DCU storm into Fitzgibbon Cup decider
Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup Semi-Final
DCU DOCHAS EIREANN 2-20 DIT 1-12
By John Fallon at Parnell Park
DCU Dochas Eireann advanced to their first Electric Ireland Fitzgibbon Cup final when they produced a rock solid performance at Parnell Park to see off the challenge of their Dublin neighbours who were also hoping to reach their first decider.
DCU will now hope to bring the Fitzgibbon Cup back to the capital for the first time since UCD were successful in 2001 when they take on UL in the final at Mallow on Saturday week.
DCU held an edge in the opening half and led by 1-7 to 0-7 at the end of a free-flowing opening half.
It took DCU less than two minutes to make a big impact when Donal Burke raced through to shoot home a good goal.
Niall O’Brien has been central to DIT’s campiagn and the Westmeath player responded with a pointed free and one from play.
But these scores were cancelled at the other end as Patrick Curran opened his account with a good point and John Donnelly added another to leave it 1-2 to 0-2 after eight minutes.
Neither side held back in the exchanges and O’Brien cut the gap to the minimum with a couple of frees, before Burke’s first free of the night left DCU ahead by 1-3 to 0-4 at the end of a lively opening quarter.
DIT goalkeeper Sean Brennan produced a good save to deny John Donnelly and he also had to be sharp to deal with a goal effort late in the half from Burke.
But DCU pulled away to lead by 1-6 to 0-4 after 22 minutes thanks to another couple of frees from Burke and a second point of the night from Waterford’s Patrick Curran.
Once again it was O’Brien who hauled DIT back into the contest when he tapped over a couple of free and when Burke pointed a 65 after he was denied a goal by Brennan, O’Brien cut the gap to a goal at the break with a free from 20 metres.
DCU enjoyed a big start to the second-half and posted three points on the board in just over two and a half minutes as Donnelly, Fergal Whitely and Burke hit the target.
DIT needed to respond but it was DCU who pushed on and two more frees from Burke and another effort from play from Donnelly made1-13 to 0-7 after 38 minutes.
Derek McNicholas became the first player other than his Westmeath colleague O’Brien to score when he landed a good effort from distance after 39 minutes,
However, DCU were determined to avoid a tight finish and they sealed the win when Peter Hogan got through for their second goal.
Points quickly followed from Paul Kelly and Fergal Whitely as they opened up a 2-15 to 0-8 lead going into the final quarter.
There was no way back for DIT but, true to form, they never gave up and O’Brien gave them a glimmer of hope with a goal five minutes from time but DCU held on for a deserved success.
Scorers for DCU: Donal Burke 1-10 (7fs, 265s), Peter Hogan 1-0, John Donnelly 0-3, Joe O’Connor 0-2, Patrick Curran 0-2, Fergal Whitely 0-2, Paul Kelly 0-1.
Scorers for DIT: Niall O’Brien 1-9 (7fs), Derek McNicholas 0-3 (1f).
DCU DOCHAS EIREANN: Oisin Foley (Wexford); Paul O’Dea (Dublin), Eoghan O’Donnell (Dublin), Conor McSweeney (Limerick); Aaron Maddock (Wexford), Conor Delaney (Kilkenny), Paudie Foley (Wexford); Darren Mullen (Kilkenny), Joe O’Connor (Wexford); Conor Burke (Dublin),Killian Doyle (Westmeath), Donal Burke (Dublin); John Donnelly (Kilkenny), Rian McBride (Dublin), Patrick Curran (Waterford).
Subs: Fergal Whitely (Dublin) for O’Dea (16), Peter Hogan (Waterford) for C Burke (30), Daire Grey (Dublin) for Doyle (40), Paul Kelly (Dublin) for McBride (43).
DIT: Sean Brennan (Dublin); Warren Kavanagh (Wicklow), Thomas Doyle (Westmeath), Phillip Cass (Kilkenny); Liam Blanchfield (Kilkenny), Derek McNicholas (Westmeath), Luke Kelly (Dublin); Justin Cahill (Tipperary), Eoghan Dunne (Wexford); Fiontan McGibb (Dublin), Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher (Tipperary), Niall Mitchell (Westmeath); Niall O’Brien (Westmeath), Robbie Greville (Westmeath), Conor Ryan (Dublin).
Subs: Niall Walsh (Kilkenny) for Greville (36), Joe Kelly (Kilkenny) for Cass (46), Cian O’Donoghue (Kilkenny) for Ryan (53), Jonathan McGurk for Cahill (57).
REFEREE: Alan Kelly (Galway).