Dublin knock holders DCU off their perch
Dublin 3-16 DCU 1-11:Dublin produced a sporadically impressive performance in recording their second win in four days when accounting for 2012 winners Dublin City University by 11 points in their O’Byrne Cup encounter at Parnell Park last night.
The winning margin failed to recognise Dublin’s discomfort at times but there was an inherent ability throughout their display to reaffirm their supremacy when a position of dominance was put to question by an understrength DCU side.
Mindful of the heavy workload facing his side, Jim Gavin made seven changes from the side that overcame Carlow last weekend, with Bernard Brogan continuing Gavin’s early-season rotating captain policy.
One of those changes, Darragh Nelson, made an inauspicious start as he allowed Dublin panellist Michael McCarthy far too much time and space to open the scoring for DCU within 40 seconds.
Dublin’s response was impressive, with the lively Paul Hudson combining well with Diarmuid Connolly for the latter to restore parity by the second minute.
A disjointed period of play ensued with both sides guilty of some errant passing on the admittedly slippery Donnycarney surface before Dublin finally hit their stride through a well-taken score from Hudson in the seventh minute.
Shane Carthy was the architect of that score and the All-Ireland minor-winning midfielder from last year was hugely influential as the half progressed, securing a wealth of possession in addition to providing a number of assists over the half.
After Paddy Andrews had extended Dublin’s advantage in the 10th minute, Carthy provided the scoring pass for both Hudson and Brogan to help reflect their dominance on the scoreboard.
Dublin looked to be coasting by the time Hudson landed his third point of the evening midway through the half but a degree of sloppiness permeated their play from that juncture, with Jack McCarron ending a barren spell of 19 minutes for the students with a well-taken free.
Dean Rock narrowed his side’s deficit with a sumptuous point soon after and in the 23rd minute Rock failed to convert a penalty as he blazed over the crossbar after McCarthy had been dragged down by Darren Daly.
Dublin looked to have handed themselves a healthy interval lead when Denis Bastick followed up well to net in the 34th minute after Hudson had been foiled by James Farrelly but further defensive deficiencies in the hosts’ rearguard were punished in interval time as centre-back Michael Quinn palmed to net at the second attempt after an initial save from Shane Supple.
The contest resumed with Paul Flynn making an instant impact by pointing within 20 seconds of his introduction but his inter-county colleagues availed of some ill-discipline in the holders’ defence with two Brogan frees sandwiched by an emphatically converted penalty from Connolly in the 40th minute.
Of concern to Gavin was the manner in which Dublin ceded territory from that point, with DCU’s Rock maintaining the positive impression enhanced in Ballymun Kickhams’ county and provincial successes by kicking a brace of casual points in quick reply.
However, despite reducing their arrears to just two points by the 50th minute, in addition to spurning two presentable goal-scoring chances, the students were unable to gain terms as Dublin pushed clear thanks to a brace of frees from substitute Robbie McCarthy.
The match meandered to its inevitable conclusion as Dublin added gloss to the final scoreline through late points from Gary Sweeney, Connolly and Brogan, with an injury-time goal from Kevin McManamon confirming the holders’ exit from the tournament, with the dismissal of Willie Lowry a disappointing footnote to their evening.