DCU Freshers win Harding Cup as senior football team falls to UCC

Aidan Geraghty

DCU claimed their first ever Harding Cup success with a 1-0 win over UCC on February 12th. Credit: Third Level Football

Dublin City University 2
University College Cork 1
Harding Cup final

Dublin City University 0
University College Cork 1
CUFL Premier Division semi-final

It was a week of mixed fortunes for football in DCU. The college’s freshers team defeated University College Cork in extra time to win the Harding Cup for the first time in the 37-year history of the university.

That was followed three days later by an agonising 1-0 defeat for the senior team against the same opposition in the semi-final of the Colleges and Universities Football League Premier Division.

On Sunday, February 12th, the Harding Cup final needed an extra half-hour to separate the teams, as they were scoreless after 90 minutes of play.

The treacherous conditions undoubtedly had an impact on the game and this was reflected by the normally free-scoring DCU’s inability to put the ball in the net.

This changed in extra time however, thanks to Jack O’Connor. The young striker, who has been a talisman for the freshers and senior team this year, gave his side the lead early in extra time, only for it to be nullified moments later.

The spoils belonged to the Dubliners nonetheless, and Conor McKenna’s late goal ensured the party continued in Glasnevin at least until the following Wednesday, when the senior team once again faced UCC for a spot in the CUFL Premier Division final.

The result favoured the Leesiders, this time, as a Seán O’Callaghan goal soured what was otherwise a fine performance from DCU goalkeeper Lee Doyle.

“It was a very hard game for us,” DCU manager Declan Roche claimed.

“We had won the Harding Cup the previous Sunday and nine of those players had to be involved in the semi-final of the Premier League on Wednesday.

“We faced a very good Cork side and it was unfortunate that we couldn’t progress to the final.

“We’re very proud of the players, though. We’ve had a tremendous season so far and to make it to the semi-final was a magnificent achievement.”

DCU Harding Cup team: Lee Doyle; Stephen Lawlor, Conor McKenna, Jack Traynor, Karl Melling; Seán McCarthy, Jamie Lennon, Conor Sutton, Fergal O’Donohoe; Colman O’Neill, Jack O’Connor.

DCU CUFL team: Lee Doyle; Karl Melling, Gavan Kearney, Jack Blake, Craig Dowling; Rory Feely, Luke Kelly, Jamie Lennon, Jack O’Connor; Ross Tannehy, Alan O’Sullivan.

Aidan Geraghty
Image credit: Third Level Football