Pat’s flummoxed by DCU blitz

Nick Weir's side excelled under the lights in St. Clare's. Credit: Andrew Byrne

Dublin City University 4-19
St. Patrick’s College 0-11

Senior Hurling League Division One

A dazzling display from DCU on Wednesday night, October 19th under the lights of St. Clare’s saw them power past the challenge of St. Patrick’s College and exact revenge for last year’s league defeat.

In last year’s encounter, DCU were out-thought and outfought by St. Pat’s in an eight-point defeat, but there was to be no repeat in the local derby this time around.

The opening exchanges were tight and keenly contested, however an extremely soft goal finished to the net by Eoghan Conroy saw DCU build up an early lead.

St. Pat’s goalkeeper Paul Simms misguided a short puck-out straight into the hand of the grateful full forward who evaded his marker Conor Shaw and skidded the ball low past Simms’ right-hand side and into the corner of the net.

St. Pat’s were clearly determined to atone for the completely uncharacteristic mistake of the normally reliable Simms, and scored the next two points through midfielders Paddy Spellacy and Jake Firman to leave the score 1-3 to 0-4 after 15 minutes.

The platform for DCU’s victory was built on the strength of their half-back line who were utterly dominant throughout. Wexford’s Paudie Foley was particularly outstanding both in his aerial prowess and his distribution of the ball.

This combined with the Trojan work rate of midfield pairing Liam Fahey and Joe O’Connor laid the foundations for the surprisingly routine victory. In A.J. Murphy and Jason Byrne DCU possess dead-eyed forwards, with the latter extremely reliable from placed balls.

The 15 minutes before half-time went a long way to deciding the outcome, with DCU outscoring their rivals by nine points to three.

When Paul Kelly fired over the bar from 45 yards on the stroke of the short whistle, St. Pat’s trailed by 1-12 to 0-7.

Steadfast defending from Jamie de Barún and Westmeath’s Shaw, who will represent Ireland’s U-21 Hurling/Shinty squad this Saturday, kept St. Pat’s in the match. Billy Walsh proved to be their main scoring threat up front.

The game was effectively ended as a contest in the 38th minute when the powerful O’Connor managed to evade the challenge of his marker before soloing along the end line and dispatching his shot into the bottom right-hand corner to leave the score 2-16 to 0-8.

St. Pat’s GAA officer Tom Fitzpatrick was surprised by the manner of the defeat, especially given they had earned a brilliant draw against powerhouse UCD in the previous round, scoring four goals in the process.

“We were totally fired up the last day against UCD, getting stuck into them. We just didn’t seem to get going at all tonight. DCU always seemed to have way too much time on the ball.

“We still have a few lads to come back from teaching practice, so that will be a boost.”

The amalgamation of the two colleges has represented a period of uncertainty for the St. Pat’s hurlers, with the Drumcondra men keen to hold onto their status as an independent team, as opposed to joining ranks with their neighbours.

They have lost an astonishing number of key players from last year, including Eoin Price and Eoin McIntyre, and will have to build a largely new team.

The absence of their star player Patrick Curran will have done little to ease their fears, with the Waterford man eligible to play for either college. They face an anxious wait on his final decision.

DCU rounded off their comprehensive victory with two goals in the final five minutes. Jason Byrne dispatched a wicked shot from all of 25 yards, while Conroy pounced on hesitancy in the opposition full-back line to bat home from close range.

DCU’s link play was slick at times, however manager Nick Weir will be aware that they could have been more clinical. In total they hit 12 wides, while four shots dropped short into Simms’ grasp.

Having beaten the University of Ulster, Jordanstown in the opening round they now set their sights on a meeting with UCD as they go in search of a third consecutive victory. For St. Pat’s, they must regroup and prepare for their clash with UUJ as they seek their first win of the year.

DCU: R. Gillen; P. O’Dea, E. O’Donnell, A. Murphy; A. Maddock, P. Foley (0-1f), C. Delaney (0-1); L. Fahey, J. O’Connor (1-2); E. McHugh (0-1), P. Kelly (0-2), J. Byrne (1-7, 5f); A.J. Murphy (0-2), E. Conroy (2-1), M. Daly

L. Richardson (0-2) for Daly (HT)
N. McIntyre for Kelly (47 mins)

St. Patrick’s College: P. Simms; J. de Barún, C. Shaw, A. Cox; D. O’Shea, B. McDowell, R. Fitzpatrick; P. Spellacy, J. Firman; N. Mullins, S. Morrissey, D. Lyons; B. Ryan, C. Breathnach, O. Storey

G. Malone for Cox
A. Butler for Lyons
B. J. Byrne for Storey
C. K. Treacy for O’Shea
D. P. Mulern for de Barún

Patrick Lynch
Image credit: Andrew Byrne

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