Dublin City University’s freshers teams in both Gaelic football and hurling tasted All-Ireland glory this past week.
On Thursday, March 2nd, Eoin Roche’s hurlers lifted the John Corcoran Cup for the first time in the University’s history, as they earned a 1-15 to 1-13 win against the University of Limerick at the Mardyke in Cork (see page 17 for full report).
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” DCU captain Darren Byrne said, speaking to Jerome Quinn.
“The boys were unbelievable. There were 25 of them there sitting on the bench and every one of them had a part to play.
“Even the lads that didn’t get a run were driving us on, they were up on their toes.”
UL went ahead by four points in extra time, but a remarkable comeback saw Byrne and his teammates take the Cup back to Glasnevin.
“I did (think it was gone),” Byrne admits.
“We stiffened up a small bit at half-time and just said ‘lads, enjoy yourselves. Hurl to your ability.’ Gar O’Brien put a big emphasis on that.
“He just said to us, ‘keep hurling and it will come.’ The same thing happened in the semi-final. We were two points down and came back to win by two points. It’s a credit to the boys.”
The hurlers dramatic win put even more pressure on the already favoured Gaelic footballers in the following night’s Dave Billings Cup final, which was moved from Roscommon to Abbotstown, Dublin 15, with only a few hours’ notice due to inclement weather in the west.
The Glasnevin side didn’t feel the pressure though. They defeated NUI Galway by a score of 1-13 to 1-10 to round off an incredible weekend for Gaelic games on the Northside.
DCU captain Brendan McCole emphasised to Jerome Quinn that 27 counties were represented on this year’s panel, making the achievement even more significant.
“It’s a big step for us, for 27 counties to win an All-Ireland. Some of these boys might not play in an All-Ireland again.
“It was nice to complete the double,” the Mountcharles (Donegal) clubman said.
“We were definitely aware of what the hurlers did and it was great for them, I think it was their first ever Championship title.”
A Galway goal in the second half put some pressure on DCU, but the Liffeysiders grabbed a late goal of their own to end the game as a contest.
“They had a tight defence in the second half,” McCole claimed.
“We were playing against a stiff breeze too but thankfully we kept attacking the goal and eventually killed it.”
The success of the freshers teams will be welcomed in DCU, especially at the end of a season in which the senior Gaelic football team crumbled under enormous pressure when they fell to St. Mary’s in the Sigerson Cup quarter-final.
Interview credit: Jerome Quinn Media