Watch the goals: DCU freshers complete League and Cup double in six-goal thriller
DCU completed the Freshers League and Cup double with victory over UCD in an enthralling Independent.ie Dave Billings Cup final at Croke Park today.
Leading by eight points entering the final 10 minutes DCU looked home and hosed, but a remarkable fightback from a gritty UCD side meant an edge-of-the-seat finale.
Daragh Lafferty, who did not deserve to be on the losing side, and Jordan McLoughlin both found the net in the closing stages for UCD but they fell agonisingly short in the end as DCU held their nerve.
Watch the goals below:
It was fitting that this final was played on the hollow turf of Croke Park – the first time a higher educational final has taken place at GAA HQ for 30 years.
Just a stone’s throw from Croker was where Dublin legend Dave Billings grew up and this Cup has been named in honour of him. While there was no fairytale ending for his beloved UCD, the man himself will no doubt be smiling down from the heavens above after dedicating much of his life to college football.
If Mayo are looking for a marquee forward to get them over the final hurdle and deliver an All Ireland SFC title, they may just have one in Brian Reape who bagged 1-06 in a man-of-the-match display for DCU.
Rory Feely. David Brady and Mathew Ruane all starred in the forward line for DCU while in midfield, Ronan Jones was a powerhouse and captain Barry Kerr put in an immense performance at centre-half back.
UCD started brightly and were in front inside the opening minute when Barra McGarry kicked a fine point from distance before Darragh Lafferty added a second with a slick turn and crisp effort over the bar.
UCD were cutting their opponents open at will in the early stages but DCU soon found their feet and any lingering nerves were settled after five minutes.
The impressive Ronan Jones fisted the ball home from close range after a free-flowing attacking move involving Rory Feely and Mathew Ruane who, unselfishly, passed to Jones when he could have scored himself.
It set the scene for DCU as they grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck while Lafferty and the impressive Barry McGinn kept the scoreboard ticking over for UCD.
And it was that duo who combined for UCD’s first goal as McGinn picked the ball up out on the right touchine and launched a high ball into the box and there was Lafferty to fist home.
It was that man Reape, however, who had the final say in the first half as he kicked two successive points to give DCU a two-point lead at half-time, 1-06 to 1-04.
UCD again started the second half with real enthusiasm with Con O’Callaghan, Lafferty and McLoughlin all splitting the posts to pull it back to all square but not for the first time, Reape was to be the thorn in their side as he fired home DCU’s second goal from 20 yards.
A Brace of McGinn points kept UCD in touch before Kildare man Rory Feely found the net for DCU’s third goal to give them an eight-point advantage and that proved decisive as UCD staged their late revival.