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Dublin: 10°C Friday 16 April 2021

McShane the match-winner as St Mary's stun DCU to book Sigerson Cup weekend

2015 champions DCU, who boasted likes of Diarmuid O’Connor, Patrick Durcan and Enda Smith, were dumped out in a dramatic quarter-final.

Tyrone attacker Cathal McShane helped his college to victory
Tyrone attacker Cathal McShane helped his college to victory
Image: Lorraine OÕSullivan/INPHO

St Mary’s 2-14
DCU 2-13
(After extra-time)

Kevin O’Brien reports from the DCU Sportsgrounds

BELFAST COLLEGE ST Mary’s are heading for the Sigerson Cup weekend after they dumped out 2015 champions DCU on their own turf in a thrilling quarter-final clash.

It was a massive scalp for 9/2 outsiders St Mary’s against a formidable DCU side who appeared in the last two Sigerson Cup deciders.

Brian Og McGilligan hit the net for St Mary’s 20 seconds into extra-time before Tyrone forward Cathal McShane kicked what turned out to be the game-winning point in the 74th minute.

James Durcan and Steven O’Brien sent over a point apiece in response for DCU, leaving them trailing by the minimum with five minutes left in the second-half of extra-time, but St Mary’s held out for a famous victory.

St Mary’s advance to face UCC, who saw off Carlow IT after extra-time in their last eight clash, and on this showing St Mary’s won’t fear any team left in the third-level competition.

Paddy Tally’s side were extremely defensively minded from the outset, often operating with three spare defenders as they set out to frustrate DCU by denying them space and time in attack.

It was a ploy that worked for long periods in the game – it took DCU 39 minutes to get their first score from play – and at the far end the Ranch were economical in possession and took their chances when they presented themselves.

Kevin McKernan Down's Kevin McKernan enjoyed a fine game for St Mary's Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Kevin McKernan, Conor Meyler and McShane were all highly influential for the well-drilled Belfast outfit, as was Armagh’s Oisin O’Neill, whose 62nd minute goal brought St Mary’s back from the brink of defeat.

After starting brightly, DCU struggled to create clear-cut scoring opportunities as county stars Diarmuid O’Connor and Ryan Burns were peripheral for long spells.

Enda Smith and Niall Murphy were outstanding for DCU, scoring 2-9 between them, while Patrick Durcan had his moments, but the victors had that extra spark that got them over the line.

Sligo’s Murphy kicked three early frees for DCU before the Ranch settled into the game and scored six of the next seven points to lead 0-6 to 0-4 at half-time.

An excellent score from Colm Byrne was the highlight of the next three St Mary’s scores as they opened up a five point lead shortly after the restart.

Diarmuid O’Connor Young Footballer of the Year Diarmuid O'Connor was on the losing side today Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Playing down a slight slope and with the breeze at their backs, DCU eventually started to pick holes in the opposition rearguard.

Niall Moyna’s decision after half-time to push Roscommon attacker Enda Smith into full-forward as an outlet for long balls quickly proved a masterstroke.

By the 54th minute Smith had bagged a brace of goals, showing strength and poise to collect two diagonal deliveries and finish past Mark Reid.

Two quick-fire scores from Murphy followed, along with one from sub Shane Carthy, to leave DCU with a commanding 2-9 to 0-11 lead as we entered stoppage-time.

But St Mary’s never gave up. Corey Quinn’s point made it a one-score game before O’Neill pounced to sidefoot home from close range after Stephen McConville’s hanging ball caused consternation in front of Shane Mannion’s goal.

Enda Smith Roscommon's Enda Smith bagged 2-1 today Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The drama wasn’t over yet as Smith and McShane traded scores deep into stoppage-time to send us into extra-time.

Incidentally extra-time was also on the cards when these teams met at the same stage in 2015, but on that occasion DCU ran out winners.

This time though, McGilligan’s early goal gave St Mary’s life, before All-Ireland U21 medalist McShane applied the afters with what turned out to be the decisive score.

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Scorers for St Mary’s: Oisin O’Neill 1-3 (0-3f), Cathal McShane 0-3, Brian Og McGilligan 1-0, Conall McCann 0-2, Stephen McConville, Kevin McKernan, Colm Byrne, Mathew Fitzpatrick, Conor Meyler and Corey Quinn 0-1 each.

Scorers for DCU: Niall Murphy 0-8 (0-6f), Enda Smith 2-1, James Durcan, Tom Lahiffe, Shane Carthy (0-1f) and Steven O’Brien 0-1 each.

St Mary’s

Mark Reid (Down)

Kyle Mallon (Armagh)
Aaron McKay (Armagh)
Ruairi Mooney (Derry)

Colm Byrne (Tyrone)
Conor Meyler (Tyrone)
Ciaran Corrigan (Fermanagh)

Oisin O’Neill (Armagh)
Brian Óg McGilligan (Derry)

Ciaran Mac Iomhar (Armagh)
Conall McCann (Tyrone)
Kevin McKernan (Down)

Stephen McConville (Tyrone)
Cathal McShane (Tyrone)
Matthew Fitzpatrick (Antrim)


Pearse Og McCrickard (Down) for Mac Iomhar, 52 mins
Jack Hannigan (Antrim) for Byrne, 52 mins
Conor Convery (Derry) for Fitzpatrick, 56 mins
Corey Quinn (Down) for McConville, 58 mins
Aidan Nugent (Armagh) for McCann, 75 mins


Shane Mannion (Roscomm0n)

Eoin Smith (Dublin)
Patrick Durcan (Mayo)
Seamus Lavin (Meath)

Barry Kerr (Monaghan)
Kevin Feely (Kildare)
Shehroz Akram (Mayo)

Caolan McGonagle (Donegal)
Mark Plunkett (Leitrim)

Diarmuid O’Connor (Mayo)
Hugh McFadden (Donegal)
Enda Smith (Roscommon)

James Durcan (Mayo)
Niall Murphy (Sligo)
Ryan Burns (Louth)


Steven O’Brien (Tipperary) for McFadden, 28 mins
Ultan Harney (Roscommon) for James Durcan, 30 mins
Shane Carthy (Dublin) for Mark Plunkett, 36 mins
David Mannix (Kerry) for Harney, 41 mins
James Mealiff (Monaghan) for Smith, 52 mins
Tom Lahiffe (Dublin) for Burns, 59 mins
James Durcan for McGonagle, 69 mins
McFadden for Akram, 70 mins

Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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