UCD bowed out of the O’Byrne Cup last Sunday with a crushing 5-17 to 2-11 defeat away to Kildare. Despite threatening to reverse the Lillywhites’ lead mid-way through the first-half, the Students failed to stay with the defending champions beyond the first 35 minutes. In the end they were outclassed by a fitter, stronger, and more prolific side.
The game began at a frantic pace with the scoreboard reading 1-4 to 1-1 in favour of Kildare after just ten minutes. It was Kildare who opened the scoring with Podge Fogarty fielding Darroch Mulhall’s cross-field ball before turning and firing over the opener from close range. Paddy Brophy added to his tally a minute later before Eoghan O’Flaherty tapped over to give Kildare a three-point cushion. Paul Mannion then registered the Students’ first after five minutes with a close range free.
Soon after, UCD were to take the lead courtesy of a John Heslin goal after the Westmeath man found himself on the end of a sweeping move involving Ryan Basquell and Mark Hughes. Kildare weren’t slow in returning the favour with Cathal McNally punching the ball home from close range.
Indeed it was McNally who started the move by clipping the ball into the path of Paddy Brophy. He then embarked on a mazy run before hand-passing across the square to leave McNally with the simplest of finishes.
Scores from Sean Hurley and Eoghan O’Flaherty in addition to a Darroch Mulhall brace saw Kildare tag on three points without reply to leave the score 1-7 to 1-1. Subsequently the tide of the game began to change, albeit temporarily.
A ten-minute spell followed whereby both sides exchanged points to leave the hosts with 1-8 to 1-4 advantage before UCD narrowed Kildare’s lead to a single point courtesy of a well-worked move that saw Ryan Basquell raise a green flag at the town end of St. Conleth’s Park. The opposition’s raising of a green flag seemed to be exactly the thing to spark Jason Ryan’s charges into life with them again responding to a UCD goal with one of their own.
This time Podge Fogarty was the scorer, giving Eoghan Keogh no chance in the UCD goal after being picked out by Paddy Brophy’s exquisite cross-field pass. With the UCD midfield duo of John Heslin and Con Sheridan beginning to assert their influence on the game, the students racked up three points without reply via Brian Fenton and a brace from Heslin himself to narrow the margin to one point.
Kildare made sure their lead wasn’t so slender at the interval with Fogarty grabbing his second goal after being teed up by Tommy Moolick and Paddy Brophy pointing from a narrow angle to leave the score 3-8 to 2-7 at half-time.
The home side started the second half in the same vein as they ended the first with Gary White hitting a sublime 40-yard effort after a move that started with Moolick winning the throw-in.
O’Flaherty and the menacing Fogarty added two more points to the Short Grass County men’s tally before UCD opened their second half account through John Heslin who twisted and turned before splitting the posts with his right boot.
Following a Darroch Mullhall pointed free for Kildare, the Students hit two on the trot with Mark Hughes curling the ball over the bar and substitute Con Downey tapping over from the 21 yards after bursting onto Dublin star Paul Mannion’s hand-pass. Subsequently, the Lilywhites were to increase their lead by five to 4-13 to 2-10 with Keith Cribbin and Eoghan O’Flaherty pointing either side of Padraig Fogarty sealing his hat-trick after fielding Brophy’s pin-point diagonal pass.
John Heslin, without a doubt UCD’s most impressive performer on the day, got the university outfit’s final score of the game with a pointed free after substitute Simon Cadden was adjudged to have been fouled. With UCD legs tiring, Kildare pressed home their already substantial advantage even further.
Substitute James Gately got his name on the score sheet for the hosts before O’Flaherty tapped over another free from twenty one yards just two minutes later. On a day when the St Laurence’s clubman was undoubtedly the star of the show, it was befitting that Padraig Fogarty got the last two scores of the game.
Following a point from the narrowest of angles, Fogarty put the icing on the cake by palming the ball to net after being teed up by teammate James Gately to give himself a final tally of 4-3 and leave the final score at 5-17 to 2-11 in favour of Kildare.
Although UCD will be disappointed by the extent of their losing margin, they can reflect on a respectable O’Byrne Cup showing in 2014 following victories over Wexford and Laois.
With a number of significant O’Byrne Cup challenges against inter-county sides under their belt, John Divilly’s charges can now look ahead to the Sigerson Cup opener away to Athlone IT on the 28th of January feeling sufficiently prepared to improve on last year’s feeble quarter-final exit at the hands of fellow Dubliners DCU.
Kildare: Shane Connolly; Mick O’Grady, Mick Foley, Hugh McGrillen; David Hyland, Fergal Conway, Emmet Bolton; Tommy Moolick, Gary White; Cathal McNally, Eoghan O’Flaherty, Paul Cribbin; Paddy Brophy, Darroch Mulhall, Podge Fogarty. Subs: Mark Donnelan, Sean Campbell, Ciaran Fitzpatrick, Willie Groome, Kevin Murnaghan, Conor Tiernan, Sean Hurley, Daryl Flynn, James Gately, Conor Canning, Robbie Dunne.
UCD: Eoghan Keogh; Oran Fitzpatrick, David Byrne, Rob Tierney; Ciaran Lenehan, Paraic O’Harnan, Jack McCaffrey; Con Sheridan, John Heslin (c); Brian Fenton, Matt O’Hanlon, Rob McDaid; Ryan Basquell, Mark Hughes, Paul Mannion. Subs: J.B Carty, Aidan Cullinane, Shane Flanagan, Ross Bergin, Conor Downey, John Turbritt, Simon Cadden, Andrew English, Paddy Reilly, Paul Kingston, Shane McCentee, James Toher, Colm Driver, Eoin Monaghan, Liam Connerton, David Devereux, John Maloney, Ryan Wylie, Jeremy Mahon, Rob Tone, Niall Kelly.
Referee: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)