DCU ladies dominate Pats to reach O’Connor Cup semi-final

Gavin Quinn

DCU's Leha Caffrey sizes up a tackle in Drumcondra. Credit: Darragh Culhane

DCU Dóchas Éireann 0-16
St. Patrick’s College 1-04

O’Connor Cup quarter-final

The DCU Senior ladies’ Gaelic football team has qualified for O’Connor Cup weekend after a strong display saw them overcome local rivals St. Patrick’s College (Pats) by nine points on Wednesday afternoon in a physical affair in Drumcondra.

Stephen Maxwell’s side were slow to start but never looked back when they took the lead mid-way through the first half with Sarah Rowe and Aisling Sheridan terrorising the Pats defence from the very first minute while Rutledge and Atkinson’s work rate in the middle third proved decisive.

Pats never threw in the towel as they looked to reel DCU in during a cagey last ten minutes that prompted the referee to stop the game due to an off the ball altercation with just five minutes remaining. Pats kept pushing and were rewarded with Niamh Kelly converting a last gasp penalty, but it would only prove a consolation as DCU emerged victorious by nine points.

It took nine minutes for either side to register the first score of the game in a blustery Drumcondra, a period that saw DCU register four consecutive wides as their forwards looked to struggle settling into the game.

Pats took advantage of DCU’s lack of accuracy, racing to a two-point lead courtesy of two short range Kelly points, one a free and one from play. DCU continued to register wides before Mayo’s Sarah Rowe cut inside her marker and slotted over a beautiful left footed strike.

The home side replied with another Kelly free, won after DCU failed to deal with a long ball sent in from midfield as Pats looked to be in control, leading by 0-3 to 0-1.

DCU seemed to almost kick into action soon after as Sheridan began to terrorise Pats’ defence, first winning a key free before kicking a point of her own of the right, Éabha Rutledge’s free-taking proved decisive as DCU took control of the quarter-final tie.

More frees from Rutledge were complemented by excellent scores in the form of Lauren Magee’s close range effort and an excellent end to the half that saw Sarah Rowe blow Pats away with two demoralising scores to make it 0-9 to 0-3 at half time.

Pats were struggling to create scoring chances with their half-forward line drawn into the midfield battle, isolating their full-forward line. They looked to start the half well thanks to yet another Kelly free from close range left them five adrift.

Hopes of a second half fight back were all but extinguished however as the game reached the final quarter thanks to scores from Éabha Rutledge and Sarah Rowe but it was the exploits of Aisling Sheridan that stole the show as the corner-forward sent DCU into a commanding lead thanks to three outstanding points from play.

Pats refused to roll over and continued the same level of intensity despite the inevitable result in the last ten minutes with Muireann Ní Scanaill and Ellen O’Brien ensuring it was not to be easy for Stephen Maxwell’s side.

Their hard work was rewarded in the closing stages when a well taken Griffin penalty salvaged a consolation for the resilient Pats side, the goal seeing Pats’ tally reach 1-04 to DCU’s 0-16.

The O’Connor Cup weekend will be hosted by Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology on the weekend of the 10th and 11th of March as the DCU ladies look to end a famine of six years without triumph in what is sure to be an exciting weekend.

St. Patrick’s College: H. Lynch; R. Lawless, Sarah Jane Winder, C. Purdy; A. Leahy, S. Cleary, R. Lenehan; M. Ní Scanaill, E. O’Brien; S. Hughes, A. Darcy, C. Traenor; N. Kelly (0-04 (0-03 f)), S. Shannon, L. Griffin (1-00 Pen).
Substitutes: E. Mullen, S. Murphy.

Dublin City University: A. Tarpey; K. McKinney, G. O’Loughlin, H. Hegarty; L. Caffrey, L. McGinley, K. Murray; K. McDermott, L. Magee (0-01); S. Woods, M. Atkinson (0-01), E. Rutledge (0-05 (0-04 f); A. Sheridan (0-05), E. Woods, S. Rowe (0-04 (0-01 f)).
Substitutes: N. Rickard, K. Fitzgibbon, M. Mohan, A. McAuliffe.

Gavin Quinn
Image credit: Darragh Culhane