Cregg highlights set piece woes in DCU’s 6-3 defeat to Maynooth

Darragh Gannon's free kick leaves Patrick Dunican stranded. Credit: Darragh Culhane

Dublin City University 3
Maynooth University 6
Colleges and Universities Football League Premier Division

St. Patrick’s Athletic’s Jack Bayly’s first half brace played a pivotal role for Maynooth University as DCU were handed their first defeat of the season in a 6-3 goal-fest at DCU’s sportsgrounds on Wednesday, October 19th.

Maynooth started the game wind-assisted and were on the front foot from the start with the pace of wingers Dylan Kavanagh and Jason Grouse immediately troubling the DCU defence.

Doubles from Bayly and centre-half Darragh Gannon had the contest well and truly over at half-time with Maynooth leading 5-1.

After the defeat DCU coach Patrick Cregg felt that over the course of the game, Maynooth were deserved winners but refused to say they’re unbeatable and thought that the game might have ended differently if it weren’t for DCU’s inadequate defending of set-pieces.

“The game was over at half-time. We said to the lads the game was gone and (told them to) win the second half, which they did.

“Maynooth scored four from set pieces, so that is something as a group we must work on. If you take those four goals away, we didn’t actually play too badly considering we were missing three lads that started last week,” he said.

Maynooth were far more composed in the opening few minutes and after just five minutes, 17-year-old Jay Grouse was breaking into the box putting pressure on Patrick Dunican’s goal.

Maynooth full-back and captain Jake Corrigan was constantly trying to start attacks from the left side of the field and linked up excellently with Kavanagh throughout the game.

In fact, it was a move initiated by Corrigan that ended up with the ball being whipped in by Kavanagh that resulted in a corner that produced the opening goal of the game.

Kavanagh, who plays his club football for Shelbourne, duly took the corner kick that found Darragh Gannon un-marked in the middle of the box and headed Maynooth into the lead after 15 minutes.

Just three minutes later Kavanagh was on hand to provide the second goal after crossing the ball into Bayly who took a touch in the box before composing himself to increase the visitors’ advantage.

Maynooth continued to pounce on the uneasy DCU defence and moments after the second, Corrigan and Kavanagh linked up once more on the left before delivering the ball to Bayly at the back post.

Bayly’s first attempt was blocked on the line before his second effort was saved by Dunican however, he made no mistake with his third shot that put Maynooth 3-0 up after just 21 minutes.

Home skipper Jack Watson then drove up the pitch and neatly finished to bring DCU back into the game following a delightful through ball by Craig Dowling.

The game died down around the 30-minute mark but when Jack Bayly picked up the ball once more and headed towards goal, DCU striker Alan O’Sullivan chased back and lazily tripped Bayly which resulted in a free from 25 yards that was superbly converted by Kavanagh.

Maynooth’s holding midfielder Fuad Sule, who marshalled the centre of the park very well for his side, won a free kick on 41 minutes that set up Gannon’s second goal of the afternoon and his side’s fifth, that put the game out of reach going into half-time.

The Glasnevin side started the second period with a goal through Jack Blake following a set-piece delivered by Watson.

Watson was one of few DCU players trying to create chances in his more advanced second half role. He first had a free saved by goalkeeper Michael Kelly and started several attacks however, none of them materialised.

DCU’s patience began to run out as Maynooth began to string passes together with Sule at the fulcrum of their plays on the sunny afternoon in Glasnevin.

In the 71st minute substitute Conor Dunne made it six for Maynooth following a fabulous team goal that started at right back before being crossed in from the left wing.

The remainder of the game gave both teams the chance to empty the bench and while it Maynooth who used all five subs, it was two DCU subs that combined to get the ninth and final goal of the match.

Gabriel Aghinita set off down the wing in the 81st minute before pulling back to Iarlaith O’Connor who shot at Kelly only for it to be fumbled into the back of the net.

Referee Martin Browne blew the final whistle with the scoreline of 6-3 in favour of Maynooth who will undoubtedly trouble any team in the division.

DCU: Patrick Dunican; Craig Dowling, Kevin Molloy, Eric Whelan, Jack Blake; Jack Watson (c), Gavin Kearney, Jamie Lennon, Carl Melling; Alan O’Sullivan, Jack O’Connor.
Subs: Connor Sutton, Patrick Woulf, Gabriel Aghinita, Iarlaith O’Connor.

Maynooth: Michael Kelly; Mark Slater, Keith Beirne, Darragh Gannon, Jake Corrigan (c); Jason Grouse, Fuad Sule, Jack Bayly, Dylan Kavanagh; David Doyle, Darragh Markey.
Subs: Cillian Duffy, Conor Dunne, Sean Noble, John McKeown, Jackson Ryan.

William Dunne
Image Credit: Darragh Culhane

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