Goals galore as DCU power into Yoplait O'Connor Cup final

Yoplait O’Connor Cup

DCU Dóchas Éireann 7-14

TU Dublin 2-10

by Ivan Smyth

A barrage of goals in the opening half helped DCU Dóchas Éireann advance to their first Yoplait O’Connor Cup final since 2018 as they downed first time semi-finalists TU Dublin.

The winners’ tigerish defending paved the way for their classy forwards to inflict maximum damage at University of Galway Connacht GAA Air Dome.

TU Dublin edged 0-5 to 0-4 at one stage in the opening half but from there the winners’ experience shone through as they outscored their opponents 5-3 to 0-2 to the break.

Leah Fox moved DCU 1-4 to 0-5 in front and although TU Dublin coped reasonably well with the concession of the first goal, DCU made their move towards the conclusion of the half.

With the gap at three points, DCU plundered four goals without reply to mercilessly put their opponents to the sword.

Tara Needham grabbed the first of the quartet. Then the outstanding Roisin Ennis won a turnover on her own half back line as DCU piled forward. Needham and Kate Kenny combined to set up Fox as she rolled the ball past Roisin O’Reilly in the TU Dublin goal.

DCU forced another turnover deep in TU Dublin territory with Kenny profiting as she advanced through before coolly rolling the ball to the net. There was still time for one more before the break as Needham slipped Fox through before she rattled the net to give DCU a 5-7 to 0-7 half time advantage.

Peter Clarke’s side were able to empty their substitutes’ bench ahead of Saturday’s Yoplait O’Connor Cup final but there was little drop off in intensity. The first score of the second half went to DCU as Clodagh Lohan was played through by Kenny to shoot to the back of the net.

The tireless Anna Rose Kennedy and half time sub Emma Morrissey combined to set up fellow replacement Maria Reilly to palm to the net for DCU’s seventh.

To their credit TU Dublin battled away as Rachel Brennan rifled a penalty to the bottom right corner of the net before producing a rasping effort to the roof of the net moments later but it was DCU who prevailed after an awesome all-round team display.

Scorers – DCU: L Fox 3-0, K Kenny 1-4 (0-1f), T Needham and C Lohan 1-2 each, M Reilly 1-0, R Ennis 0-2, C Darby, E Morrissey, C Banville and A Rattigan 0-1 each.

TU Dublin: R Brennan 2-0 (1-0 pen), A O’Brien 0-6 (5f), C O’Connor 0-2, C Cregg and S Russell 0-1 each

DCU: R Murray, C Dunne, L Lenehan, C Charters, O Nevin, R Sargeant, R Ennis, A R Kennedy, C Darby, C Lohan, A Rattigan, C Finnegan, T Needham, K Kenny, L Fox. Subs: M Reilly for Rattigan (ht), E Morrissey for Finnegan (ht), C Banville for Lohan (35), J Duffy for Darby (38), H Howard for Fox (44).

TU Dublin: R O’Reilly, A Bedford, R Brennan, L Reilly, K Newe, H Byrne, E Gribben, C Cregg, E Young, S Daly, C O’Connor, A Heffernan, S Russell, A McGuignan, A O’Brien. Subs: N McEvoy for Russell (ht), C Price for Heffernan (35), H Davis for Daly (38), K Chambers for Young (43), R Callery for Byrne (43).

Referee: J Murphy (Carlow).

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