| 5.6°C Dublin

Rock-solid DCU keep Wicklow at bay

Dean Rock, a son of former Dublin great Barney, showed that he is a chip off the old block as he pointed DCU into the second round of the O'Byrne Cup at Baltinglass.

The students are defending the title and, while they only beat Wicklow by a point in the end, they lined out without eight injured players and also had two players sent off yesterday.

Wicklow, with Harry Murphy in charge for the first time, found themselves chasing the game after 12 minutes when trailing by five points as Rock chipped over two points, the first from a free, to add to scores by David Kelly, Jack Brady and star wing-back Jonathan Cooper. The home defence had a torrid opening spell and Rock was adding to their discomfort on his way to a tally of nine points.

Wicklow settled as James Stafford started winning vital ball in midfield and, after being six points adrift after 20 minutes (0-9 to 0-3), they stormed back into the match with a Joey Kelly goal.

DCU were reduced to 14 men when Anthony McFadden picked up a red card. Even though playing against the wind, Wicklow now had their opponents under pressure and Tony Hannon and Seanie Furlong put the home side ahead 1-7 to 0-9 after 31 minutes. But it was DCU who finished the half with a flourish and scores by Gary Sweeney, Rock, and Eoghan O'Gara sent the students in at half-time leading by 0-13 to 1-7.

Wicklow could not break DCU's resolve on the restart and at the end of the third quarter the winners were ahead by 0-16 to 1-11. Then, on 60 minutes, Cooper picked up a second yellow. The Students were down to 13, but would not wilt in the face of a late Wicklow burst.

Scorers -- DCU: D Rock 0-9 (6f), J Cooper, J Brady 0-3 each, D Kelly, G Sweeney, E O'Gara 0-1 each. Wicklow: J Kelly 1-2 (1f), S Furlong 0-5 (3f), T Hannon, N Mernagh 0-2 each, A O'Malley, B Cullen, A Merriman 0-1 each.

DCU -- R Hennelly; L Bree, P McMahon, E Culligan; C Begley, J McCarthy, J Cooper; F O'Shea, M McElhinney; G Sweeney, D Rock, A MacFadden; J Brady, E O'Gara, D Kelly. Subs: M Boyle for R Hennelly, N Collins for P McMahon, J McEnaney for F O'Shea.

Wicklow -- J Flynn; A Byrne, J Bolger, C Rossiter; P Byrne, R Finn, N Gaffney; J Stafford, A Merriman; N Mernagh, A O'Malley, D O'Sullivan; J Kelly, S Furlong, T Hannon. Subs: D Healy for P Byrne, P Burke for D O'Sullivan, B Cullen for A Byrne, H Mangan for T Hannon, P Cronin for J Kelly.

Ref -- F Barry (Kildare)

Irish Independent