UCD 0-13 Athlone IT 0-4
UCD’s Sigerson Cup campaign began with a routine nine point victory over a tenacious but limited Athlone IT side on a typically frosty and blustery night in Belfield. It was a game which the College never looked like losing without excelling beyond third gear, treat eventually overwhelming the Westmeath opponents with resilient defending and clinical free taking.
It took a while for UCD to get into their stride as both teams battled to stake a foothold in the contest with a gale force wind blowing across the field. Conor Carty and Donie Kingston pointed from two close range frees to settle the Belfield nerves while a plucky but nervy Athlone spurned two kickable dead balls in the first quarter. Their main weapon was the roaming wing forward Anton O’Sullivan, however, with Colm Murphy dominant at midfield and Rory O’Carroll leading the line well at centre back, UCD stifled his threat and began to control proceedings. Further scores from Carty and Kingston plus points from open play through Alan Giles and playmaker Kevin Dyas put the College 0-7 to 0-3 ahead at the half, the Athlone scores coming from James Dolan, Paul Bannon and Eugene Clarke.
Two great scores from open play in the first ten minutes of the second half put the game to bed. Colm Murphy and Shane Redmond dispatched opportunities after great counter attacking and patience in the final third. With UCD in cruise control, Alan Giles treated himself to a further two points from play while substitute Lorcan Smyth demonstrated the Belfield side’s strength in depth with two fine frees. Athlone’s only score came from some quick thinking from substitute Danny McGovern from a dead ball.
Speaking after the game, Captain Peter Kelly acknowledged that greater tests await the Students with a trip to Maynooth next week- “The game went to plan. The defence stood firm and gave Athlone limited opportunities while midfield dominated possession and gave the forwards plenty of chances. Maynooth will be a far sterner test as they have been knocking at the door in the Sigerson for the last couple of years with much the same team. We will have to be at our best to beat them but are more than capable.”
UCD team- M McGinley, J Hayes, C Forde, P Kelly (captain), C Barrett, R O’Carroll, S Redmond (0-1), C Murphy (0-1), M Coughlan, C Carty (0-2, 2 frees), K Dyas (0-1), C Dias, A Giles(0-4), D Kingston (0-2, 2 frees), D Larkin.
UCD Subs- L Smyth (0-2, 2 frees) for D Larkin (45), R Mallon for C Carty (53), L Cawley for C Dias (55), L Keaney for R O’Carroll (57)
Subs not used- E Keogh, D Egan, C Devlin, C Downey, M Furlong, D Maguire, C McConnell, M O’Hanlon, B Hanamy, N Murray, A Mulligan, M Durcan, M Dineen, P O’Hara
Athlone IT- G Connaughton, R Dunne, C Duignan, D Maleady, A Rowan, M McCallon, T Rahill, D Cash, P Bannon (0-1), E Clarke (0-1), J Dolan (0-1), A O’Sullivan, A Caul, F Burke, D Egan
Athlone Subs- D McGovern (0-1) for A Caul (39)
Referee- M Deegan (Laois)
In other UCD GAA news, the Fresher’s Footballers bowed out of the Fresher’s Championship after an extra time defeat to Queens at Belfield on a scoreline of 0-12 to 1-12 while the Camogs recored a 2-14 to 2-8 victory over UUJ in the second round of the Ashbourne Cup.
Conall Devlin and Morgan O’Sullivan