The DCU Dóchas na hÉireann junior footballers won the Leinster Higher Education final by four points, beating Dundalk Institute of Technology in the final.
Kevin McKeon has captained the side to the feat from midfield and admitted that with the team’s success comes the pressure for silverware.
“When you’re one of the last college teams left for DCU trying to get a bit of silverware it adds a bit of pressure,” said McKeon.
“It’s been kind of a disappointing year for how the Sigerson team has done and how other teams have done, the hurlers were very unlucky,”
“Representing your college, you want to do well and hopefully we can just push it on,” he added.
McKeon and his teammates have been instilled with great belief under the management of David Neary and he doesn’t believe the added pressure will affect their game.
“At the same time, we’ve had the attitude if you just go out and listen to the lads and listen to David Neary that it should be fine,” he said.
After overcoming Dundalk by 3-13 to 2-12, McKeon delighted in making amends from their Leinster semi-final defeat to the same opposition last year.
“Dundalk had beaten us in the Leister semi-final last year, so it was good to get a bit of revenge there,” said McKeon.
“We probably could have won it a bit more comfortably, but we put the foot off the gas when we were a good bit up,”
“At the same time, I always though we were going to win, we have a great side there,”
“It was a tough game, conditions weren’t great,”
“I think we were fully deserving of our win,” he added.
In preparation for the All-Ireland semi-final McKeon has praised the character and energy of his teammates.
“It’s a very well-balanced team, there’s guys from every province there,” he said.
“A lot of lads would have played minor and U-21 for their county, so the actual standard of the team itself was quite high,”
“There’s a good spirit in the squad because the majority of the work we do is kind of just ball work,” he added.
Talking regarding the unique nature of the collegiate game McKeon highlighted the importance of in-team familiarity.
“It’s just about trying to get to know the other guys you are playing with and its been very positive when we get back every weekend,” he said.
Tactically Neary’s men have played a very attacking brand of football as their score lines would suggest and McKeon praised his manager for this.
“It’s very positive from a management point of view that we kind of go fifteen on fifteen,” he said.
“The forwards try to press and obviously there’s a lot of intensity in the forwards and that makes it easier for everyone else,”
“We know we have good players there and good forwards that can win games so everyone kind of trusts each other to do their job,” he added.
McKeon highlighted that the team’s powerful forwards have been crucial in their success.
“Thomas McGowan is very good. He’s been the free taker the last few games and he’s been very accurate from the frees,” he said.
“Tomas Fahey and Tommie Keane are flying in the forwards, Keith Murphy has been doing very well,”
“We know ourselves if we show up on the day everything should be okay,” he added.
The team were unfortunate to lose midfielder Conor Murray to a head injury in their semi-final against UCD.
McKeon and the team wish him a speedy recovery and described the Roscommon senior as a “huge loss” to the team.
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