DCU push past St. Mary’s and into Ryan Cup semi-final

Tensions ran high in DCU's Ryan Cup victory over St. Mary's. Credit: Darragh Culhane

Dublin City University 1-15
St. Mary’s 2-09

Ryan Cup quarter-final

A strong first half performance from DCU proved to be enough to get past St Mary’s College, Belfast in the Ryan Cup, at St Clare’s.

The home side started the first half playing with a strong wind at their backs, which proved vital in their game plan of free-flowing, attacking play.

The first score came after just one minute through Niall Murphy and was followed swiftly by another from Donnie Smith.

DCU dominated the kick-outs in the opening period and controlled possession, putting two more scores over the bar – the first from Smith 30 yards out. The second then came from Austin Stacks (Kerry) forward, David Mannix.

St Mary’s played more defensively in the first half, trying to run the ball out from the back but they were met by a strong DCU defence.

It took Mary’s seven minutes to put a score on the board but it was cancelled out straight from DCU’s kick-out when a long ball was played from midfield into Niall Murphy who laid off for Smith to tap over the bar. Smith, who was the standout player for DCU in the first half added further to his tally with a superb free-kick out on the sideline.

It looked as though DCU might run away with the game. They bettered Mary’s in every aspect, however, the County Antrim side was given a lifeline when DCU gifted them a penalty which was tucked away nicely.

This was followed by another point for St Mary’s, but, DCU immediately scored five more points through Mannix, Murphy, and Donegal’s Hugh McFadden to bring them into half-time ahead by a score of 0-12 to 1-04.

DCU entered the second half comfortably in the lead and added further to this just 40 seconds in when Caolan McGonagle burst through Mary’s defence and fired past the

Like Mary’s, DCU opted to play a running game against the strong wind, only with more immediate threat than their opponents.

But, when Donnie Smith received a black card for body checking his man, the momentum shifted to St Mary’s, who began to grab a foothold in the game.

After scoring 1-04 unanswered by DCU, St Mary’s found themselves just one point behind with five minutes left to go in the game.

DCU’s experience through inter-county players such as Diarmuid O’Connor (Mayo), Hugh McFadden, and Enda Smith (Roscommon) paid dividends as they began to slow down play and retain possession.

As Mary’s tired in the closing minutes, DCU secured the win with three more points, two of them from Smith and one from Diarmuid O’Connor.

After three minutes of added time, the game ended with a final score of 1-15 to 2-09 sending DCU to their second semi-final in two years in the competition.

DCU: 1. David Mulvihill; 2. Eoin Smith, 3. Daniel O’Neill, 4. Barry Kerr; 5. Jonathon McGuigan, 6. Kevin Feely 7. Shehroz Akram; 8. Thomas Galligan, 9. Caolon McGonagle; 10. Tom Lahiffe, 11. Enda Smith, 12. Diarmuid O’Connor; 13. Donnie Smith, 14. Hugh McFadden, 15 Niall Murphy.

Subs: 16. Brendan Flynn, 17. Daniel Gallagher, 18. Séamus Lavin, 19. James Mealiff, 20. David Mannix, 21. Niall Clerkin, 22. Tadhg O’Rourke, 23. Thomas O’Reilly, 24. Eoghan O’Conchúir, 25. Brian Reape.

Enda Coll
Image credit: Darragh Culhane

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