A spirited last ten minutes by the Glasnevin based DCU saw them clinch victory at a wet and windy Parnell Park today. A total of 1-3 in the last ten minutes saw the college side regain momentum and finish in front, come final whistle.
Jim Gavin named a young and inexperienced team for today’s game, with Kevin McManamon, Byran Cullen and Rory O’Carroll as the only regular features in the starting fifteen.
It was the college side who had the better of exchanges in the first half, with the Wicklow native, Conor McGraynor causing hassle in the Dublin defence. Dublin were on the score board first with a Kevin McManamon fisted point before DCU equalised with a pointed free. A wayward cross field pass in the Dublin half forward line resulted in a goal scoring opportunity at the other end where McGraynor did well to beat his man and dispatch to the top corner of the net. Cormac Costello replied for the Dubs in the 9th minute with a point, before McGraynor was on hand again with another superbly taken score as he fell to the ground. Costello and David Byrne then exchanged points, the latter after good recycling of the ball from all of 40 yards.
At the other end, Kevin McManamon did well to keep a wayward shot in play before selflessly fisting into Costello who palmed over. It was however, Paul Hudson who would have the final say of the half with two final scores. His second effort would level the game at 1-3 to 6 points.
Gavin’s side re-emerged the more authoritative team in the second half and applied early pressure on the DCU outfit. Jason Whelan’s point was quickly followed by another McManamon score, where he teased the defender before curling over. Referee, David Gough, then spotted fouling in the defence and Hudson converted his own free. Cormac Costello got in on the act, to leave the score at 10 points to 1-3. DCU needed a score and fortune was on their side when a high ball into the Dublin defence resulted in a goal. Dublin replied with a quick score from substitute Fanning before Shane Carthy did well to point a 45 into a strong wind. The momentum was with Dublin at this stage and Hudson, proving a thorn in the DCU defence, notched two more points on to his tally. Cormac Costello pointed the next to leave six points between the teams as Dublin looked home and dry.
Gavin by this stage had emptied his bench with the influential McManamon, Carthy and O’Mahony coming to the line. These substitutions however seemed to un-settle the boys in blue as they let a lifeless DCU team back into this game. Ross O’Carroll received a black card for a tackle and this seemed to further rock the boat for the All-Ireland champions. DCU were not long finding the net once O’Carroll was dispatched. Watson notched on another point at the other end, before substitute Paul Flynn received a straight red in the 66th minute. A revitalised DCU side then pointed before converting yet another free to level the game. It was Davy Byrne, who had an impressive day out, who had the last say as he pointed from play to ensure the college side advance to the semi-final of the O’Byrne Cup.
In truth, the substitutions that Dublin made in the second half seemed to un-nerve the side, and the dismissal of Paul Flynn and Rory O’Carroll in the closing minutes ensured the DCU side had the final say.
DCU – J Farrelly; W Lowry, C Dunleavy, C Cafferky; E Murray, D Byrne (1-2), P Dooney; E O’Connor, B Donnelly; F O’Shea, M Quinn, P Fox; C McHugh (0-1f), C McGraynor (1-1), D Wrynn. Subs: C Ward for F O’Shea, T Flynn for W Lowry, F Kelly for E Murray, G Kelly (0-3, 2f) for P Fox, S Oates (0-1f) for C McHugh, M McCarthy (1-0) for B Donnelly.
Dublin – S Currie; S George, R O’Carroll, M Fitzsimons; E Lowndes, B Cullen, D Daly; D O’Mahony, S Carthy (0-1’45); H Dawson, P McMahon, J Whelan (0-1); P Hudson (0-5), K McManamon (0-2), C Costello (0-5, 2f). Subs: E Fanning (0-1) for H Dawson, D Watson (0-1) for K McManamon, K Nolan for M Fitzsimons, P Flynn for S Carthy, C Walsh for D O’Mahony, N McGovern for R O’Carroll (BC).
Just four teams remain in the O’Byrne Cup with current champions Kildare 11/10 to retain the trophy.
DCU who remain unbeaten in the 2014 tournament are priced at 5/1 to repeat their 2012 success as they now go on to face Meath in the semi-finals.
The Royals who overcame Wicklow in Group C on Sunday are priced at 6/4 to lift the cup for the first time since 2006.
UCD are the outsiders of the remaining four teams at 8/1 as they are set to face current champions Kildare in the semi-finals.
Liam Glynn, PR Executive at Boylesports said “Kildare look the team to beat in this year’s O’Byrne Cup and are currently 11/10 to retain the trophy and certainly so far all the money has been for the Lilywhites.”
He added “Meath are hot on their heels at 6/4 to win the tournament and they will be hoping to lift the O’Byrne Cup for the 9th time despite not having won it since 2006.