DCU Dóchas na Éireann 2-20
Dublin Institute of Technology 1-12
Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final
DCU booked their place in the Fitzgibbon Cup final with an eleven-point victory against Dublin rivals DIT last Tuesday evening in Parnell Park.
Dublin’s Donal Burke got DCU off to a flyer with a beautiful goal in the opening moments.
A high diagonal ball was flicked along the ground by centre forward John Donnelly to Burke. Burke soloed into the edge of the square from the stand side and finished across DIT skipper Warren Kavanagh.
DIT responded immediately with a free from Niall O’Brien, who doubled his tally in the next play with an easy point.
Both DCU corner forwards got in on the scoring with Patrick Curran hitting the ball into his hands and striking over.
Kilkenny’s John Donnelly added to Curran’s effort, which left Burke’s goal as the difference between the sides.
The first half was congested in the middle of the field with a lot of interceptions, turnovers and fouls. Curran roaming to midfield along with other forwards on a rotational basis contributed to this.
DIT’s Niall O’Brien took advantage of DCU’s indiscipline to knock over two frees while Burke did the same for DCU adding another free to his tally.
Fergal Whitely then came on for Na Fianna’s Paul O’Dea. Another DIT foul allowed Donal Burke to put DCU ahead 1-4 to 0-4 eighteen minutes into the half.
DCU could have gone roaring ahead but a great save from Kavanagh with the hurl denied Donnelly a goal.
Burke then continued his free taking exhibition for DCU with a huge free from the sideline 50 yards out.
Curran asserted his dominance up front yet again by striking a high effort over while running across the 45 towards the centre of the pitch.
DIT’s runners created free taking chances for O’Brien who added another two easy points to his tally.
DIT’s skipper had to run out to deny Donal Burke a second goal as Burke’s attempt at a chip was blocked by Kavanagh’s hurl.
A 65 from Burke and a free from DIT’s O’Brien left a goal between the sides at the break, with DCU leading 1-7 to 0-7.
Things began to open up in the second half, as a DCU scoring blitz all but ended the DIT challenge with six unanswered scores.
John Donnelly got proceedings underway, swinging over from the 45.
First half DCU substitute Fergal Whitely proved his worth hitting over a point on the run from the wing.
Burke picked up from where he left off in the first half with three pointed frees in a row.
John Donnelly cut across two DIT men and hit over a nice point from the right of goals.
Derek McNicholas ended the DCU tide of attacks by hitting over a point from outside the 45. DCU lead by 1-13 to 0-8.
Things went from bad to worse for DIT as newly introduced DCU substitute Peter Hogan cut into the square from the stand side and finished past DIT keeper Kavanagh.
Thanks to the defensive display of Delaney at centre back, a certain point was blocked moments after DCU’s second goal.
Paul Kelly impressed off the bench as the forward sprinted out to the 45 near the stand, before turning back inside past two DIT defenders to pop over a score.
Whitely added to Kelly’s effort to give DCU a 2-15 to 0-8 lead going into the last ten minutes.
O’Brien would not let DIT go down quietly as he added a free and a point to DIT’s tally.
Defender Delaney produced perhaps one of the best points from play all day as he hit a humungous effort from 70 yards out over the bar.
Wexford’s Joe O’Connor came into the game in the latter stages picking off a fine score from 65 yards out the field.
DIT, determined not to be beat, got a late consolation goal. O’Brien did a quick one-two with Justin Cahill before burying the sliotar past a stream of DCU men.
Points from Joe O’Connor and Donal Burke forced DIT to go for goals.
The DCU skipper Oisin Foley made two fine late saves on Cian O’Donoghue and O’Brien, the second effort of which slowly spilt across the goal before spilling out for a 65.
DCU victory over DIT means they will face the University of Limerick next Saturday in Cork for their first ever Fitzgibbon Cup final.
Joe O’Connor was thrilled with the win and heralded it as “a great achievement considering DCU were playing Ryan Cup in 2015”.
“It was a scrappy game in the first half but thankfully things started to open up for us in the second half,” he said.
O’Connor then gave his insight on their Fitzgibbon Cup final opponents UL.
“We haven’t met them yet this year. They’re obviously a good squad with around fifteen county players, but we’ll be well prepared for them.”
DCU and UL will meet in Mallow, Cork on the 24th of February at 3pm for what will prove to be a historic day for DCU hurling.