Wednesday 21 February 2018

Jack McCaffrey shines as powerful UCD surge past GMIT

UCD 1-19 GMIT 1-9

Stephen Burke, GMIT, in action against John Heslin, UCD
Stephen Burke, GMIT, in action against John Heslin, UCD
Patrick Reilly, UCD, in action against Shane O'Malley, GMIT
Jack McCaffrey, UCD, makes his way to the pitch ahead of the game

UCD breezed past GMIT at Belfield to set up a last-four meeting with Dublin rivals DCU.

Jack McCaffrey and John Heslin were once again outstanding and on this form UCD are justified favourites to win a first title in 19 years.

Despite the significant absence of Wexford's Matthew O'Hanlon from midfield, last year's semi-finalists never looked in any danger, and the game was all but over at the break, with John Divilly's side leading 1-11 to 1-2.

Dublin star McCaffrey again started at centre-forward, and GMIT simply couldn't deal with his speed and incision. He finished with two points from play but his destructive runs created havoc.

Westmeath's Heslin kicked six points, while Kildare's Niall Kelly scored four points, all from play.

Heslin set the tone for the home side in the 10th minute with a soaring point from 45 metres off his weaker left foot and four minutes later a lightning interchange involving Alan O'Muruchu, McCaffrey and Ryan Basquel left Mark Hughes finishing to an empty net.

That put eight points between the sides just 14 minutes in and although Andy Glennon fisted a goal three minutes later after being picked out by Niall Darby, it already looked a consolation.

Darby was a source of danger to the UCD defence with some energetic runs. He finished with two points from play but the penalty he blazed over the bar with five minutes left summed up GMIT's frustration.

UCD conceded six points in the last 11 minutes but that was the only blot on an otherwise excellent performance.

Scorers - UCD: J Heslin 0-6 (4fs), N Kelly 0-4, M Hughes 1-0, B Fenton, J McCaffrey, R Basquel 0-2 each, S Kilcoyne, S O'Dea, C Sheridan 0-1 each. GMIT: A Glennon 1-0, A Meenaghan (3fs), N Darby (1 pen) 0-3 each, C Donoghue, S Mellett, K Nally 0-1 each.

UCD - E Keogh; R Wylie, D Byrne, M O'Cathalain; P Harnan, C Mulally; A O'Muruchu; J Heslin, C Sheridan; B Fenton, J McCaffrey, E Nolan; R Basquel, M Hughes, N Kelly. Subs: S Kilcoyne for Hughes (ht), S O'Dea for O'Cathalain (ht), P Reilly for Sheridan (39), C Lenehan for Nolan (39), R Carr for McCaffrey (55), E O'Byrne for Basquel (55).

GMIT - C Nolan; S O'Malley, B O'Farrell, D Moran; E Egan, S Burke, C Donoghue; P Holloway, M O'Brien; N Darby, S Mellett, F Durkan; K Nally, A Glennon, A Meenaghan. Subs: M Shaughnessy for Glennon (39), J Madden for Mellett (49).

REF - D Gough (Meath)

Irish Independent

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