Jack McCaffrey shines for UCD as makeshift Dublin team suffer first defeat in 12 months
UCD 2-9 Dublin 1-10
TECHNICALLY this was Dublin’s first loss in 359 days.
But arriving, as it did last night in Parnell Park against UCD, from a team featuring no-one who played in either of last year’s All-Ireland finals, managed by someone not currently part of Jim Gavin’s backroom team, it came with an asterisk.
Predictions that this O’Byrne Cup team made up of high-performing club and recent county underage players not currently holidaying with the Sam Maguire-winning panel in Jamaica might claim the one available cup not currently held by Dublin seem premature now.
UCD were the more cohesive tonight. A win against DCU next Sunday and they will claim the semi-final spot available from Group 1.
All eyes in Parnell Park were trained closely to Jack McCaffrey.
Having completed a half of football for UCD last week in Gorey, he managed the full 76 minutes last night at left half-back.
Late in the first half, he stopped an almost certain Dublin goal at a time when his county could desperately have done with one, denying the pacy Gary Sweeney.
Going forward, McCaffrey hovered on the periphery and made ground with almost every ball carry.
He kicked a late point on the run and tipped an even later Paul Hudson free over the bar when a goal would have salvaged a draw for Dublin.
Playing into a stiff wind in Donnycarney, Paul Clarke’s experimental team took 31 minutes to register their opening score. By the time Paul Hudson split the posts, Dublin had already kicked seven wides. UCD had scored 1-6, their goal coming from Tom Hayes who punished Evan Comerford’s error.
Dublin were laboured, though Maitias MacDonncha scored a delicious, curled goal late in the half.
With the wind in the second-half, they made a game of it, with Ross Hazley making a strong impression and scoring two points, but just as they had UCD pegged back to a point, substitute Seán Meade squeezed a goal past Comerford.
SCORERS – UCD: E Lowry 0-5 (4f), T Hayes, S Meade 1-0 each, J McCaffrey, S Mullooly, L Moran, C McCarthy. DUBLIN: P Hudson 0-3 (1f), M MacDoncha 1-0, R Hazley, S Cunningham (1f) 0-2 each, N Scully, G Ivory, C Reddin (f) 0-1 each.
UCD: C Honan; E Murchan. D Maguire, P Healy; N McInerney, J McCaffrey, J Feehan; G Farrell, A McDonnell; S Mullooly, L Moran, E Wallace; E Lowry, C McCarthy, T Hayes. Subs: C Cunningham for Feehan (h-t), S Meade for Mullooly (h-t), B McGinn for McCarthy (h-t), T Maher for Honan (53), J Gillen for Farrell (53), C Nolan for Moran (53), R Cleary for Murchan (53), P Fagan for McDonnell (63), A Hassett for Healy (67).
DUBLIN: E Comerford; J Smith, E O’Brien, E McGowan; N Scully, C Reddin, R Gaughan; J Whelan, R Deegan; G Sweeney, M MacDonncha, N Walsh; P Hudson, M Deegan, S Cunningham. Subs: R Hazley for Whelan (35, BC), G Ivory for Hudson (h-t), R O’Brien for Walsh (45), Walsh for M Deegan (47), T Shields for Sweeney (47), Sweeney for MacDonncha (59), S Newcombe for R Deegan (59), Hudson for Cunningham (63).
REF – C Dwyer (Offaly)