Donegal skipper Michael Murphy has given manager Jim McGuinness a huge boost with his return following a groin operation as DCU captured their third Sigerson Cup title in seven years thanks to a comfortable 2-17 to 0-7 win over NUI Maynooth at Pearse Stadium yesterday.
Murphy returned to action on Friday afternoon in the semi-final scoring the final point in their 0-17 to 1-5 win over University of Ulster Jordanstown and the Glenswilly player came on as a second half substitute yesterday.
Murphy has not played for Donegal this year and in his absence the team have lost their opening two National Football League Division One fixtures against Down and Laois. Donegal will be relieved to have their talisman back for the upcoming fixtures, with the next three against arguably the best three sides in the country - Cork, Kerry and Dublin.
“It was a team effort and the whole team collective ethos has been great all year and that’s the best about Sigerson,” he said yesterday. “Everybody made a great contribution. Sigerson ranks with the best medals ever up their in the GAA and I think our performance and hunger showed that today.
“It is just a great competition. I’m very grateful the rehab went well this week and just the way the time allowed things to occur that I was available for selection this week.”
Termon’s Michael Boyle commanded the goals for DCU over the weekend, and kept a clean-sheet yesterday although in fairness the DCU defence was troubled little for three-quarters of this game.
Antoin McFadden from St Michael’s may have not scored in yesterday’s final, but he was one of DCU’s players of the competition with the university also including Martin McElhinney in their match-day squad, although he failed to taste action.
Dublin trio Paul Flynn, Dean Rock and Eoghan O’Gara were the stars of the show for the eventual winners, bagging 1-11 between them, with Flynn claiming a 34th minute goal at Pearse Stadium.
DCU had led by 0-6 to 0-4 at the break, with Craig Berrigan, Michael Newman and David Dalton keeping NUI Maynooth in touch. However, John Divilly’s side were held to just two second half points as a more experienced DCU outfit took silverware.
Half-time substitute David Kelly of Sligo netted DCU’s second goal in the 47th minute to push his side 2-14 to 0-6 clear, with Laois’s Colm Begley and Paul Cahillane trading scores.
The presence of substitutes Kelly and Murphy of Donegal added greatly to the DCU attack, with Gary Sweeney and Murphy snatching points late on. After the game
There was also joy from a Donegal perspective in the third tier Corn na Mac Leinn final earlier yesterday at NUI Galway Sportsgrounds, with Martin O’Reilly claiming eight points as Marino College snatched silverware.
The Sean MacCumhaill’s clubman was central in the 0-11 to 0-7 victory over Froebel College and claimed the Man of the Match award in a game which saw Marino battle back from a 0-5 to 0-1 deficit after 19 minutes.
DCU: M Boyle; P McMahon, K Gavin, E Culligan; N Collins, J Cooper, J McCarthy; F O’Shea, C Begley (0-1); P Flynn (1-3), D Rock (0-4, 1f), D Keenan (0-2); J Brady, E O’Gara (0-4), A McFadden. Subs: D Kelly (1-1) for Brady (31 mins), M Murphy (0-1) for Keenan (40), G Sweeney (0-1) for Rock (48 mins), R Hennelly for Boyle (54 mins), F O’Curraoin for O’Gara (57 mins).
NUI Maynooth: S Connolly; K O’Brien, K Lynch, D Dalton (0-1); T Moolick (0-1), J McDermott, S Denvir; C Berrigan (0-1), C Brophy; P Cahillane (0-1), S Hurley, C Mullins; M Newman (0-2, 1f), D Quinn (0-1), J Califf. Subs: S Fahey for Califf (34 mins), T Johnson for Denvir (38 mins), D Quinn for Berrigan (45 mins), W Ryan for Lynch (49 mins), \P Og O’Griofa for Mullins (54 mins).