Relegation quagmire for troubled hurlers

St. Patrick’s 1-17

DCU 1-10

Eoghan Cormican

At St. Clare’s

There was plenty of optimism emanating from the DCU camp ahead of this crucial league fixture against neighbours St. Pat’s, but it was sadly misplaced by the evidence of this seven point defeat, DCU’s third of the campaign thus far.

Sure, DCU were committed and they bravely fought back in the second half after enduring a dreadful opening thirty, but this ended up being another tough day at the office for the Fitzgibbon side who must now overcome Waterford IT to avoid the drop from the top tier of colleges hurling.

By the cusp of half time Pat’s had eased seven points clear with DCU offering little by the way of reaction to the pace and ferocity of their opponents play. As usual, Niall Arthur’s free taking was medtronic as the Clare man racked up 0-6 (0-5 free’s), with Mark Bergin – hugely impressive at centre forward – hitting 0-3.

Early on, St. Pat’s galloped all over their opponents racing into a 0-6 to 0-2 lead by the end of the first quarter. Emmet Kent had sniped a pair of points in the opening exchanges, but the problem for the losers was that they could not break down a St. Pat’s rearguard that displayed an insatiable hunger and drive.

Liam Ryan and Mark Bergin both found the range, before Arthur shot two further efforts to extend their advantage to 0-11 to 0-3 –Syl Barron notching up DCU’s third point on 18 minutes.

JJ Lennon and Wes O’Brien (2) also found the target from play late on in the half, but a Niall Arthur free ensured St. Pat’s still enjoyed a healthy interval advantage.

Things went from bad to worse for DCU at the change of ends as Pat’s struck 1-1 inside the opening five minutes to effectively kill the game as a contest.

In fairness to DCU, they rallied hitting 1-1 in the ensuing passages of play to pare the margin back to seven once more. Emmet Kent gathered John Whelan’s booming clearance out of defence before offloading possession to JJ Lennon  who fired home from close range. A Quentin Lynch free subsequently and the travelling contingent dared to dream.

Bergin responded for Pat’s, but further efforts courtesy of O’Brien and substitute Odhran O’Maolileidigh left only six between the sides. Alas, that was close as it would get as Arthur pilfered two late free’s to re-establish St. Pat’s seven point cushion and left DCU realising there was little they could to do to stave off another defeat.



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