defending champions DCU sent out a warning yesterday that they're deadly serious about retaining the trophy.
They beat a competent St Mary's Belfast side with little fuss to qualify for the quarter-finals, and they clearly had another couple of gears to call upon if needed.
By the fifth minute David Kelly and Michael Lyng had knocked over fine points. St Mary's did narrow the gap to 0-3 to 0-2, but that's the closest they'd get all day.
A Colm Begley goal after 15 minutes put the home team 1-4 to 0-2 ahead and four more points before the break, three of them frees from Donegal star Michael Murphy, gave DCU a half-time lead of 1-8 to 0-3.
There was friction on the sideline all day, and it spilled onto the field in the second half as DCU's David O'Gara and Ruairi Keenan of St Mary's were red-carded in quick succession.
The reduction in numbers only made DCU's dominance more prominent, and with Dublin's Paul Flynn in particular showing up well they pulled further away.
A goal from the lively Kelly put them 13 points up, and though Peter Harte pulled back a late penalty, there was no disguising DCU's superiority.
SCORERS -- DCU: D Kelly 1-2, C Begley 1-0, M Murphy 0-3 (3f), M McElhinney, P Flynn 0-2 each, S Ormsby, J McCarthy, D O'Gara, M Lyng, P Andrews 0-1 each. St Mary's: P Harte 1-1 (1-0 pen), K Mossey 0-2 (1f), D Canavan, B Herron (f) 0-1 each.
DCU -- R Hennelly; K Nolan, K Gavin, S Ormsby; J McCarthy, B Cullen, C Begley; M McElhinney, N McAdam; D O'Gara, M Lyng, P Flynn; P Andrews, M Murphy, D Kelly. Subs: N Collins for B Cullen (38), C McGuinness for P Andrews (47), C Rafferty for M Murphy (51), C Cregg for M Lyng (55), D Keenan for J McCarthy 57.
St Mary's -- T Harney; M Slane, P Martin, E McArdle; C Campbell, B Canavan, S O'Neill; C Doyle, M McKenna; B Herron, K Mossey, P Harte; J Gilmore, K Connolly, R Keenan. Subs: O MacOmlair for J Gilmore (47), S McKenna for B Herron (43), D Canavan for K Connolly (55).
Ref --P Fox (Westmeath).