TWO fortuitous second-half goals helped DCU advance to the semi-final stages of the O'Byrne Cup following a five-point victory over Longford yesterday.
The students, however, didn't get it all their own way during this entertaining contest at the Ballymahon venue.
Despite falling behind to an early second-half goal, Glen Ryan's Longford enjoyed the lion's share of possession after the restart and held a narrow one-point lead at the midway juncture. No doubt, Ryan and his backroom staff will be happy with Sean McCormack's performance. He finished the contest with eight points to his name.
The visitors made all the right shapes in the opening exchanges and fired over three unanswered points with David Kelly, Dean Rock and Gary Sweeney all finding the target. Their lack of discipline, however, particularly inside their own half, proved to be their Achilles heel, with four of Longford's half-time tally coming from the placed ball.
The Midlanders came close to finding the game's first goal on the brink of half-time. A tidy backheel pass by former Aussie Rules player Michael Quinn fed the ball into Colm Smith, but Smith's low piercing shot was duly stopped by the DCU's Michael Boyle.
After the break, DCU broke the deadlock when they bagged their first goal in the 38th minute. Martin McElhinney's initial shot looked to be going over the bar, but somehow curled off the upright and fell down into the path of Jack Brady, who palmed into the roof of the Longford net.
Longford refused to buckle and restored order soon after when they hit four points on the trot; but DCU never panicked and rallied back with an impressive 1-4 in the final third with Donal Smith getting their second goal to wrap up the match on 55 minutes.
SCORERS -- DCU: J Brady 1-3, D Smith 1-0, G Sweeney, D Rock (2f) 0-2 each ,C Begley, F O Curraoin, F O'Shea, D Kelly 0-1 each. Longford: S McCormack 0-8 (4f), B Kavanagh 0-2, P Kelly, P Brady 0-1 each.
DCU -- M Boyle; L Bree, P McMahon, E Culligan; C Begley, J McCarthy, J Cooper; F O Curraoin, M McElhinney; G Sweeney, D Rock, F O'Shea; J Brady, J McEneaney, D Kelly. Subs: D Smith for McEneaney (23), P Flynn for O'Shea (h-t), C Diamond for Rock (50), P Dooney for Smith (58), D Keenan for McElhinney (70).
LONGFORD -- J McKenna; P Foy, F Battrim, D Reilly; C Smyth, S Mulligan, P Brady; B McElvaney, J Keegan; D Bardon, M Quinn, P Kelly; F McGee, S McCormack, B Kavanagh. Subs: JJ Matthews for McGee (21), E Williams for Brady (50), J McGivney for Kelly (55), K Diffley for Keegan (55).
REF -- D Maher (Westmeath).