Rock steadies ship to steer DCU over line
DCU 0-11 Cork IT 0-8
The sure and steady boot of Dean Rock proved to be the difference as DCU just about got the better of Cork IT in a highly competitive first-round clash in Glasnevin yesterday.
The young Dubliner, son of Barney, proved he's a chip off the old block. He kicked six points, three of them from play, and over the course of the hour stood out as the classiest footballer on the pitch amongst impressive company.
DCU were warmly fancied to win this one without too much stress, but they had to scrap all the way for the spoils against a Cork IT team that didn't have nearly as many big names but were superbly drilled and played a hard, fast and organised brand of football.
They were the better team for most of the first half and led by 0-4 to 0-2 after 18 minutes, thanks mainly to the sharp finishing of livewire corner-forward Donal Hodnett, who clipped over two fine points.
A Rock point brought DCU level by the break -- 0-5 apiece -- but they were slower out of the blocks again in the second half as Cork IT dominated territory and possession despite playing against the elements.
Centre-forward and captain Brian O'Regan landed the first point of the half and 14 minutes of the second period had elapsed before DCU final found an equaliser through Rock.
He put the home team ahead shortly afterwards, but Cork IT came roaring back when Hodnett slung over a magnificent free.
DCU gradually warmed to the task, though, and at the end a combination of the cutting edge that Rock provided, the sterling defending of men like James McCarthy, Johnny Cooper, Kieran Gavin and Philly McMahon, and the stiff second-half breeze just about saw them over the line.
They had to overcome some adversity on the way too -- their full-forward and Dublin county senior, Eoghan O'Gara, was given his marching orders for a second yellow card with 10 minutes to play and DCU led by just a point.
Being reduced to 14 men only seemed to inspire the Dubliners to greater heights, though, and in the final few minutes points from Rock and Cooper made the win safe.
Scorers -- DCU: D Rock 0-6 (3f), J Cooper, J Brady, P Flynn, F O'Shea, D Keenan 0-1 each. Cork IT: D Hodnett 0-3 (2f), J O'Connor 0-2 (1f), H Curran, C Flemming, B O'Regan 0-1 each.
DCU -- M Boyle (Donegal); P McMahon (Dublin), K Gavin (Westmeath), E Culligan (Dublin); N Collins (Roscommon), J Cooper (Dublin), J McCarthy (Dublin); F O'Curraoin (Galway), C Begley (Laois); P Flynn (Dublin), D Rock (Dublin), F O'Shea (Cork); J Brady (Cavan), E O'Gara (Dublin), G Sweeney (Dublin). Subs: A McFadden (Donegal) for F O'Shea (h-t), D Keenan (Roscommon) for G Sweeney (34).
Cork IT -- B Kelly (Kerry); P Kilkenny (Kerry), M Griffin (Kerry), N Galvin (Cork); P Daly (Cork), D O'Sullivan (Kerry), B McGuire (Kerry); R O'Sullivan (Cork), S O'Donoghue (Cork); D Leahy (Tipperary), B O'Regan (Cork), J O'Connor (Cork); K Hallissey (Cork), H Curran (Cork), D Hodnett (Cork). Subs: J Cronin (Cork) for D Leahy (44), C Flemming (Cork) for J O'Connor (52), B O'Sullivan (Kerry) for S O'Donoghue (54).
REF -- P Hughes (Armagh)