Fresher C Football Championship final
Maynooth University: 2-16
DCU’s fresher Gaelic football team was firmly beaten 2-16 to 1-11 in this year’s Fresher C Football Championship final at the hands of a confident Maynooth side where a dominant opening half from the hosts was cancelled out by a resurgent second half fight-back from the Kildare college.
This was the third DCU freshers team to make a final this year as the college’s fresher a team previously completed a historic win over UCD in Croke Park on February 15th with the competition duly named the Corn Daithi Billings in memory of the late Dave Billings.
This affair was not to have the same victorious outcome however as second half goals either side of half-time from Aaron McCarron and Marc Sharkey sealed the win for Maynooth.
DCU began brightly from the first whistle however, with Ian Caffrey’s clever dummy on the perimeter of the Maynooth defence – throwing off the challenge of defender Patrick Lehey before kicking over – registering the game’s opening score.
This was followed by Emmet Rogan’s converted free from close range before Dean Newsome got his side’s first score of the game for Maynooth.
Persistent windy conditions would have a major part to play in the duration of the game, with the moving of the game’s location to DCU’s 3G all weather pitch meaning long balls and ambitious shots from range were not to prove successful as the game wore on.
DCU maintained their steady lead in the opening half with clever hand pass exchanges between Caffrey and Rogan ending in a well manoeuvred point for the latter after Maynooth levelled proceedings from Paddy McAleer’s free kick that crashed off the inside of the post to fly over.
DCU, led by a management team featuring Sigerson player and Monaghan inter-county forward Shane Carthy, pulled into a 0-7 to 0-3 lead. Rogan added another score while Shane Rogers and midfielder Elliott Craig too contributed.
Maynooth were heavily afflicted by the unfavourable weather conditions meaning supply to its half and full forward lines were not forthcoming as they momentarily submitted to DCU’s confident display.
They did however claw the score-line back to within a point of the hosts with Paddy McAleer’s pointed free from off the ground while corner forward Marc Sharkey too lowered the deficit with a smart turn and kick from a wayward angle.
The visitors pushed into a higher gear towards the end of the first half when half-back Aaron McCarron found himself in the right place at the right time to catch a loose ball fumbled around inside the DCU penalty area to smash home a goal from close range.
Maynooth took hold of this new-found confidence to pull further away after the interval. A total of 1-5 without reply from Maynooth preceded DCU bringing a much-needed air of balance with a goal of their own – exchanges between Kevin Gilmore and Emmet Rogan worked the ball toward Elliott Craig who drove the ball home past goalkeeper Tadgh Foley to bring the score back to 1-8 to 1-11 to Maynooth.
More points from a now bolstering Maynooth forward line brought them into a 1-9 to 1-15 lead before the final nail was rooted into the Glasnevin side’s coffin.
Hope of a comeback was resolutely extinguished when a remarkably misplaced free-kick from goalkeeper Shane Rice was gathered by Maynooth half-forward Ronan Gearaghty who worked the ball toward corner forward Marc Sharkey along the ground.
The ball bobbled momentarily before the 19-year-old side-footed the ball instinctively past Rice in the DCU net to bring the score beyond the hosts – 1-9 to 2-16.
Late points from DCU including a last-gasp effort from Emmet Rogan five yards from goal failed to materialise beneath the crossbar as Maynooth’s full-back line remained defiant and resolute in the game’s final stages to see the game out 1-11 to 2-16 winners and reign home this year’s Fresher C Football Championship.
DCU: Shane Rice; Michael Murphy, Mick Daly, Aidan Dunne; Greg Fitzsimmons, Shane Kelly, David McMahon; Elliott Craig, Nessan Lenehan; Ian Caffrey, Emmet Rogan, Shane Rogers; Kevin Gilmore, John Duffy, Conor Dennehy.
Maynooth: Tadgh Foley; Patrick Lehey, Daniel McDonald, Bobby Gonoud; Aaron McCarron, Ronan Sheehan, Liam Molloy; Sean Burke, Oisin Shiels; PJ Graham, Ronan Gearaghty, Paddy McAleer; Marc Sharkey, Dean Newsome, Conor Shine.
Image Credit: Cóilín Duffy