DCU overcame a resilient Wicklow side to win their opening fixture of the O’Byrne Cup by the narrowest of margins; beating the home side in Baltinglass 0-18 to 1-14.
New Wicklow manager Harry Murphy can take positives from his sides’ first competitive game after the Garden County battled back from a three point deficit at half time to come within one point of the Dublin team, who were hampered with a sending off in the first half and a second yellow for Jonathan Cooper in the second half.
DCU were reduced to 14 men when Anthony McFadden was given his marching orders in the first half for an exchange with Wicklow’s Paddy Byrne but the college’s early lead served them well; picking up 5 points unanswered within the first 12 minutes.
Wicklow made amends for their slow start however, and Joey Kelly scored a goal from close range to make it 7 points unanswered by the Murphy’s men; the score at half time was 0-13 to 1-7 in the away side’s favour.
Sean Furlong and Tony Hannon notched up the first half points for Wicklow while points from Dean Rock, David Kelly, Jack Brady, Gary Sweeney, Eoghan O’Hara and Cooper put DCU in a strong position by the end of the first half.
Rock was in fine form for DCU and ended up with a total tally of 9 points, with 6 coming from free kicks; Seanie Furlong and Joey Kelly shared the top-scorer tag for Wicklow with five points for Furlong and a goal and 2 points for Kelly.
With 60 minutes gone, wing-back Cooper picked up a second yellow and DCU were reduced to 13 men but they held out to win despite a valiant effort from Wicklow, with scores from Furlong, Austin O’Malley and Nicky Mernagh reducing the gap to just a point to make the final few moments a nail biting finish.
WICKLOW: J Flynn; A Byrne, J Bolger, C Rossiter; P Byrne, R Finn, N Gaffney; J Stafford, A Merriman (0-1); N Mernagh (0-2), A O’Malley (0-1), D O’Sullivan, J Kelly (1-2, 0-1 free), S Furlong (0-5, 0-3 frees), T Hannon (0-2). Subs: D Healy for P Byrne, P Burke for O’Sullivan, B Cullen (0-1) for A Byrne, H Mangan for Hannon, P Cronin for Kelly.
DCU: R Hennelly, L Bree, P McMahon, E Culligan, C Begley, J McCarthy, J Cooper (0-3), F O’Shea, M McElhinney, G Sweeney (0-1), D Rock (0-9, 0-6 frees), A McFadden, J Brady (0-3), E O’Gara (0-1), D Kelly (0-1). Subs: M Boyle for R Hennelly, N Collins for P McMahon, J McEnaney for F O’Shea.