Meath bring DCU back down to earth

Home team cruise through to final with 15-point defeat of students at Páirc Tailteann

Cillian O’Sullivan scored two goals for Meath against DCU in the O’Byrne Cup at Páirc Tailteann. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Cillian O’Sullivan scored two goals for Meath against DCU in the O’Byrne Cup at Páirc Tailteann. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.


Seven days after the high of defeating All-Ireland champions Dublin, there was a low for DCU as Meath cruised through to the final with 15 points to spare at Páirc Tailteann. The students’ manager Niall Moyna said: “It was downhill from the throw-in, we are without a few players and lads are preparing for exams but that is not being offered as an excuse.”

An early goal from the Royals’ top scorer Cillian O’Sullivan, who fired to the net after three minutes, set the pattern for the game and it was virtually over as a contest at the break when it was 3-8 to 1-3.

Near full strength
Meath were much nearer to full strength than Dublin’s hand of the previous week and minor of two years ago, O’Sullivan, staked a claim for a league place with two goals in the first half.

The Moynalvey clubman was also taken down for the penalty which Andrew Tormey netted near the quarter-hour mark. O’Sullivan’s second goal came after 20 minutes following a pass from Donal Lenihan.

DCU suffered an early blow with midfielder Tom Flynn being shown a black card after only 10 minutes. Some felt the censure was harsh and while Moyna claimed he did not see the incident, he remarked that his players made more mistakes than the referee Niall Ward from Westmeath.

Full-forward Conor McGraynor grabbed the college side’s first goal on 17 minutes but their woes were added to early in the second period when Conor McHugh blasted a penalty kick wide.

The deficit could have been reduced to 10 points but, boosted by their fourth goal scored by David Bray, the margin stretched out to 18 points. Although DCU netted consolation goals from Jack Brady and McHugh, they were relieved to hear the final whistle.

“It was a good performance and the final total of 4-18 is very satisfying. We are using the O’Byrne Cup to give game time to as many players as possible. It was great to get four games and now we can look forward to a fifth,” said Meath manager Mick O’Dowd.

MEATH: P O’Rourke; D Keogan, M Burke, D Dalton; D Tobin, E Harrington, P Gilsenan (0-1); S O’Rourke, A Tormey (1-1, 1-0 penalty); C O’Sullivan (2-2, 0-2 frees), D Carroll (0-2, one 45), G Reilly (0-1); D McDonagh (0-3), D Bray (1-2), D Lenihan. Subs: M Newman (0-4, two frees, one 45) for Reilly (half-time), B McMahon for Lenihan (50 mins), P McKeever (0-1) for McDonagh (52 mins), C Sheridan for Tormey, C Young for Tobin (both 58 mins), D Larkin (0-1) for O’Rourke (65 mins).
DCU: J Farrelly; W Lowry, C Dunleavy, C Cafferkey; E Murray, D Byrne, , P Dooney; T Flynn, B Donnelly (0-2, one free, one 45); C McHugh (1-3, 0-1 free), P Fox, M Quinn; M McCarthy, C McGraynor (1-0), D Wrynn. Subs: E O’Connor for Flynn (10 mins, black card), G Kelly (0-1, free) for McCarthy (16 mins), K Ward for Lowry (20 mins), E Smith for Fox (25 mins), J Brady (1-0) for Smith (42 mins), F Kelly for Ward (45 mins).
Referee: N Ward (Westmeath).