great side and the fact that they’ve won this competition 19 times proves that. This was the first time in the history of the University we’ve played in the final. We reached this game by scoring the most goals and not conceding any so that’s definitely something to be proud of.
“We’ve got the Collingwood Cup coming up soon which is demanding because you might have to play three games in four or five days but I know our lads are up for it. Some of our Harding Cup players will be involved too so it gives us a bit more depth.
“We’ve been unlucky in this competition the last couple of years but it’s easy to say that. At some point we have to make our own luck and progress deep into this (competition).”
DCU has drawn a bye in the first round of the 2016 Collingwood Cup and will face Trinity College in the quarter final on Wednesday, February 24th. The competition is being hosted by University College Cork. The final will be played at the Mardyke on Friday, February 26th.