Inexperienced Dublin overcome DCU in O’Byrne Cup

Dublin named a more experimental side as Jim Gavin's troops rested in Jamaica.

Dublin 1-15
DCU 0-11

O’Byrne Cup Round One

Dublin opened 2017 with a win at Parnell Park against a significantly weakened DCU side on Sunday, January 8th in an intriguing contest that saw Dublin’s full forward line boast a massive 1-11 between them to overcome Niall Moyna’s side in the opening round of this year’s O’Byrne Cup.

Niall Walsh and Michael Deegan sent a message to manager Jim Gavin, the pair impressing as Hugh McFadden and Éanna O’Connor put in solid performances for The Students who ultimately fell to a seven point defeat.

Both sides fielded relatively inexperienced teams as Dublin were without the 2016 All-Ireland panel due to the team holiday while DCU were without several key players due to county duty and injuries.

Paul Clarke’s Dublin got off to a strong start with Michael Deegan, Jason Whelan and Castleknock star Shane Boland seeing a lot of the ball in the opening ten minutes. DCU struggled to penetrate the Dublin defence as Dublin dominated the breaking ball.

A close range Conor McHugh point was followed by a quick diagonal ball inside to Paul Hudson, the Thomas Davis man finished off his left from close to see Dublin take a commanding position after 15 minutes.

DCU refused to give in and fought back courtesy of an excellent run and finish from Mark Plunkett from the 45. David Mannix followed up, capitalising on a Jason Whelan blunder to ensure Niall Moyna’s side stay in touch midway through the first half.

Both teams had goal opportunities with Lahiffe forcing a great save from Dublin goalkeeper Evan Comerford while Dublin had a chance of their own minutes later when Niall Walsh’s hand pass across goal found Jason Whelan on the edge of the box, the Ballymun man’s shot was smothered by Shane Mannion.

DCU awarded a penalty just seven minutes from the break when Lahiffe was pushed off the ball on the edge of the Dublin box, Kevin Feely’s penalty ricocheted off the post into Comerford’s thankful hands to ensure Dublin remained three clear approaching the interval.

Dublin made them pay when an excellent Michael Deegan effort was followed by a strong Niall Walsh run on the right, the wing forward’s hand pass across found Paul Hudson who slotted the ball into the bottom left corner to rattle the students before half-time.

DCU began the second half strongly, winning a series of frees in the opening phases, corner forward Ryan Burns and Cian Mulligan proved clinical as DCU looked to claw their way back into the game.

Impressive points from the ever-present Niall Walsh and a brilliant long-range point from substitute Gavin Ivory ensured the Dubs stayed ahead. Some DCU sloppy play was punished by substitute Shane Cunningham and Deegan again.

DCU refused to give in as midfielder Hugh McFadden was deployed at full forward and caused the Dublin defence some serious questions in the latter stages of the game. Substitute Thomas O’Reilly scored the final point of the game to see it finish 1-15 to 0-11.

DCU will travel to Wexford on Wednesday 11th January whereas Dublin host UCD in Parnell Park.

Dublin: Evan Comerford; Jack Smith, Eoin O’Brien, Ross McGowan; Niall Scully, Ciarán Reddan, Brian Howard; Jason Whelan (0-1), Ryan Duggan; Gary Sweeney, Shane Boland, Niall Walsh (0-1); Paul Hudson (1-03, 0-1f), Michael Deegan (0-4, 0-1 f), Conor McHugh (0-3).

Subs: Tom Shields for Eoin O’Brien 45’, Gavin Ivory (0-1) for Paul Hudson 45’, Robbie Gaughan for Niall Walsh 50’, Shane Cunningham (0-2) for Conor McHugh 57’, Ross Hazley for Shane Boland 61’, Ross O’Brien for Jason Whelan 61’, Sean Newcombe for Ryan Duggan 70’.

DCU: Shane Mannion; Eoin Smith, Daniel O’Neill, Barry Kerr; Tom Lahiffe, Kevin Feely, Séamus Lavin; Caolan McGonagle, Hugh McFadden; Éanna O’Connor (0-1), Dessie Ward (0-1), Niall Murphy; Mark Plunkett (0-1), David Mannix (0-2), Ryan Burns (0-4f).

Subs: Shane Carthy for Niall Murphy 29’, Cian Mulligan (0-1f) for Dessie Ward HT, David Neary for David Mannix HT, Eoghan Smith for Tom Lahiffe HT, Matthew Corcoran for Éanna O’Connor ‘58, Brian Cawley for Eoin Smith 60’, Thomas Galligan for Caolan McGonagle 60’, Conor Doran for Barry Kerr 68’, Thomas O’Reilly (0-1) for Mark Plunkett 68’.

Gavin Quinn

Image Credit: Irish Times

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