On a cold but calm October evening, Dublin University Gaelic Football Club (DUGFC) put on a sublime display of ability, putting Dundalk Institute of Technology (DkIT) to the sword. The men’s senior team were simply in a different league to their opponents, who had no answer to the clinical attacking display of the Trinity team.
From the throw-in, Dublin University exploded into action. Led by captain Tomás Corrigan, DUGFC took control of the game from the off. The midfield, which included Dublin minor star Paddy O’Higgins, won possession and immediately fed the ball to Dave Cardan, who calmly placed his shot over the bar for the opening score of the game inside the first minute. Dublin University continued with this blistering pace that saw them race into a five-point lead after only seven minutes of play.
“DkIT tried to unsettle Trinity with fouls and hard hits but the lads stuck to their game”
The half-forward and full-forward lines linked up magically in the first ten minutes and DUGFC enjoyed complete control, with the Dundalk outfit unable to get the ball into the opposing half of the field. The midfield pair of O’Higgins and Dara Daley appeared to be unbeatable in the air and their dominance led to points by Luke Turley, Mark O’Sullivan and Corrigan.
The first wide of the game came after 12 minutes, just when it looked like everything that DUGFC hit would result in a score. To emphasise their dominance, the defence, led by the outstanding Aaron Hurley at full-back, did not give the DkIT attack a chance to score until mid-way through the half when they missed a very kickable free.
As the first half raced along, it was clear that the Trinity team were too quick for a bewildered Dundalk side. The outstanding fielding of Trinity players throughout the first half meant that the opposing team were left to feed on a tiny percentage of possession.
Two quickfire scores by Tomás Corrigan left the scoreboard looking very one-sided with the Dublin outfit leading by seven points. The under- worked defence was finally breached after 23 minutes when DkIT scored their first point of the half.
Instead of this score adding impetus to DkIT, it was DUGFC that stepped up their attack and they struck over three points of their own. Trinity’s final score of the half came after a magnificent move involving six players and finished sweetly by the deadly accurate Tomás Corrigan. DkIT replied with the last attack of the half to leave the score 0–8 to 0–2 after 30 minutes of exemplary forward play.
“The midfield pair of O’Higgins and Daley appeared unbeatable”
As the match resumed, Trinity seemed to take their foot off the pedal slightly and allowed DkIT back into the game. After two minutes of play, the travelling team racked up their third point of the match. The Trinity defence was coming under more pressure but crucially that pressure was not turned into points.
The forwards of Trinity moved up the pitch to punish DkIT with their first point after the break. As the half progressed, possession of the ball evened out, due to the increased challenge in the midfield area at kick-outs.
With ten minutes gone in the half, DkIT scored from a well-taken free. For the first time in the match the away team began to show some rhythm, gaining a foothold in the match. However, that momentum was to be short lived as DUGFC scored a breakaway goal, following some fine play by Paul McPadden who laid the ball into the path of Corrigan, the captain emphatically smashing the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
As the half went on, it was DUGFC who raised their game, their work rate going up a notch as they went for the kill. The lively McPadden was appearing all over the pitch and the DkIT defence could not cope with his intelligent movement. Trinity could smell blood and following a sweeping move, Barry O’Rourke was on hand to score another wonderful goal.
As the game moved towards its finish, DUGFC added another point, to take their score to 2–18. DkIT tried to unsettle the home team with fouls and hard hits but the Trinity lads simply stuck to their game while playing some superb football.
In the end, it was Dublin University that laid down a marker for the season, with a performance of real class to easily dispatch their opponents 2–18 to 0–6.