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Maguire's bright sparks on fire!

The busy Dun Laoghaire boys finally got their Colleges FAI Bob Eustace Cup campaign under way at Irishtown with a hard fought first round win over a battling St Patricks College Carlow.

Its been a hectic spell of games in a marvellous season for Brendan Maguires's charges who have also managed to reach this weeks Colleges and Universities League Division Two final.

A major achievement for this side who are set to face IT Blanchardstown second string in the decider at St Kevins Boys ground on Wednesday next at 2.30.

Maguire's main concern prior to the St Pats game was to keep his side focused on the cup tie but he needn't have worried as straight from the start they took the initiative.

A goal in the first twenty minutes settled them down and although Carlow levelled on 35 minutes following a well worked indirect free, full back Niall O'Rourke's long range drive on the stroke of half time had the Dun Laoghaire boys ahead once again.

The early part of the second half proved to be a decisive period of the game with the homesters grabbing a third five minutes in and St Pats staying in touch with their second shortly after.

Top scorer Sean Tobin struck for Dun Laoghaire on 20 minutes finishing off a fine move that involved centre back Darren Nolan and right winger John Byrne.

Danny Dixon blasted home the equaliser on 35 minutes from Dan Brennan's indirect free in the box after the Dun Laoghaire 'keeper Chris Howard was rightly penalised by referee Brian Treacy for a second pick up of the ball.

O'Rourke's pile driver from 30 yards gave Aaron Kelly in the St Pats goal little chance restored the lead a minute before the break.

John Byrne then made it 3-1 just after the interval when he beat Kelly with a fine finish from an Ethan Doyle left wing cross.

But full credit to this Carlow side who refused to buckle and hit back minutes later to close the gap.Johnny Dowling claimed the goal steering home from close range after Dixon saw his shot blocked.

Despite a couple of half chances St Pats could'nt draw level and it was no surprise when Dun Laoghaire pulled further ahead with two more strikes.

Simon Grehan hit the first showing excellent skill to control Luke Murphy's ball into the box and beat Kelly.

Later Doyle's fine individual effort put the gloss on the win before Terry Behan slammed home St Pats third minutes from the finish.

So Maguire's dream of a League and Cup double still lives on for another week.

SENIOR COLLEGE DUN LAOGHAIRE: Chris Howard, Niall O'Rourke, Ryan Kane, Conor Donnelly, Darren Nolan, Fergus McCarthy, John Byrne, Luke Murphy, Sean Tobin, Simon Grehan, Ethan Doyle. Subs: James Mooney (for Murphy 67), Shane Harrigan (for Grehan 67), Paul McBride (for Tobin 80), Mark Sheridan, Rob Lee.

ST PARTICK'S COLLEGE CARLOW: Aaron Kelly, Terry Behan, Philip Vesey, Mick Doyle, Paul Brophy, Johnny Dowling, Dan Brennan, Keith Staunton, Sean Byrne, Danny Dixon, Joe Farrelly. Subs:Jason Lawlor (for Staunton ht), Graham O'Connell (for Vesey 71).

Referee: Brian Treacy (Dublin).

All roads will lead to Tolka Park on Wednesday Night (7.30) when keen Dublin rivals UCD and DIT face each other in the Colleges and Universities Premier League decider.

The Belfield side with several players from last season's League of Ireland promotion winning side are twice winners of the title in the past three seasons and have been in fine form hitting 31 goals and conceding only twice in their six games unbeated run to the final.

While DIT who are making their first ever Premier League Final appearance have also been impressive hitting 17 goals and conceding two

.One of those was in their earlier league meeting with UCD at Grangegorman which finished one apiece.

DIT will hope to include Stephen Roche in their side and the influential striker who ironically is a member of the UCD League of Ireland squad is sure to have mixed feelings as he faces many of his Belfield teammates.

Earlier in the day Senior College Dun Laoghaire will take on IT Blanchardstown 'B' side in the Division Two Final at St Kevins Boys ground, Shanowen Road (2.30).

While on Thursday at Tullamore FC (7.30) Mary Immaculate College Limerick managed by Wexford Youth's coach Noel O'Connor and the only side from outside the Greater Dublin area to reach the finals bid for their first title when they take on Sallynoggin College in the Division One decider.

UCD Superleague League Cup Draw: Just Jeff v Marsh's Money Back Specials, Mon 1st March KO 7pm Astro 1; Posh Town Boys v Cunning Stunts Sat 27th Feb KO 2.30 pm Astro 2; V Adventures v Ex Offenders Sun 28th Feb KO 2pm Astro 2;

AC Alittlesilheutoofmilan v Los Playeros Sat 27th Feb KO 10 am Astro 2.


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