Dublin senior footballers lose first game in 359 days

Ross O'Brien, left, and Tom Shields go for the same ball in Dublin's defeat to UCD tonight
Ross O'Brien, left, and Tom Shields go for the same ball in Dublin's defeat to UCD tonight

A third-string Dublin team lost to a UCD side featuring Jack McCaffrey in the O'Byrne Cup at Parnell Park tonight.

The students won 2-9 to 1-10, handing the All-Ireland champions their first defeat since an O'Byrne Cup loss to Longford on January 17 last year.

Predictions that this O’Byrne Cup team made up of high-performing club and recent county underage players not currently holidaying with the Sam Maguire-winning panel in Jamaica might claim the one available cup not currently held by Dublin seem premature now.

UCD were the more cohesive tonight. A win against DCU next Sunday and they will claim the semi-final spot available from Group 1.

All eyes in Parnell Park were trained closely to McCaffrey.

Having completed a half of football for UCD last week in Gorey, he managed the full 76 minutes last night at left half-back.

Late in the first half, he stopped an almost certain Dublin goal at a time when his county could desperately have done with one, denying the pacy Gary Sweeney.

Going forward, McCaffrey hovered on the periphery and made ground with almost every ball carry.

He kicked a late point on the run and tipped an even later Paul Hudson free over the bar when a goal would have salvaged a draw for Dublin.

Playing into a stiff wind in Donnycarney, Paul Clarke’s experimental team took 31 minutes to register their opening score. By the time Paul Hudson split the posts, Dublin had already kicked seven wides. UCD had scored 1-6, their goal coming from Tom Hayes who punished Evan Comerford’s error.

Dublin were laboured, though Maitias MacDonncha scored a delicious, curled goal late in the half.

With the wind in the second-half, they made a game of it, with Ross Hazley making a strong impression and scoring two points, but just as they had UCD pegged back to a point, substitute Seán Meade squeezed a goal past Comerford.

Elsewhere in the GAA's pre-season tournaments Kildare conceded a solitary point to IT Carlow in a 35-point annihilation in Hawkfield that the students will want to forget fast.

Registering only two wides, Carlow failed to score in the first-half, while Kildare’s racked a successive 2-14 with David Slattery and Cathal McNally finding the net.

Neil Flynn and Tommy Moolick scored second half goals and the visitors scored their only point despite playing with a strong breeze.

Liam Connerton and Darren Gallagher scored second half goals for Longford as they secured a comfortable victory over neighbours Offaly at Newtoncashel.

Two goals, one in each half from Westmeath right half back James Dolan helped Westmeath to a narrow win over Carlow at  Netwatch Cullen Park. Carlow had talisman Brendan Murphy sent off in the first half.

Meath fielded a complete different to the one that easily took care of Wicklow on Sunday and Donal Lenihan and Bobby O'Brien goaled against DIT tonight for another facile win.

The victory sets up a winner-takes-all tie in the final group match against unbeaten Laois in Stradbally on Saturday after Peter Creedon's men hammered Wicklow. Ruari O'Connor and Gary Walsh were the tormentors-in-chief.

Wexford's Ben Brosnan hit two first half goals as Wexford earned a narrow but deserved win over DCU in Enniscorthy.

Dean Maguire's goal was crucial as Louth assumed pole position in the race for a semi-final spot in Group 4 with a laboured win over Maynooth University in Darver.

McGrath Cup action in Munster saw Peadar Healy's Cork condemn Cork to a 15-point defeat. Niall Coakley grabbed 2-3 for the Rebels.

Limerick got the better of Clare in the other game tonight.

In the Walsh Cup, former minor star Donal Burke hit 1-10 as Dublin had 11 points to spare over UCD at Parnell Park.


O'Byrne Cup Round 2

Dublin 1-10 UCD 2-09, Parnell Park

Wexford 2-06 DCU 0-10, Enniscorthy

Kildare 4-24 IT Carlow 0-01, Hawkfield

Longford 2-11 Offaly 0-09, Newtowncashel

Meath 2-15 DIT 0-10, Ashbourne

Wicklow 1-08 Laois 2-17, Greystones

Louth 1-13 Maynooth University 1-08, Darver

Carlow 1-15 Westmeath 2-15, Netwatch Cullen Park

McGrath Cup Round 2

Tipperary 1-10 Cork 2-22, Templetuohy

Limerick 2-13 Clare 2-09, Rhebogue St Patrick's GAA

Walsh Cup Round 2

Dublin 2-26 UCD 0-21, Parnell Park