Looking back at a disappointing season

3 January 2015; DCU manager Niall Moyna. Longford v DCU - Bord na Mona O'Byrne Cup Group C Round 1. Pearse Park, Longford. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

The sports year in Dublin City University concluded this past week as The College View defeated DCUfm 10-4 in the Seventh Annual Bill O’Herlihy Memorial Cup, but the jubilation on the faces of your favourite reporters was a rare sight. More common were images such as Deirdre Murphy’s tears and Niall Moyna’s unforeseen farewell as it was a year of league success and championship heartbreak for teams in Glasnevin.

For the men’s senior Gaelic football team last season’s Sigerson success would of course be difficult to replicate, and maybe it was fitting that the late Dave Billings’ work with the University College Dublin programme came to fruition in the wake of his untimely death.

That won’t be of any comfort to Moyna and his team though. Defeat to their cross-city rivals in both the Ryan Cup and Sigerson Cup finals was a tough pill to swallow, one made all the more bitter by the manager’s surprise resignation after the latter game. The man described by Conor Moynagh as ‘Mr. DCU’ leaves enormous shoes to be filled following the college’s unprecedented success during his decade-and-a-half in charge.

Although the ladies’ team did bring home some silverware, they too tasted defeat in their final game of the season. Stephen Maxwell and Niamh McEvoy laid solid foundations for the often overlooked women’s programme by claiming the league title and in the process handed the University of Limerick their first loss in over three years.

The Shannonsiders would get their revenge, though, as they beat DCU by a score of 3-4 to 1-8 in their O’Connor Cup semi-final in March before falling to, you guessed it, UCD in the O’Connor Cup Final.

The male and female Gaelic football teams are licking their wounds, but anyone involved in DCU hurling is unlikely to show much sympathy. Nicky English’s side never recovered from a shock 1-21 to 1-08 defeat in Carlow on opening night, suffering a 12-point rout against Waterford Institute of Technology before drawing a dead-rubber match against St. Pat’s in the teaching college’s final game before amalgamation with DCU.

The 2016 Collingwood Cup can only be described as heartbreaking for DCU’s football team. This season, manager Declan Roche wanted to place more emphasis on attractive football and did so with great success. However, he reflected that “at this time of the year (January and February), most college pitches aren’t conducive to playing good football” after his team’s last gasp concession against Trinity College to lose 1-0, despite having dominated the previous 89 minutes.

In March, DCU’s women’s football team came out on the wrong end of a thrilling WSCAI Division One final which finished 6-4 after extra time. The added pressure of chasing a game likely took its toll on Grace McAuley Ryan’s team as the Northsiders trailed 1-0, 3-1 and 4-2 before dragging the game to extra time at 4-4. Despite not lifting the cup, Emma Boyle’s free kick from 25 yards out will go down as one of this season’s memorable moments.

DCU Amateur Boxing Club walked away with five medals (four gold, one silver) from the Irish Athletic Third Level Boxing Association Championships in March. GAA players, Basketball players and athletes from DCU also came away with individual accolades this season.

Five DCU players were named to the Sigerson Cup All-Star team while Siobhán Woods was named to the O’Connor Cup team. Five DCU Mercy players were called up to the national team for the FIBA Small Countries tournament in June. In athletics, David McCarthy won gold at the University Intervarsity Cross-Country Race.

There were some unforgettable moments involving DCU teams in the 2015-16 season but ultimately, when this season is reflected upon in years to come, the records will show that the three major sports only brought home one trophy.

Aidan Geraghty

Image credit: Sportsfile

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