Saturday 24 February 2018

Magician Murphy leaves 13-man UCD spellbound


Michael Murphy scores a point from a free for DCU at St Clare’s in Ballymun
Michael Murphy scores a point from a free for DCU at St Clare’s in Ballymun

ANOTHER day in the life of Michael Murphy and another clip for his highlight reel, which is rapidly developing into a feature-length show.

Five minutes into the second half, with DCU two points to the good – 1-2 to 0-3 – Murphy picked up possession on the right wing.

The Donegal ace shaped to shoot, but sensed Rory O'Carroll thundering in and tipped the ball away from the Dublin full-back's diving block. He gathered possession again and clipped over with the outside of his boot in difficult conditions.

Did he mean it? The dummy solo didn't come off exactly as he would have liked, but it still showed a remarkable calmness in possession and he followed it up with a difficult finish in taxing conditions.

With the form the Glenswilly man is in at the moment, it's hard not to give him the benefit of the doubt.

"It was just one those things that go for you sometimes," he demurred afterwards.

For the second week in a row, the reigning champions played against the conditions in the first half and pulled away on the restart.

Their first-half lead was largely down to Murphy's penalty, which he won on 24 minutes, but whether O'Carroll fouled him and whether he was inside the area were both up for debate. Murphy fired home, despite UCD goalkeeper Eoghan Keogh getting something on his effort.

Six first-half wides didn't help the UCD cause, but on the restart their discipline let them down as Mayo's Kevin McLoughlin picked up a second yellow card after an off-the-ball incident just 10 minutes into the second half.

UCD were only trailing by three points at this stage, but when Donie Kingston followed five minutes later for a straight red card after lashing out at Donal Smyth, the game was up.

Just to ensure their progress, Murphy combined with Flynn to flash home a brilliant goal a minute later and extended UCD's wait for a first Sigerson cup since 1996 for at least one more year.

DCU head into the semi-finals chasing a third title in four years. They face DIT – the second favourites for the competition – in the last four and,on this evidence, Niall Moyna's team will be hard to stop, despite some absentees.

DCU had already lost Michael Boyle and Aidan Walsh in the boardroom, while Moyna was also without the Ballymun Kickhams contingent of James McCarthy, Dean Rock and Davy Byrne ahead of their All-Ireland club SFC semi-final tomorrow.

SCORERS – DCU: M Murphy 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-3f), P Flynn 1-1, P Ryan, D Smith, C McGuinness, C McGraynor, B Donnelly 0-1 each. UCD: D Kingston 0-3 (2f), N Murray, N Kilroy, S Cadden 0-1 each.

DCU – J Farrelly; W Lowry, J Cooper, C Boyle; C Daly, J Brady, M Quinn; F O Curraoin, P O'Hanlon; P Flynn, C McGuinness, A McFadden; D Smith, M Murphy, P Ryan. Subs: M McCarthy for Ryan (h-t), G Sweeney for McFadden (h-t), B Donnelly for O'Hanlon (46), C McGraynor for Flynn (54), E Doherty for Quinn (57).

UCD – E Keogh; J Hayes, R O'Carroll, M Furlong; L Keaney, C Lenehan, D Drake; J Heslin, C Dias; N Murray, D Larkin, N Kilroy; K McLoughlin, P Cahillane, D Kingston. Subs: R Basquel for Larkin (h-t), S Cadden for Cahillane (47), C Boyle for Kilroy (54).

Ref – D Gough (Meath)

Irish Independent

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